Bordeaux Vintage Reports

Chateau Magneau (Graves), Bruno Ardurats

In 2021 we were hit hard by the spring frost, so hard that this is the first time that we have produced so little White, barely 8 hl/ha! For the red we did better with 22hl/ha but it is still low!

The frost was the cause, because otherwise we did not suffer diseases, despite a month of July that was not very sunny… Unlike other winegrowers who were affected by mildew.

We are finishing up sales of Red 2016 and then moving on to the 2017 which was rated best Graves by the Wine Enthusiast 93/100.

For the whites we are now on the traditional white 2020 and on the Cuvée Julien 2019 which received Gold Medal Bordeaux Competition.

Château Grand Bos (Graves), Marie Rochet

Comments about the last vintage (2021):
·Growing conditions- late pruning helped us to be slightly less affected by frost.
·From mid-August, the weather improved , it was dry, and allowed optimal ripening of the grapes.

Highlights:
The weekend of the Open House on October 16 and 17 was a great success around 400 people took advantage of the sun to taste the vintages of Château du Grand Bos, discover the château and eat on site.

The challenges:
Episodes of frost in the spring where our appellation was one of the hardest hit so the quantites are lower

The harvest:
The harvest started a fortnight later than in previous years, first the whites then the reds. The grapes were healthy and beautiful. Lou has brought back the practice of “natural” wine making to the château, predominantly Merlot, harvested by hand like the white grape varieties.

Evolution of the wines in the cellar:
The aromatic potential is emerging with great finesse. At the tasting, the wines were fresh, balanced with a feeling of “beautiful fruit”.

Changes in the vineyards:
The vineyard plots that were restructured in 2018 entered production this year.

New projects:
·Refurbishment of the tasting area in 2021.
·Creation of a new office.
·Development of the wine tourism part in partnership with the Montesquieu tourist office.
·Creation of hedges to enrich the biodiversity already present in the area
·2nd year in organic conversion of the vineyard.

General thoughts:
What a difficult year 2021! A constant commitment from the whole team! But thanks to strict and meticulous monitoring, we succeeded in protecting the vines until the harvest.

Chateau Loupiac-Gaudiet (Loupiac) Nicolas Sanfourche

As in all the Bordeaux vineyards, we suffered a significant loss of harvest due to frost (60%) but we produced a vintage of very high quality. The frost arrived when the vine had already budded well. At this stage, it was impossible to know the extent of the damage before the formation of the first bunches because the vine favored its photosynthesis by sending the sap into the foliage and not into the production of fruit. Nevertheless, the climate was milder until the harvest, which took place in very good conditions. We think this 2021 vintage will be fruity with a good balance between sugar, alcohol and acidity and we can already tell you that there will not be a lot to go around.

Château Grand Bos (Graves), Marie Rochet

2020 has been a complicated year for the vineyard. We had frost, hail and then drought. However it ended well. The harvest was low in quantity but the quality is there and it is a good vintage in perspective. This year, we obtained “High Environmental Value” and ISO 14001 certifications. We entered the organic conversion phase to obtain “Organic Agriculture” certification. We have also implemented actions for the preservation of our forest. We also made 2 small vintages of natural wine in white and red vintage 2020 as well as a rosé wine. As you can see there are quite a few new things in 2020.

Château Les Vieux Moulins, (Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux), Damien Lorteau

In the vineyard:

Winter was mild and particularly wet resulting in an early budbreak at the end of March, and we feared the risk of frosts. Happily that was not the case and the bud release gave us hope for a beautiful harvest. Spring was also very wet, we had to be very vigilent vis à vis vine ailments, like mildew. Luckily, flowering occurred during excellent weather, assuring a good quantity of harvest and a very good homogeneity of bunches, a guarantee of quality. The summer was very hot and very dry, causing a block to the early vegetative growth favorable to grape quality. Happily the rains arrived on the 15th August, relieving the water stress affecting the youngest vines.

Therefore, due to the very early start in the Spring, we started harvesting the 14th of September, in order to maintain freshness in the wines, emphasizing that this rarely done, and we finished harvests on September 30th.

In the cellar:

The vinifications went very well, the fermentations happened quickly and the malolactics followed in stride. The wines are deeply colored this year with wines that are at the same time concentrated but also with very fine tannins. The aromas are fresh, a result of harvesting early, in spite of the heat of the vintage. In the end the 2020s are of an excellent level (at least as good as 2019).

We are continuing our new parcel selection of “boisselards” for the 2020 vintage with aging in amphorae. The 2019 vintage of this vintage will be released next spring.

Château Gueyrosse and Château Chante Alouette Cormeil (Saint Emilion Grand Cru), Samuelle Delol

Voici a short resume of this vintage (2020):

Spring activity in the vineyards started early and the vines continued to require a lot of care over the growing season. We had continued to plant cover crops (oats, vetch and crimson clover) among the vines during the preceeding autumn, which started blooming in march and attracted all various sorts of pollinators and also provided additional ground fertilizer.

This vintage marks our 3rd year of conversion to organic agriculture.

The summer season was hot and with very little rain, permitting the grapes to ripen well. The deep roots of the vines helped in the maturing process and also supported the vines to withstand the high temperatures.

From the flowering time in May, Yves estimated the date for the harvest: September 9th.

This date was confirmed by the regulators in charge of “contrôles de maturité”, and the first grapes of Merlot from Chateau Gueyrosse were picked on September 9th, followed by those of Domaine Chante Alouette Cormeil.

There was a very even maturity to the grapes and harvest was completed September 24th.

Starting from the first days of vatting we obtained very intense color and elegant aromas of very fresh red fruit.

The alcoholic fermentation and mololaction fermentation were quite rapid.

Now, at the beginning of December, we have started to put this new vintage into barriques and during the first year of maturing the wine will be racked regularly.

In November we passed Bee Friendly inspection and we are happy that, as with the 2019 vintage, 2020 will also be certified Bee Friendly.

Vignobles Meynard, Chateau La Bourée (Cotes de Castillon) and Chateau l’Etoile de Clotte (Saint Emillion), Jean-François Meynard et Christelle Gauthier

The weather during winter and spring 2020 was very rainy, the excess water resulted in the appearance of vine maladies, the monitoring of the vineyard was difficult and the management of sanitary conditions in the vines was as well. Then episodes of frost and hail impacted the Bordeaux region. We debudded earlier than usual in early May because it was a precocious year. Jean François says that there was a “nice outing” i.e. a lot of buds and therefore a lot of branches and grapes to come. May and June were also rainy months, which resulted in the appearance of mildew that we managed as closely as possible in organic farming (all our vineyards are in organic production from 2020). The summer of 2020 was very hot (without rain) the health of the grapes was very good. The harvest was exceptionally early: late August for the white wine and early September for the first plots of red grapes (the earliest since 1990). The vinifications began in September with excellent quality grapes with low yields (because no water) and rather high degrees. During the vinification the juices quickly had an intense coloring due to berries very rich in polyphenols and anthocyanins. The maceration period was therefore shorter than usual. We obtained wines with a very good tannins / alcohol / acidity balance. It should be remembered that this vintage was difficult at the start to end up being a very good vintage. For Jean François, 2020 has a good acidity and a nice freshness combined with a great capacity for aging. A year that we want to forget because of the pandemic but which gave us a vintage to remember.

Chateau du Grand Bos (Graves), Marie Rochet

The final malolactic fermentations are finishing now [early December] and our 2019 will soon begin its maturation period. We are very happy with first tastings which are promising and we are most likely to have a very beautiful vintage.

The year was climatically one of high contrasts, blowing hot and cold. After a mild winter and early spring, the month of May was marked by late frosts which, at Grand Bos, affected almost a hectare of Cabernet Sauvignon. The very hot and dry summer resulting in hydric stress of the vines was very worrying to us, however in the end, rains at the end of August and in early September relieved the stress, and with no deterioration to the health of the fruit, which was impeccable at the time of harvest.

Chateau Barraillots (Margaux), Yannick Martin

The 2019 harvests took place in very good weather with grapes in very sanitary condition.

It was sunny the entire harvest from September 26 through October 10th.

The grapes were healthy and well ripened.

New at the winery, we have purchased a new modern crusher-destemmer, easier to use, more delicate pressing of the grapes .

Vinifications are almost complete, this week we finish the juice runs and pressings.

The malolactics are also almost finished.

In brief, a lovely crop, very good quality and good yields.

Château Les Vieux Moulins (Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux), Damien Lorteau

Concerning the 2019 vintage:

In the vines:

We suffered several damaging frosts at the beginning of May in a small section of the vineyard, which decreased harvest yields. The Spring in Bordeaux was quite cool and the budding at the beginning of June was not optimal, causing coulure. Starting in July the weather changed and became very hot, almost a month of heatwave, and very dry. The summer in the end was quite dry but with a few rains at the beginning of August which avoided damaging hydric stress to the vines. There was little threat of disease, contrary to 2018 vintage. We began harvesting on September 20th and finished October 10th with the Cabernet Sauvignon.

For the first time in th history of the property, we planted a hectare of Suavignon Blanc. The first harvest will be in 2021.

In the winery:

The vinifications took place perfectly, the acoholic degrees being slightly less than in 2018. The colors are deep, and the tannic structures are both concentrated and fine. The wines will need careful maturing but have important potential. In the end the wines will be powerful with good aging potential. It will be an excellent vintage for Bordeaux once again.

Chateau Villars (Fronsac), Thierry Gaudrie

2019 : After a rather dry winter, the spring remained quite cold and still very dry. We waited until June to replenish some of the water needed for the vines.

Once again, the summer was very dry and very hot with temperatures frequently above 95°F.

For the first time in my life, I hoped it would rain before the harvest to encourage better ripeness. And this is what happened.

We harvested from September 26th to October 9th in a warm atmosphere punctuated by small showers that made us smile.

Yields were moderate, clearly down compared to 2018 (-30%) but the quality was remarkable. We were afraid of making a too massive and too alcoholic wine but we had the pleasure to discover an elegant and rich wine, with a lower alcoholic degree than in 2018 (<15%). Difficult to compare it to a recent vintage because the course of the year and its style make it a rather unique wine. Maybe 2001? But it’s a little too early to know.

Chateau Villars (Fronsac), Thierry Gaudrie

2018…..Zen harvests !

Coming out of a cold spring, the good weather a bit long in coming, the vines came to life under a bright sun that very quicky heated up the atmosphere, lasting an unbelievably long period, from July through October. The winemaker’s dream, tranquil harvests, day by day, as the grapes reached their individual maturity, all in a state of serenity…!

A vintage to classify in the family of “Exceptional” as the 2010 or 2005

A beautiful ripeness, aromas of black fruit and licquorice, very supple tannins on palate with a very rich finish. A great vintage “de garde”

Vignobles Meynard, Chateau La Bourée (Côtes de Castillon), Château L’Etoile de Clotte Saint Emilion), Chateau Platon (Entre Deux Mers), Christelle Meynard

The 2018 vintage is a beautiful vintage. In spite of a rainy Spring, which complicated our work maintaining the health of the vines, we had a very hot and dry summer, conditions in which the grapes ripened well. For the 2018 vintage, our yields were good. Thanks to weather conditions and rigorous work in the vines (debudding, canopy thinning), we have made wine that is rich, concentrated, very well balanced with a lovely acidity. The tannins are ripe and silky. On the palate it is fruity with a compelling freshness. Jean Francois classifies this vintage along with 2010 and 2015. For him the vintage is memorable for the great quality of the Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the Malbec we harvested.

Chateau Les Vieux Moulins (Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux), Damien Lorteau

At our domaine, situated in the region of Blaye, the most marked event of the 2018 vintage was a very big hail storm on May 26th, which destroyed 50% of our vineyard.

The rest of our vineyard remained intact, but cultivation of the vines this year was particularly difficult because of the wet spring and the continued and heavy threat of mildew, requiring us to be very vigilant in protecting the harvest.

The end of the season was hot and dry, which brought the vineyards back to health, and the grapes ripened under exceptional sanitary conditions.

In the end, the 2018 wines are rich, powerful with lots of fruit and very good acidity levels, balancing the wines , making them very drinkable.

Chateau Vieux Chevrol (Lalande de Pomerol), Michel Champseix

The start to the season was very complicated. A spring with an enormous amount of rain and a strong oceanic influence contributed to ideal conditions for midew. It was necessary to adapt a carefully thought out plan for working the soils (plowing of the topsoil, spontaneous grassing to limit the absorbtion of nitrogen by the vines) and for “travaux en vert” or “green work” of the vines (maintaining aeration, and controlling the spreading of vegetation)

We have been certified organic growers now for 2 years, the treatment by synthetic chemical products is not allowed. We can only use copper based preventitive treatments. Because of this we must be very careful in our vineyard work.

Following, we had a very dry summer, some rains at the beginning of September, and an Indian Summer during harvest time, conditions for the grapes to reach perfect maturity. The crop was exceptional in quality and quantity. The wines are deeply colored and well structured. Now we are waiting to see how they evolve as they mature in the cellar!

In brief, this is a true success for our second year in certified organic farming!

Chateau Villars (Fronsac), Thierry Gaudrie

Regarding climate, the resemblance to the 1988 vintage is incredible : an excess of rain from January to June (735 mm in 1988 and 750 mm in 2016), then an impressive drought over the next 3 months (109 mm in 1988 and 66 mm in 2016).

In all, 2016 will be even better than 1988, which was the first great vintage in an extraordinary trilogy (1988, 1989, 1990). In effect, the climate has changed and we have had a much warmer summer than 1988, a bit like 2003 and 2010.

It is thus very likely, that the 2016 does not resemble any previously known vintage but a mix of these 3:

1988 for the fuit and purity ;

2003 for the solar aspect and richness in sugar ;

2010 for the quality of the tannins and their maturity, quite present, but without any aggressiveness.

For a laugh, if I dare an arithmetic formula, I would write : 1988 + 2003 + 2010 : 3 = 2000 naturally….And why not?

On the other hand, I am certain and ready to defend without hesitation, 2016 is better than 2015, and I affirm that without any doubt.

Chateau Les Vieux Moulins (Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux), Damien Lorteau

Concerning the 2016 vintage in Bordeaux, it was a year of two distinct parts, a very rainy first six months of the year and a very dry last six months. The harvests took place during the month of October under ideal conditions. The wines are concentrated and powerful this year with aromas of very ripe fruits. These are certainly “vins de garde”. This is a great vintage for Bordeaux.

Chateau Gueyrosse (St. Emillion), Samuelle Delol

The 2015 harvest began at Chateau Gueyrosse the 14th of September with our parcels of Merlot and we finished with the Cabernets Franc and Cabernets Sauvignon the 29th of September.

The climactic conditions were perfect for hand harvesting grapes of a very beautiful maturity. Since the first days of vinification we have a sustained color with marvelous aromas of red fruits, black fruits, and tannins of great delicacy and elegance. The maceration lasted 18 days. Secondary fermentation in vat took place from the end of October until mid-november.

Now the wines are in barrel for 12 months, with rackings every three months.

The 2015 vintage of Chateau Gueyrosse marks the anniversary of 25 vinifications by Samuelle Delol, under the benificent watch of Yves, her father.

Vignobles Meynard, Chateau La Bourée (Cotes de Castillon) and Chateau l’Etoile de Clotte (Saint Emillion), Jean-François Meynard et Christelle Gauthier

The 2014 vintage is an excellent vintage, the best since 2010 (according to Jean- François). The wines will be balanced, the grapes were very ripe at harvest, and of excellent quality. Jean-François, vigneron for over 20 years, has never brought in such perfect cabernets franc and sauvignon. The harvests were a great moment for him. 2013 was a such a difficult year because of hail…….

We are happy to have in our cellar such lovely wines, that we hope will please everyone.