Chateau Margaux -
Margaux - Harvest Chronicles
- September 7th
Margaux September 7th
summer is now coming to an end without really having caused much excitement nor anything to get concerned about. Throughout the months of July and August the weather was moderately warm, and there was some rain, but not in excess amounts. Around August 25th, anything was still possible, including the prospect of a great
Margaux. And now, for the last ten days, the dry, hot weather we had been longing for has finally settled in! And at exactly the right time..
Margaux September 23rd
The harvesting of the white grapes at
Margaux continues in a fine weather and amid great optmism. Today, we are finishing off our first sorting, which involves selecting the ripest grapes in each plot. These grapes are always more gold-coloured than the others. The results are quite incredible: the must
is reaching a potential
alcoholic degree of 14.5 together with a perfectly
balanced acidity. As for his year's
yield at Chateau
Margaux, it would already seem that the crop is slightly less abundant than we first thought. (..) We are starting to turn our attention with great interest towards the plots of
Merlot whose grapes are displaying a nonchalant good health and firmness at only days from their sheduled picking. Maybe this is a sign that their optimum ripeness has not yet been reached, even though the classic indicators, such as their potential alcoholic degree and their
acidity, appear to show the reverse. But
Margaux, we are quite used to these kinds of doubt. In the end, it comes down to human judgement and experience: they, rather than laboratory analyses, will have the last word.
Margaux September 27th
The grapes, at Chateau
Margaux are slowly perfecting their
delicate ripeness in an atmosphere free of constraints and rush. Cast your mind back to 1990, 1996 or 2002 when the harvesting of a wonderful crop was easily spun out over the whold of a tremendous period of late summer weather! (..) The weather forecast is very optimistic for all the week and even if there is some rain, we know very well from experience (eg. 95 or 96) that rain, even heavy rain, at the last minute does not have any bearing on the ripeness which has already been achieved.
Margaux October 1st
It's underway! Somce this morning, our five harvesting teams at Margaux have been sent out to the ripest
Merlot plots. The first one was the parcel close to the church, where the gravelly soil and the superb exposure always accelerate the ripening of the grapes. The weather forecast is most reasuring for the next few days. On Monday we'll start the Merlot in the enclosure where the soil is more clayey and late-ripening. All the grapes
Margaux are now beginning to show very good ripeness.
Margaux October 6th
The last two days at Chateau
Margaux have proved to be a good test for our new
harvest reception equipment! We haven't picked so many grapes in such a short time for many years. The lovely weather, the continuing good spirits amongst our pickers, the perfectly healthy state of the grapes and.. their sheer quantity, all these factors have made a contribution to the amazing crop we have brought in. Since the abundance of the crop is going hand in hand with a remarkable level of quality, we would perhaps have to go back to the 1990 or 1982 vintages to find such a combination. Monday
Margaux we will begin the picking of the
Sauvignon, which is the heart of our
vineyard and the soul of our wine.
Margaux October 11th
Well, we've finally got there. (..) For the last few days we jave been waiting on tenterhooks, in hope but also in fear, particularly when the weather forecasts were pessimistic.
At Chateau Margaux,
it was the eternal dilemma: should we risk losing everything in trying to gain just a little bit more? However, those fears soon turned to joy at the weekend as the weather became hot and sunny, enabling the grapes to finish off their ripening without any adverse effect on their excellent state of health. This evening a strong wind is chasing away the dark clouds which jave threatened but have remained innocuous.
Margaux October 14th
Since Monday morning, the weather has not been so kind to us; it has constantly been raining on and off
Margaux. Enough to bother us, but not sufficiently to cause any concern. Rain.. that old adversary which accompanies so many greater and lesser vintages. It is easy to forget past fintages, fortunately perhaps. 80 mm fell during the 1995
vintage, 110 in 1996, 60 in 2000 and... 0 in 1997. Up till now in 2004, we are at 45 mm. Through many years of experience
Margaux, we have learned that rain during the
harvest does not have any adverse effect on the quality of
the grapes, as long as it doesn't lead to rot.
The first samplings of the
Margaux have given us great heart, as their quality seems to be up to the standard of last year. They are almost as
powerful, but more classic; very
fleshy at the same time as being very
fresh, thanks to a good, high
Margaux October 19th
90 mm of rain have fallen since the picking started at
Margaux. (..) Tasting the vats of Merlot is a pure delight, they are perhaps better than last year. The
Sauvignon is still hiding its charms behind the discreet veil of a few grams of
sugar. Patience, patience..
Margaux October 21st
The picking will be over this evening at Chateau
Margaux. As from tomorrow, all that will be left on the vines. (..) By the end, it is the wine which will prove to be true witness of the
vintage, ot that necessary and mysterious compination of sun, heat, and coolness which determine the quality of a wine. The veil which was hiding the silhouette of the first Cabernet grapes is slowly lifting. Their power, purity and finesse are reminiscent of the 1996
vintage. But, at Chateau
Margaux we should wait a few days more to gain a clearer impression of their personality.
Paul Pontallier - Director of Chateau