It is harvest time in Bordeaux! After a challenging year in 2011, 2012 is looking to be a better year. Our good friends at Domaine de Chevalier sent us this early harvest report:
POWER AND FRESHNESS
After a first pass to harvest early-ripening grapes, the fruit proved to be tasty, aromatic, and with the sort of beautiful acidity that befits great dry white wines. Reflecting substantial natural concentration, the yield was only 40 hectolitres per hectare.
The weather forecast for the next few days is excellent, and should ripen the remaining grapes beautifully. Maturity has been relatively spread out due to the prolonged flowering period. However, the way we harvest is ideally suited to this situation. Our experienced pickers and their supervisors undertake several passes, exclusively in the cool of the morning, to pick bunches at peak ripeness. Tastings of the freshly picked fruit and new wine, as well as laboratory analyses, show that that the hopes raised by the beautiful weather in Bordeaux since early August are fully justified.
We already have a general idea of 2012 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc's flavour profile: powerful and fresh, but also bright, complex and mineral.
A VINTAGE BORN UNDER A LUCKY STAR
After one of the coldest winters of the past thirty years, spring was very wet and replenished water supplies that might otherwise have been deficient after an historically dry 2012. While abundant rainfall meant that flowering was spread out, this nevertheless ensured good vine growth.
Summer was rather timid and cool in July, although there was little rain. Then, beautifully sunny weather set in starting in early August. This has virtually lasted nonstop until today and been conducive to rich, sweet grapes. The thermometer reached nearly 40°C form the 17th to the 19th of August, and then dropped to more reasonable levels. By this time, there was a big gap between daytime and night-time temperatures. At Chevalier, we very much like slightly cool evenings that enhance acidity and aromatic expression in our white wines.
I am worried about the massive rains that hit parts of Bordeaux over the weekend, but it looks like 2012 could turn out to be another great year. Good luck to Domaine de Chevalier and all the estates in Bordeaux!
Image provided by www.thewinecellarinsider.com originally appeared here.