primeur-dourthe-chateau-la-gardeThe advance in vine development during the first part of the year was soon offset by a dull, cool summer, resulting at the end of August in a worrying delay in ripening.

We remained constantly on alert, tailoring work in the vineyard to the vagaries of the vintage, with rigorous leaf-plucking to improve airflow around the bunches and exposure to sunlight, thinning out after veraison to prevent over-cropping and any non-uniform bunches, removing any bunches and shoots derived from secondary buds, and keeping ploughing and grassing over to a minimum in order to limit water supplies to the vine and facilitate ripening.

The magnificent Indian summer allayed our fears, and evened out any delays in ripeness noted at veraison, particularly in the Merlot, and we could calmly wait to harvest the grapes at ideal ripeness.

The whites, which do not cope well with hot summers, have thrived in the relatively cool temperatures of July and August, both in the case of the Sauvignon blanc, traditionally the predominant grape at Château La Garde, and the Semillon. The wines are lively, concentrated and very aromatic.