The weather during the first half of the year will long be remembered for record rainfall, making work in the vineyard challenging for both man and machine. Where possible we retained the grass cover between rows to increase the bearing capacity of the soils, limit compaction, add structure and encourage the rainwater to filter through the soils. Patience and responsiveness were key, enabling us to intervene when the weather allowed, and manage the canopy effectively faced with accelerated growth promoted by abundant rainfall and mild temperatures. Significant mildew pressure lasting until July was slowed markedly through the vigilance of our teams, facilitated by a hot, dry summer, which reversed the stressful spring period.
As the harvest approached, the vines were in impeccable health. In these excellent conditions, the vines ripened to perfection, promoting concentration and intense aromas in every grape variety. Harvesting was staggered over a 4-week period. Thanks to the Indian summer, each parcel had time to reach ideal ripeness, and for the first time ever (a vineyard first!), the Cabernet Sauvignon was picked before the last Merlot.
Ageing, which commenced in January, will enhance the already creamy, elegant texture of these fruity, complex wines. Yet another great vintage well underway at Château Belgrave.