Harvest Report: Chateau Lafleur

Harvest Report: Chateau Lafleur

Wednesday 21st September 2016
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

As harvest in Bordeaux begins, the Guinadeau family of famed Chateau Lafleur sent us their report on the latest vintage. 

"We started to harvest on the morning of Friday 9th September, with the whites. It was warm and dry in Bordeaux so we harvested only in the morning, very early, to enjoy the relative cool of the first hours of the day. We gathered for the first time the young parcel of Sauvignon Blanc "Les Perrieres de Mathilde". Then through the weekend we harvested a portion of Semillons from the "Ambaud" parcel and Sauvignons from the plot "Louima." Our permanent vineyard team and team of pickers were very motivated as the health of the vines was very good with the very few pockets of botrytis cut away. For now this has been a harvest of great pleasure." 

"The juices are rich, fresh, with lots of fruit: Mango, apricot, citrus, and an interesting acidity. All our white parcels are now at their optimum aromatic. We continued harvesting on Monday morning and finished on Tuesday. A curious vintage this 2016 is, with a rainy spring until June 20th, then this incredibly dry summer: it took a lot of work with our team this year because of this confusing climate. In May and June, in addition to a mildew outbreak, we had to contain, we needed to make sure the soils could breathe by compacting them as little as possible. Then from the end of July a change of programme: regular raking of the land to avoid too much evaporation. Removing of secondary shoots and clearing the canopy according to each single vine’s needs, without de-leafing or stripping down the vine tops too low..."

"In the end, we managed to preserve the foliage, and overall 95% of our vines work well or very well (only a few vines with shallower roots showed signs of defoliation). The red grapes are already very 'tasty' and the pre-analytical samples show good ripeness levels and progress from day to day. So we feel confident!  A tiny bit of rain on Wednesday should be beneficial for our red grapes (provided that this disturbance is neither too strong nor too long).

We are preparing to harvest our first Merlots of Lafleur this week. If all goes well, vintage 2016 will be a happy successor to the great vintage 2015!