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White harvest begins in Bordeaux

Vins et Vignobles Dourthe has begun its Sauvignon Blanc harvest in Bordeaux as the harvest of the red grapes approaches with questions over quality and volume very much to the fore.

Harvesting begins at Dourthe’s Ch. La Garde last week

Harvesting began last Thursday (6 September) at Dourthe’s Château La Garde when the grapes were “fresh as a result of cool overnight temperatures,” said head winemaker, Frédéric Bonnaffous.

He continued: “Having achieved good balance and acidity, we are continuing to harvest the rest of the Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris grapes this week which are key grape varieties at La Garde. We will also pick newly planted Semillon grapes for the first time this harvest,”

The following day the harvest of more Sauvignon Blanc for two of the group’s “key brands”, “La Grande Cuvée” and “Dourthe No. 1”.

CEO, Patrick Jestin, commented: “We will continue to harvest individual parcels as the grapes reach optimum ripeness and achieve a palette of aromas which match our trademark Sauvignon Blanc style. Cool night temperatures are very welcome.”

The state of the Bordeaux crop has been the subject of speculation for a while now with some sources already declaring a “winemaker’s vintage” due to a small crop thanks to hail, disease and uneven temperatures throughout the year – as in Champagne and Burgundy too.

Elisabeth Jaubert, ambassador for Pétrus, told the drinks business recently that so far: “All is well and the weather in Bordeaux is just perfect for the time being.

“Our grapes are very healthy but until they are brought into the cellars we do not discuss the possible quality of the vintage.  The harvest is due to begin in three weeks to a month.”

Fellow Right Bank property Troplong-Mondot added that its grapes were healthy for the most part and that there were hopes for a good vintage when harvesting started in early October – although the weather is holding for now said the estate’s Myriam Ruer, “we try not to think too much about the 1999 hail!”

Nonetheless, the French ministry of agriculture is predicting the weakest harvest since 1991 across France, with volumes down from 51 million hectolitres in 2011 to around 42.5m hectolitres this year.



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