We harvested the Merlots, mostly by machine, during the week of 10th October. The grapes looked terrific and one advantage of bringing them in cold by machine at the crack of dawn, is putting them into a chilled stainless steel tank for a cold soak for a few days before starting the fermentation.
Some of the great chateaux we most admire, such as l’Evangile in Pomerol, Smith Haut Lafitte in Pessac-Leognan and Malescot St-Exupery in Margaux, also like to do a pre-fermentation ’cold maceration’. Their pickers snip the bunches into crates during the day and the winery staff drive the pallets of crates into a chiller room, usually overnight, before de-stemming and sorting the bunches and transferring the grapes – cold – into tanks the following day. Keep reading
We picked all our Merlot this week, so we’ve just got our Cabernet to go and that’ll be that. More on the red harvest at Bauduc in next week’s missive, suffice to say that we’ve been lucky with the weather. It’s been dry and sunny until yesterday afternoon, which is good for bringing in the grapes and, of course, for taking photos. It’s also unusual to have all the children at home at this time of year, so it’s only fair that we put together a gratuitous family album. Keep reading
This week has been dry and sunny, so we’ve decided to hold off harvesting the reds at Bauduc for the moment. We had a heavy dollop of rain last Friday night – straight after we’d sent out an upbeat monthly review – so an excellent September came to an abrupt end. Thankfully though, the rain was just a one-off and since then we’ve had fresh mornings and glorious days. We therefore thought we’d leave that downpour to freshen things up in the vineyard, and hang on for what they call optimum ripeness.
We also have a useful early warning system nearby, thanks to the earlier maturing vineyards of Pomerol some 25 minutes up the road near Libourne, where Tom goes to school. Our Merlot usually ripens 8-10 days later than at the top chateaux on the plateau of Pomerol so, after dropping Tom at school, it makes good sense – in the name of research, of course – to study the harvest taking place on one of the finest patches of dirt in the world. Keep reading
We’ve been harvesting every morning for six days in the trot, starting at a ridiculously early time before the sun comes up. The days have been dry and sunny since a heavy downpour in the middle of the month. Sandwiched in between the Sauvignon and the Semillon since then, we harvested some Merlot for our rosé at sparrow’s fart last Sunday.
We choose to harvest the bunches from this high yielding block earlier than we would do for red, as the acidity needs to be racier and we want less sugar – and therefore alcohol. Keep reading
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Another weekly update on what’s happening at Bauduc doesn’t really rank up there with Bake Off and Brangelina but we thought we’d keep you up to date with our harvest news and the latest photo album.
After last week’s hand picking, this was ’harvesting in the dark’ week. There are a few reasons for picking Sauvignon Blanc by machine before dawn. Firstly, the grapes and the juice come in nice and chilly, with less risk of oxidation. Secondly, the other chateaux who hire our man Guy and his machines rarely start before 8am, so we can usually make up our minds about what to harvest at the last minute. (Guy, you see, is from the Charente and he’s that rare sort of Frenchman who wants to bill for as many hours as possible.) Keep reading