Bordeaux 2014: The harvest starts…
The white wine harvest is already well underway in Bordeaux [see here white grapes sorted at Château Carbonnieux] and the early signs are promising. After a string of dreary vintages culminating in the washout 2013 harvest, Bordeaux has been blessed with a sunny early September and those properties in Pessac-Léognan that have begun picking the white varieties [Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris] seem happy at this stage. The weather still needs to hold fair for the harvest of the red varieties, Merlot at the end of the month and Cabernet perhaps at the beginning of October. But with healthy fruit and good anthocyanin levels in the grapes, there’s an air of optimism about the 2014 vintage that seems encouraging at this stage. More sun and warm temperatures are forecast, though there will be some moisture about later in the week.
Bordeaux 2014 itself kicked off at the beginning of September with Château Haut-Brion picking it’s Sauvignon Gris. Haut-Brion report that they are very happy with the potential quality of the fruit. Other Pessac-Léognan producers have been reportedly also been very pleased with the quality of the Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Château Carbonnieux, who started picking September 3 and Château Brown [who started September 4] are pleased with the maturity of the white grapes picked: healthy with good potential alcohols [13 degrees] and acidities.
Ripe Sauvignon Blanc at Smith Haut Lafitte
Château Smith Haut Lafitte started picking on September 10 in good weather and reports positively on the quality of the fruit [pictured above]. Englishman Gavin Quinney at Château Bauduc in Créon begun harvesting very healthy looking fruit last week [photo below]. Gavin’s thorough pre-harvest report on the growing season is an excellent read by the way – a link to it can be found here.
Of course it’s the reds, principally Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, that count in Bordeaux. Overall August was cooler than usual but with generally good conditions in June and July [save for the dreadful storms that hit the northern Médoc] the stage seems set for a reasonable red wine harvest at least. Final quality all depends on the weather in the next two to three weeks. Things are promising, judging from the look of the grapes ripening in the vineyards…
Healthy fruit at Château Carbonnieux
Producers on both left and ripe bank seem generally optimistic for the quality, optimism that has increased somewhat exponentially with September’s fine weather [relief as much as optimism?]. Overall yields will be much more favourable than 2013 which was one of the smallest harvests since 1991. For the answer to the vintage’s overall quality, it’s a case of fingers crossed that the sunny weather holds and that humidity doesn’t threaten rot. I’ll report in more detail on the reds as their harvest begins.
Tags: 2014, Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Château Bauduc, Chateau Carbonnieux, Chateau Haut-Brion, Chateau Palmer, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Créon, Merlot, Pessac-Léognan, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Sémillon, vintage