Last harvest day at Château du Tertre and Giscours
The harvest finished here Tuesday, Oct. 13, another day marked by brilliant sunshine. Our two teams of 80 pickers at du Tertre and 140 for Giscours kept their spirits high in spite of 16 days of hard work carried out during hot afternoons. The last bunches of Cabernet Sauvignon were cut and placed in the crates to sounds of laughter, yelps and music! Having gathered the Cabernet Sauvignons from our best terroirs Oct. 9, we waited for two days extra to perfectly mature the Cabernets situated on sandy, gravelly soils. The result is that the grapes come off the stems easily, the skins open freely and the juice is extremely well-colored.
Once the grapes were sorted and put into vat, the exceptional amount of sugar was confirmed. The average for the Cabernets was more than 13 degrees, with low acidity and a great amount of tannins. The parcels harvested last week, which are now fermenting, are showing an intense color and exquisite fruit with great length in the mouth. The parcels of Merlot have finished their alcoholic fermentation, but we are going to macerate the grapes for a further 12 days before emptying the vats, in order to obtain more power and body in the midpalate; there is real potential there!
And now it's time for our traditional party, the Gerbaude, where all of the workers of Château Giscours and Château du Tertre celebrate the end of the picking. Without doubt there will be huge smiles all around to bid farewell to an extraordinary harvest. A meal and a party accompanied by some good bottles from each château are being put on to thank all of our vendangeurs (harvest workers) for their enthusiasm and diligence, without which nothing would be possible.
"Haute couture" at Château Haut-Bailly
At Château Haut-Bailly we finished the harvest this past Wednesday! In total, we did 10 half-days (mostly for picking the Merlot and avoiding the heat of the afternoons) and five full days at the end for the Cabernets. All that over five weeks, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 14. This is thanks to a great team of harvesters who are willing to come just when we want. We are extremely lucky to have them doing this real "haute couture" work!
It is amazing also the number of people who came to see the birth of this great vintage ... another record for this year.
The real work now starts in the cellars: fermentation, cuvaison, pressing ... we have to taste the wines every day to know exactly when to stop the maceration for each tank. A few Merlots already finished their fermentation but we'll have a more precise opinion on the vintage after the alcoholic fermentation of the Cabernets.
Opinions from the Bordeaux wine industry
We asked a few friends for their view about Bordeaux 2009. Frédéric Engerer of Château Latour: "Monstrous!" For Valentin Lillet, broker in Bordeaux (Les Grands Crus): "A great wine for aging ... a vintage for eternity!" Philippe Dhalluin (Chateau Mouton-Rothschild) thinks "2009 is a 2005 but more concentrated." For Mathieu Chadronnier, who is general manager of CVBG (one of the biggest négociants in Bordeaux): "It is a great vintage for Bordeaux because it is a success in all colors and all grape varieties. It will be great on the Left Bank and on the Right." François Thienpont from Wings, another négociant in Bordeaux, said, "Having tasting some vats already fermented (before malolactic) in Médoc and Pomerol, I was extremely seduced by the roundness and power of the fruit and the freshness in the finish. Knowing the high percentage of natural sugar, the fear was to get unbalanced wines. It's exactly the opposite due to the quality of mature tannins. The wines I tasted so far leave an impression of silkiness and your tastebuds an impression of happiness—benchmark of a Grand Millésime."
Sweet wine in Cadillac
Our very good Lebanese friends, Tony and Youmna Asseily, who bought Château Biac (Langoiran, Cadillac appellation) in 2006, are still harvesting at the moment their Sémillon with the utmost care: only chocolate-colored berries fall in their basket and the juices are pressing at a handsome 23 degrees, which is absolutely wonderful for a first passage of this great sweet wine. There is still plenty more waiting to be picked in the coming days.