September Review

September 30th 2015, by

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Bauduc 2015 red harvest begins – in pictures

September 30th 2015, by

First day, 6 o'clock start, really chilly

First day, 6 o’clock start, really chilly

We started picking our reds yesterday. We’ve been really lucky with the weather – the whites were harvested during a lovely second week of September, with dry, chilly mornings and sunny, warm days. It then rained on and off for a week, and our enthusiasm might have been seriously dampened if it had carried on like that. The sun came back though on the 20th, and the last week has been glorious.

The first parcel was a block of Merlot on gravel and clay soils. We machine harvested early and hand picked later to test the difference. Harvesting by machine before the light comes up allows us to give the juice and the grapes a ‘cold soak’ for several days before fermentation, without having to chill the grapes down by other means, for slightly better extraction of colour and flavour.

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Wine Societies by appointment

September 29th 2015, by

Customers can come to the Château by prior arrangement and we do apologise if we haven’t been able to slot you in of late. We have many visitors from the UK and originally we didn’t feel we could entertain large parties. However, we’ve found that Wine Societies travelling by coach from England are most welcome, as is anyone with a large boot space looking to benefit from cellar door prices. Do please book ahead.

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Gordon Ramsay in Bordeaux

September 29th 2015, by

2015 Gordon at Le Pressoir - 2We were delighted to catch up with Gordon Ramsay last week at the launch of his new restaurant in Bordeaux, Le Pressoir d’Argent. He was on fine form and looking fit for his forthcoming Ironman challenge (not something we know much about) and many of his London team were there.

Clare Smyth, the three Michelin star chef from his eponymous restaurant in Chelsea, gave us a tour of the impressive kitchen, along with our old friend Stuart, the group MD, and Nicolas, the Food and Beverage Director, and Angelika, the wine co-ordinator in London.

Talking of wine, as you do, I was quoted by the Telegraph’s Henry Samuel in his article about English sparkling wine being served in Bordeaux at Le Pressoir. “The reality is that I don’t think the French would order one” I said, “but would be very happy to be served one if somebody else is buying because they’re quite conservative. There will be curiosity to try it.”

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Bordeaux 2015 – red harvest update

September 25th 2015, by

Here’s an update on the Bordeaux harvest since my last report on 8 September. This was published on (click on the Bordeaux 2015 tab for related posts on the site) and on Livex, the fine wine exchange.

Bloghopper - 096After a dry start to September, when most of the dry whites were picked, there were heavy, localised showers just as the Merlot harvest began in some areas in the middle of the month, before clear weather returned from Sunday 20 September. Other than some rain on Tuesday 22, it’s been clear and dry and, crucially, the forecast is good for the rest of the month.

The week of 12-19 September saw quite un-Bordeaux like weather, thanks to the fallout from the distant Tropical Storm Henri, with heavy showers giving way to bright sunshine an hour or two later. It was also evident that the downpours were extremely localised and sweeping generalisations should really be avoided. This is borne out by the statistics for the week – 115 mm of rain for that week in Civrac at the northern end of the Médoc, compared to less than 50 mm at the southern point at Blanquefort, just north of the city of Bordeaux. And that’s just the Médoc. On the right bank, the amount of rain that fell was also quite variable. Beneficial for some, less so for others.

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Bauduc 2015 Sauvignon harvest – in pictures

September 14th 2015, by

They're green, not white

They’re green, not white

We’ve never seen such clean-looking, healthy white grapes as this year’s crop. That’s not to say that they’ll make the best wine we’ve made (we’ll have to see) but, every vintage until now, we’ve had a small team of trainees and wannabe winemakers who are put to work in the vines at the last minute, trimming off any rot or blemished grapes.

This year, there’s been nothing of the sort, so to speak.

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Bordeaux 2015: Early harvest update

September 8th 2015, by

This was published on (click on the Bordeaux 2015 for related posts on the site) and on Livex, the fine wine exchange.

It’s a risky business, predicting a wonderful vintage before hardly a red grape has been picked, so, for the moment, here’s an interim update on how things are going in Bordeaux at the start of the harvest. There’s still a way to go.

A month is a long time in viticulture and many growers were concerned as recently as the first week of August about the extremely dry conditions we’d experienced since mid-June. (See Bordeaux 2015 – dry and sunny, still.) Then the rain came in August, refreshing the vines as the bunches changed colour.

2015 Bordeaux harvest start article - 05

Merlot at Château Troplong Mondot, Saint-Emilion

Summer seemed to slip into autumn with the arrival of September, with cooler nights and fresh, sunny days right from the start of the month. That’s good news for the white wine harvest, which is now well under way in the Graves and the Entre Deux Mers, having started earlier, as always, in the warmer vineyards of Pessac-Léognan.

It should be fine this week but there could be rain this weekend, 12-13 September, after which the red harvest will begin in more precocious areas. Some Merlots from recent plantations have already been picked, such as at Château Cheval Blanc in Saint Emilion last week, but these really are exceptions.

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The start of the harvest

September 3rd 2015, by

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The start of the white harvest – in pictures

September 3rd 2015, by

Our harvest kicked off this morning. Usually, there’s a bit of breathing space between the end of the school holidays and the start of the vendanges but the vines are more advanced this year. So it’s all go.


The bunches are healthy and the leaves bright and verdant as we move into the final stretch. The forecast looks promising so the whites will be picked next week, mostly, during the cool of the early morning. We’ll harvest the red grapes for making rosé at around the same time, a week or two before the first Merlots for producing red, and lastly the Cabernets.

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August rain: much needed refreshment

September 2nd 2015, by

Forget the rain dance. Our review at the end of July, following six weeks of drought, was called ’Time to borrow some rain’ and it did the trick: Mother Nature acted on the collective response of ’you’re bloody welcome to it’ with some heavy showers in August. In fact, we had more rain at Bauduc in August than in the three previous months put together. Conveniently, the last instalment of rain was on 31 August, which is just as well.

Here are some pics and, yes, a weather graph or two.

At Bauduc, we had half the normal rainfall in May, June and July combined, then twice the normal rain (or the average over 30 years) in August. No rain since the (UK) Bank Holiday Monday, with none forecast for the first ten days of September.


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