With even bud burst and flowering across all varieties, an encouraging start to the year at Château Belgrave, with highly favourable spring conditions, was followed by long weeks of dry weather. Work in the vineyards had to be adapted to protect the vines, including light leaf plucking on the canopy facing the rising sun to prevent the grape bunches from being exposed to too much sun, and reducing the height of the canopy to keep water shortage to a minimum.
Frequent rain showers from the end of July to mid-September helped the grapes to ripen fully. We harvested in great conditions from 18 September for the early Merlots until 9 October for the very last parcel of Cabernets. In use for the first time in the winery, a high-speed, ultra-effective optical sorting device further improved our ability to select the best quality fruit.
Cuvaisons were long, lasting almost 30 days, alternating cap-punching and pumping over to keep the grapes in healthy condition to complete extractions. Transferred to barrel at the end of January, the wines show magnificent structure and are elegant and concentrated. At Château Belgrave, 2015 will sit alongside the very best vintages.