“We are on track for a really great vintage”
reports Dourthe’s CEO, Patrick Jestin
The last row of Cabernet Sauvignon vines were picked at Chateau Pey la Tour yesterday, bringing to a close the red and white harvest at Dourthe’s properties in Bordeaux.
Exceptional sunshine in September and early October resulted in exceptionally ripe Merlots, which was totally unexpected at the end of August. Lack of precipitation ensured that the vineyards remained healthy enabling the Cabernets and Petit Verdots to reach full maturity on clay-limestone soils.
Good weather continued into October, inter-dispersed with the odd shower which helped to speed the ripening of the Cabernets and Petit Verdots on gravel soils, and grapes grown on later-ripening clay-limestone soils.
A CALM, EVENLY SPREAD HARVEST
“A feeling of calm pervaded the harvest due to the favourable conditions we have enjoyed this year, allowing each parcel and micro-parcel to fully ripen in its own time,” commented Patrick Jestin, CEO of Dourthe. “Our extensive knowledge of the soils at our properties, which have been carefully mapped for each plot, proved to be extremely useful to manage the harvest more effectively.”
“It’s particularly relevant that the differences in ripeness between one plot to the next were inherently linked to the profile of the soils and the capacity for water retention,” added Frederic Bonnaffous. “For example, on 14 to 16 October, magnificent Merlots on clay-limestone soils were picked at Chateau La Garde (Pessac-Leognan), after Petit Verdot and some Cabernet parcels grown on the deep gravel plateau.”
A LOVELY VINTAGE IN THE MAKING
“We are on track for a really great vintage,” says Jestin. ”Initial tastings of the dry whites including 100% Sauvignons (Dourthe No 1 and La Grande Cuvee) and Sauvignon-Semillon blends (chateaux La Garde and Rahoul) as they start to mature, confirm generous aromas and good balance.”
“The Merlots are showing full aromas and colour,“ reports Bonnaffous. “They are very well balanced. Because of the large amount of pips this year, our input during vinification has been minimal in order to control the rich tannins.”
“Cabernets and Petit Verdots have ripened well with no problems to report,” continued Jestin. “Volumes are relatively low for Cabernet Franc at our Saint-Emilion estate, Chateau Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac, which is also the case for Cabernet Sauvignon.”
“The skins are richly coloured and the musts are showing concentrated aromas with good balance and tannins,” said Bonnaffous.
To summarise, Jestin concludes “Having tasted the first, well-coloured, aromatic and fleshy wines, we are both relieved and satisfied. We are predicting a really good vintage for the reds which wouldn’t have been possible without an Indian summer and a huge amount of work we invest in the vineyards throughout the year.”