Crops wiped out by frost at Garcin family’s Bordeaux wineries

This year’s crop at two of the Garcin family’s wineries in Bordeaux were completely wiped out due to April frosts, which is estimated to have affected 60% of vineyards in the region, Hélène Garcin-Lévêque has revealed.

Hélène Garcin-Lévêque, owner of Clos L’Eglise, Château Poesia, Château d’Arce and Poesia in Lujan de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina

Speaking to dbHK prior to a media lunch to celebrate her flagship winery Clos L’Eglise’s 20 year anniversary, the energetic vintner lamented that Château d’Arce, the latest property purchased by her and her husband Patrice Lévêque in Côtes de Castillon, is “100 % gone”.

Across the Garonne River, the family’s Château Haut-Bergey in Pessac Léognan, which is now managed by her brother, also suffered complete loss by the cold snap, she added.

Compared with the two properties, her boutique winery Clos L’Eglise in Pomerol suffered relatively less, thanks to the fact that they responded promptly and lit candles all over the vineyards. Despite that, 1.2 hectares of vineyards were affected, out of its total 5,9 hectares, said the vintner.

Her estate in St. Emilion, Château Poesia, she said, is only “slightly touched”.

“It’s been really tough,” she said. “The properties in Médoc by the river and St. Emilion were not touched. But some others were completely destroyed,” she added.

However speaking of the overall quality of the 2017 vintage, she believes for the properties that were not affected by frost, “it’s going to be a very good vintage”.

The 2017 harvest is already under way, and the harvest date for this year’s Clos L’Eglise is on the same date as 2015, leading her to believe the quality of the grapes are going to be promising.

All the wines showcased at the Clos L’Eglise media lunch

Earlier this year Hervé Grandeau, chairman of the Federation of the Fine Wines of Bordeaux, estimated that prices could rise by 10-20% in 2017 as a result of the April frosts.

Asked if a price hike for the 2017 vintage is imminent, the vintner remains elusive, saying: “I am not sure about the price but there’s going to be higher demand in the market because there are fewer wines in the market. We can assume it’s going to go up, but we don’t know.”

Outside of Bordeaux, Helene has another prized jewel in Mendoza, Argentina, where she cultivates 13 hectares of un-grafted Malbec and Cabernet Sauvginon vines originally planted in 1935.

Located roughly 900 metres above sea level in Lujan de Cujo region, the winery, named Poesia, meaning ‘poetry’ in Latin, produces a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon and a special ‘Cuvée Hélène’ that is released after 10 years of ageing – a much longer period than many of its counterparts in the region.

“I like wines that are more mature, more complex, that are not just fruits,” she explains. “I think time gives that. It creates something magic for wine. I am not a big fan of young wines. I like young wines but I like it when it start to develop, especially for a blend. If I want to buy strawberries, I go out and buy strawberries.”

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