|Budburst in April|
It has been a very busy time over the last couple of months at the Chai. Assistant winemaker Nadja left before Christmas to head home to Australia for vintage with Phillip Shaw before taking over things on the family vineyard, which means that I have been travelling up and down between Bordeaux and Midi like a crazed yoyo!
I have also been back and forth to the UK as I am now part of the Global Wine Buying team along with my Chai winemaking responsibilities.
The 2013 Laithwaites Sauvignon was the first to be bottled back in February and the aromatics are just incredible. On sale now!
The 2013 Coeur des Anges Rose Sauvignon Gris was next to be bottled and the beautiful salmon pink colour has been retained right up to the bottling! Stunning pale pink colour and perfumed pear aromas prove the 2013 Bordeaux vintage was a cracker for whites. Going to be one my summer wines for sure!
The 100% Vermintino Un Vent de Folie 2013 has been taken out of barrel and blended for the first time. I always split the vineyard into five or so batches and vinify each separately to respect the individual micro-climates with the vision of the perfect final blend and I am extremely pleased to say each element has blended perfectly. A cooler year in the Midi so more aromatics this year and beautiful zippy lime acidity lifts that sun drenched tropical fruit character. To be bottled start of June.
The 2013 La Voute is about to be racked from barrel and well what can I say? La Voute is always a great wine but this year it has just excelled once again and the marriage between the fruit and brand new French oak is mind blowing! The wine will be bottled in August and my advice is to snap this up very quickly. A trophy winning wine in the making, you heard it here first!
What’s in the pipeline?
The 2013 107 year-old-vine Grenache from Jean-Charles has been brought up to the Chai from its tiny garage winery and harvest residence in the Roussillon and as every year I have squirreled it away into French oak barrels to begin its 18 month ageing. Lowest yields on record here, I never thought it would get lower but it has due to poor flowering. However lower yield only concentrates flavour!
The 2013 old vine Carignan Madame F from French Catalonia is also now safely in barrel at the Chai - this will have a shorter aging of around 6 months before being bottled.
A top secret project with a deeply coloured Cabernet from the Languedoc is also in progress at Le Chai, but that’s all I am saying, watch this space...!
Joseph Bousquet and I made once again stunning wines at his Domaine 4 Pilas in Murviel- Monpellier. Both wines are now in the Chai and the rich 2013 Chardonnay is still on its sediment and being carefully stirred each week and the Pinot Noir is already 2 months into its 12 months barrel ageing and looking very smart indeed, it’s like a Burgundy with attitude!
In The Vineyard:
It has been a wet winter here in Bordeaux so there is plenty of water in the ground and the warm start has accelerated the growth since the near perfect timing of budburst in April. Little rain and a good a breeze has kept and initial mildew problems at bay so far.
In the Midi it has been once again a very dry winter and even though things look good at bud burst it is already hit 27˚C+ in the Roussillon. No doubt quality will be incredible but can yields get lower? Fingers crossed for a little rain before flowering.
Even though it is only just spring we are already preparing for the 2014 harvest and the challenge is to get all the wines bottled and free up the cellar. Getting the new harvest team together will be next on the agenda and of course the plentiful summer French bank holidays to enjoy!!