The harvest was completed at Bauduc last Friday, 21st October. We picked the remaining block of Cabernet Sauvignon by hand, just as we did when Rick Stein came to film the opening episode of his Long Weekends series for the BBC a year ago. (Where does the time go?)
It’s been a long harvest in 2016 and strange to think that the first rows we picked – also by hand – were the 10-year old Semillon vines for our sparkling cremant in the next door field as far back as the 12th September. (Funny, that seems like an age ago.) Keep reading
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
Bauduc harvest 2016 – hand picking Sémillon for the sparkling Crémant de Bordeaux
I thought I’d bring you up to date with how the harvest is progressing, week by week, and to send you the latest links to our photo galleries – on Bauduc.com, here on my blog and on Facebook, no less. It is also means that I have yet another excuse (’le marketing’) to avoid cleaning the press. Keep reading
We released our first sparkling wine from Chateau Bauduc this week. It’s available direct from us for delivery in the UK. Here’s the story of the wine in pictures, from the creation of the vineyard to the wine in bottle. They’re the same images that you can find in the Photo Albums on the Bauduc website and Bauduc Facebook page too – I’m just trying to see what works.
Tap, touch or click on a photo to enlarge it and for a description, then use the < arrows > to scroll through. Keep reading
23 May 2016 – a little later than 2015 but reasonable for the time of year
I’ve taken a picture of the vineyard in front of the chateau on the 23rd May each year. The date has no special significance – it just happened that way – and the pictures are as much for my records as anything else. They provide a useful comparison as to how these Merlot vines have advanced since budburst at the beginning of April. It’s always shortly before the important flowering. Keep reading
It was with great sadness that we learned that Paul Pontallier had passed away on Easter Monday. Paul was the Director of Chateau Margaux and a Bordeaux institution. He will be hugely missed, starting with this year’s en primeur tastings in April: tasting with M. Pontallier at Margaux, where he’d been in charge since 1990, was one of the highlights of the calendar.
Paul Pontallier in 2015.
Paul would have been 60 in April. I’ve had the privilege of sampling and chewing over pretty much every vintage with him since the turn of the century. You couldn’t wish for a more interesting, charming and – I’m sure he won’t mind me saying – a more polished host. He was always impeccably turned out, had beautiful manners and was extremely generous with his time and knowledge. Keep reading