The start to the season was characterised by warm, wet weather, in contrast to summer’s drought conditions, which at times caused significant water shortages on the well-drained gravel soils. While the old, deeply rooted vines coped well, we preferred to reduce the load in the younger vines to avoid stress. By the end of summer however, the vines were desperate for water. The berries struggled to develop, and though ripening was under way it began to slow down.
After many weeks of very dry weather, 35mm of rain on 13 September was a welcome relief. Just enough to breathe new life into the grapes, which savoured every last drop. Veraison concluded under the influence of excellent weather, and the mood was calm and collected as we approached the harvest.
Harvesting stretched at a leisurely pace, starting 28 September with some of the young Merlots, and finishing 17 October for the last Cabernet Sauvignons, constantly targeting each area as the grapes reached full ripeness in the warmth of a fabulous Indian summer. We opted for selective vinifications tailored to each parcel, to further enhance the rich and complex grapes.
The wines were transferred to barrel in January, and reveal concentrated, yet elegant structure and silky tannins, heralding another promising vintage at Château Belgrave.