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BORDEAUX 2019

- SHAPING UP TO AN EXCEPTIONAL VINTAGE. AGAIN!

Simply perfect Cabernet Franc and it tasted stunning - in the hands of Veronique Corporandy, winemaker at Chateau Larmande

Let me say that and it's my honest opinion based on experiencing 20 harvests between 1985 and 2019 - 2019 vintage's looking no less than incredibly promising. 

Despite somewhat rainy and cold spring resulting in occasionally spread-out of coulure and millerandage, there were no really violent outbursts from weather Gods through spring and summer. Flowering went more or less free of problems, only affected a little bit by continous rain in the end of it. Then followed a very dry summer and well-needed rain in the end of July, which started ripening process for real.

Rains in September helped to separate seeds from pulp in already very concentrated grapes, diluted sugar content meaning less alcohol and tightened skins. Rains were especially advantageous for Cabernet Sauvignon. Leaf thinning was not really used that much because winemakers didn't want to risk getting grapes burnt. Neither green harvest was widespread in 2019. The amount of grapes brought in will be normal for Bordeaux in 2019.

It'll be a vintage of different styles and characters as winemakers have broken the rules of harvesting dates and harvested either early or late. The normal order for who did harvest first and who harvested late was not valid in 2019!

Some winemakers were afraid of getting too much alcohol in grapes, so they harvested early, some harvested late, to get right balance in the grapes. Also different soils reacted differently in 2019 and winemakers had to adjust themselves to that. Global warming guilty of that?

During my recent trip in Bordeaux between 7th and 12th October, I tasted a lot of fresh grape juice at different properties, mostly Merlot before and after alcoholic fermentation, and it promised a great deal. Lot of sugar and rich juice with fat and big tannin. Almost black colour after one day's maceration in vat! IPT= Index Polyphenol Totale in grapes was really high in 2019, 80 or more, meaning high quantities of tannin. I believe this combined with ripeness of the grapes, will make the vintage fascinating to watch and taste.

For the most part in Medoc harvest was over by mid October. On the Right Bank, majority of properties have grapes in the cellar. In Pessac-Leognan, most properties have finished harvest before mid October.

I have no doubt that 2019 will be an excellent vintage, possibly as equally stunning as 2010, 2016 and 2018, but of different character however. We have to wait until January 2020 when malolactic fermentation is over, before there is a clear view of 2019 in red.

White dry wines are rumoured to be of very fine quality with much better acidity than in 2018 and 2016, while harvest of grapes in Sauternes & Barsac is still going on (mid-October), but first reports say that 2019 will be similar in quality of 2017.

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