The year got off to an unseasonably wet and mild start, with average temperatures of 8.5°c recorded in January and February at our weather station in Château La Garde. This resulted in an early, good quality budburst in the first Merlots at Château Reysson and the Cabernet Sauvignon at Château Pey La Tour in the third week of March.
Thankfully, the smooth start continued in frost-free conditions, and with a summery feel to April, rainfall and temperatures remained in line with seasonal averages, even if May seemed wetter. Vine growth began in great conditions across every region.
Flowering commenced during the last 10 days of May, with the first flowers detected at Château La Garde on May 22nd. These wet conditions, which were significant in places, were rapidly offset by hot, sunny weather in June, which accelerated and evened up flowering. Everything was looking very positive at the end of June, with growth almost 3 weeks ahead of schedule, and the vineyards generally looking healthy.
It was a relatively rainy, cool summer, which on the whole affected principally the red grapes; veraison and the start of ripening were dangerously delayed, while the return of wet weather promoted continued vine growth and the aggressive onset of mildew.
We focused on keeping disease pressure and vine growth at bay through punish ing work in the vineyards throughout August. Nerves were unsurprisingly on edge in the vineyard, and we had lost the remarkable head start enjoyed in spring. Worryingly, on August 27th we even noted a delay in ripening.
2014 : Saved by an Indian summer !
Nature however once again saved the day and a miraculous September, followed by much the same in October, radically overturned the summer trend. Heat and sunshine, often interspersed with short bouts of rain just at the right moment, resulted in magnificent, albeit unexpected, ripening in the Merlot, and created ideal conditions for the later-ripening Cabernet and Petit Verdot.
Despite an unprecedented attack of Drosophila Suzukii, or vinegar fly – a somewhat recent phenomenon in Bordeaux – which affected notably the warmer terroirs, and left us no choice but to drop the affected grapes in certain parcels before the harvest, dry weather and cool nights maintained excellent conditions in the vines until the end of the harvest.
An impeccable knowledge of the terroirs and the relentless implication of our teams enabled us determine the optimum date to harvest and each parcel and micro-parcel was left to ripen under its own steam. The red grape harvest lasted four weeks, starting 24th September at Château Reysson, and coming to a close 23rd October at Château Pey la Tour.
Our dry white wines, which clearly benefited from the cool summer, show great aromatic concentration and good balance, the sure sign of a very good vintage.
The reds are rich in colour, with concentrated aromas; these are well-balanced wines with good tannins. A lovely vintage in the making.