October 5th 2011, by Gavin
With the growing season almost three weeks ahead of last year, the harvest of our white grapes at Château Bauduc kicked off at the end of August. It wasn’t the easiest vintage, as we had four months of near-drought from March to early July and a tad too much rain from mid-July to the beginning of September. The summer was cool overall but at times it was very humid, which caused problems. In the end, after getting hands-on in the vines to sort the grapes, we’re pretty pleased with the result.
Here’s the story of the white harvest in photos. Click on an image to enlarge it.
Update, Summer 2012: if you’re in the UK and would like to sample the fruits of our labour, you can order the wine here.
June 26th 2011, by Gavin
Last week was a busy week, what with the biennial Vinexpo trade fair taking place in Bordeaux. After tastings and meetings, and five dinners on the trot (two small ones here, three flashier affairs at neighbouring châteaux), I was flagging a bit when a short email came through to firstname.lastname@example.org from Jancis Robinson MW OBE on Thursday morning: “Hope Vinexpo is treating you well. Much enjoyed your 2009 white, even if it is not based on the usual vines. What is the RS pse?”
Angela was about to reply ‘£8.95′ before checking with me at the show. ‘The Residual Sugar is 2.94 gms/litre’ was the answer Jancis was looking for. ‘Why?’ we asked. HRH replied “I’m planning to make it wine of the week on my website tmrw.”
Now that is good news at the end of a long week, and somehow all the effort we put in after the hail in May 2009 seems worth it. Here below is Jancis’s article on the wine, taken from the freebie part of her site. (Subscription costs £69 a year for ‘Purple Pages’ – essential reading for any wine nut.) Jancis then kindly tweeted the link to her 90,000 followers on Twitter. I did the same for my, er, 1,193.
May 24th 2011, by Gavin
It’s five years since Oz Clarke and James May came to Bauduc at the start of their Big Wine Adventure – the video of the day is on the home page of our main Bauduc website and on the blog here. Oz has been back a few times since, the most recent visit being in March.
Here are his thoughts following his visit, with his kind permission. A slightly shorter version appeared in our Gazette, the newsletter we printed and posted to UK customers in May. You can view La Gazette online here.
‘Right, I thought – time to hit the 2010s. So I stopped off at my old mate Gavin’s place, Château Bauduc, and tasted at least 10 barrels of rather fine Merlot before we hit the real business of the evening which was to actually drink as much Bauduc as he could possibly afford without bankrupting him. Which we did – we bankrupted him. We drank the lot.
April 26th 2011, by Gavin
We like weddings. Especially big ones.
It’s the time of year when we get asked to quote for many special occasions. Thankfully our wines often seem to fit the bill, as far as quality, versatility, prestige, provenance, a smart label and price is concerned. And you won’t see it everywhere.
Receiving this sort of feedback too is encouraging for any wine grower:
“The Bauduc wines drew a remarkable number of positive compliments, way outside the usual drunkard expletive. Really, so many people came up to me to say how good they were… My purpose in writing is merely to say thank you for a) the Bauduc which you must never be complacent about – it is seriously good b) the sound advice on bubbles.”
(Mark Johnstone, 25 June 2010)
Another advantage is that buyers can collect the wine from our Calais collection point, saving £25 duty per case in the process. As long as the wine is for your own use, such as for a wedding, there’s no limit to the amount you can take home from France.
So we’ve decided to go one step further for a trial period, following an idea from a customer who wanted to buy a barrel (all 25 cases) of wine. For a substantial order, we’ll print the names of the happy couple and the date on our Château Bauduc label. We are, after all, known for putting the names of famous chefs on our label, not least Rick Stein and Gordon Ramsay. The same applies for anniversaries, birthdays, special events, and so on.
February 23rd 2011, by Gavin
Ronan Sayburn is one the leading sommeliers in the world and recently made a star appearance on Michel Roux’s ‘Service’ on BBC2. He’s also Director of Wines and Spirits at the Hotel du Vin, and has taken on one of the Scholarship winners, Danielle, from the programme. In this video from their new website – via the ‘HdvTV’ YouTube channel at the foot of the page on their site – Ronan talks through what to look for when tasting a dry white.
September 28th 2010, by Gavin
The Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon for the dry whites are mostly in – we finished our Sémillon yesterday – and some estates on the Right Bank, in Pomerol and St-Emilion, have picked Merlot from young vines in the last week (such as Château Canon in St-Emilion, below right). The Merlot harvest started in earnest this week in the Médoc. Hardly a grape had been picked there until now, and they’ll start attacking the Cabernet Sauvignon from next week onwards. If you have the chance to see the harvest in action, on both Banks, sometime over the next fortnight or so is the time to come, although there’s much less to see on the outside at weekends.
The weather leading up to the key picking dates could make the difference between, well, seriously good and great. In case you weren’t aware, we had half as much rain in Bordeaux in the six months to the end of August compared to 2009, which was, of course, a dry year.
The weather in September has been fine, with a dash of refreshing rain in the second week and last week on Friday, 24th. As luck would have it, a drying northwesterly breeze blew off any humidity in the vines on Saturday, averting the risk of rot. The forecast is fine, just for the moment. We don’t really want to pick for the reds until next week, although we have harvested some Merlot plots early to make some rosé. This year, just as last, it’s best to bring in Merlot earlier – more so with these chilly mornings – and press quickly to make rosé, as we need acidity and not fully or over-ripe grapes.
February 20th 2010, by Gavin
Mike Kane of Curious Wines in Ireland talks through our Château Bauduc Bordeaux Blanc Sec 2008. “A cracking wine for your money” and no, we didn’t put him up to it. To buy the wine in the UK, click this link to our order page.
Mike’s Curious Wines blog is here, including a rambling interview with your’s truly.
October 9th 2009, by Gavin
As we come to the end of our harvest at Bauduc, we have hardly had a chance to reflect on an extraordinary vintage of triumphs and disasters. Everything looked great until the hailstorms in May. Then we lost a huge slice of the crop. Since the hail, the weather has been fantastic – so we were on the verge of a Perfect Storm: watching other vineyards enjoy a beautiful summer and early autumn, after ours had been badly hit. Salt on the wounds.
So how come we have made more white, more rosé and more red than last year?
Here’s how. It’s not a short or simple story, but this is France.
September 23rd 2009, by Gavin
Given that we’d lost most of our 2009 crop (and a fair chunk of 2010) to hail in May, we could either have thrown in the towel, or gone in search of more vineyards to buy, or take under lease. We were tempted by option A, but umpteen, welcome messages of support from customers – some on this site – persuaded us to get off our butts.
If we’d been in, say, New Zealand, we’d simply have gone out and found some grapes to make up the 80% loss. It would have been up to us – not the State – to ensure that the quality is good enough to go into our ‘brand’: about 70% of the grapes that go into Villa Maria’s consistently good wines, for example, come from contract growers.
June 3rd 2009, by Gavin
Never mind the recession, the strong euro, the weak pound, increased duty costs and global over-supply of cheap, industrial wine. It’s back to nature, and sometimes nature can be cruel.
Thanks for watching, and excuse the French. Feel free to leave a comment below, or a question.