May review and photo journal

May review and photo journal

Posted by Gavin Quinney on 31st May 2024

May is always a crazy month and this year’s no different. The weather has been less than clement of late, with rather a lot of rain, and we need the sun now before the all-important flowering in June. The vines are in fine shape though and the forecast for the next week looks pretty good, so we live in hope as always. Here’s what’s included below by way of a photo journal:

  • 911 for Marathon Man Tom?
  • ‘The 25 best château stays in France’
  • Château DIY? Leaving it to the pros
  • Down in the vineyard
  • Comparing the same vines on the same day over several years
  • Bauduc Fantasy Premier League 2023-2024 winners

All the best

Gavin & Angela Quinney

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911 for Marathon Man Tom?

Last month we extolled the virtues of our great friend Tom Gilbey and his extraordinary achievement of running the London Marathon while blind tasting and trying to guess 25 different wines en route.

We also said we’d donate 25p for every bottle we sold online to Tom’s chosen charity in support of the team at Sobell House hospice, who looked after his mum Caroline in her last few days.

As a result, we’re about to plonk £911 into Tom’s JustGiving page but we thought we’d give it one more shot and extend the offer to close of play on Tuesday, 4 June.

We also released our new 2023s in April.

All our wines are here on

One series of wines which have flown a little under the radar is the new range of magnums, which come in boxes of three. We ourselves have been drinking a lot of the magnums of Sauvignon Blanc 2023 with friends. Delicious.


Another remarkable thing about Tom is that when I met up with him and Beth just before Christmas, above left, he had less than 2,000 followers on Instagram. Such is the success of his entertaining wine videos (‘reels’) this year on Insta - as filmed and edited by his son Freddie – he had nearly 200,000 followers by the time I stayed with them in London earlier this month (right). His follower count has now flown past 250,000 in under 6 months.

Never mind the burgers, it’s time for some prime beef chez Gilbey.

We met Tom before we moved to Bauduc in 1999, and he’s Godfather to our Tom who was born in October 2003. On the left is our Tom’s christening in our local church in Créon, way back when.

We’ve always enjoyed a glass of wine together. This was before a small dinner here in 2010, checking for any cork taint with another great friend, Ronan Sayburn. (Ronan is CEO of the Court of Master Sommeliers.)

Tom and Beth and their four children were regulars at our farmhouse for many years. This was a quiet summer’s day, with the Quinneys, in 2004 – 20 years ago.

‘The 25 best château stays in France’

Which brings us neatly on to a nice article in The Times last week. ‘The 25 best château stays in France‘ and ‘25 of France’s most beautiful châteaux‘ might be over-egging it just a bit in our case, but it was really kind of Nina Caplan to include us in her list – for the farmhouse, that is. Here’s the full article which is available to read for free for seven days.

We let the farmhouse out by the week from April to October inclusive, and all the weeks (Friday is our changeover day) have gone now for 2024. Prices – see our Price and Availability page – are mostly the same as they were for 2023, and we haven’t set them for 2025 just yet. If you’re interested do email both of us by clicking this link.

So we don’t miss your message do put Farmhouse 2025 (or later) in the subject line. We normally arrange the booking schedule after the harvest in September.

This was the popular Wednesday morning food market in Créon earlier this month. The farmhouse may be booked up this year but Wednesday late morning is a good time to come to Château Bauduc for a tasting and to buy some wine – the market first around 8.30-10am, then Bauduc at 11am. You must book ahead though with – see ‘ Visit the Château’.

Beef on the vine-fueled barbecue and the view from the table under the vines last night. Créon has become a destination for food stores and more – we have a map and details of where to shop on our farmhouse page ‘ the local area’.

If you’re in the Bordeaux region, it might be worth checking up on our list of recommended, local restaurants on our farmhouse pages. The Saint-Émilion area, for example, has several places that are well worth a visit these days, even if the town itself gets a bit crowded in summer. We will keep the list updated.

Château DIY? Leaving it to the pros

Tastings and cellar door sales can be arranged at the winery (or chai as we call it here) but the roof is being replaced at the château at the moment.

The house is also being cleaned up, so it should look the business when it’s all done.

We’re not great believers in DIY.

At least not when it comes to highly skilled work.

It’s also useful to have a head for heights.

Replacing the roof is going to take rather longer than we thought.

The scaffolding alone is a serious piece of engineering.

The pool and the pond are getting a makeover too. It’s some view from up here.

This is the view, over the Merlot (which goes into our rosé), towards the town.

We’ve also had all the shutters and windows painted by our friend Simon, who has stayed here during the week on and off for over a year. On his last night this month, the first bottle of Margaux for dinner was slightly corked – hence the second one to show the difference. All part of Simon’s ongoing wine education.

Down in the vineyard

The expense – but good sense, we hope – of employing skilled artisans obviously extends to the vineyard as well. This month just one of the tasks was the épamprage – removing the unwanted shoots. We had the same team in that we normally use, at a mere cost of several thousand euros.

Treating the vines – whether you’re organic or conventional – is vital when the threat of mildew is so severe. Our vineyard consultant, Patrick Delmarre, says that his many clients who treat their vines organically (‘bio’ in France) have had to spray between 11 and 15 times this season already. The sulphur and copper used for organic viticulture are washed away with the heavy rains, meaning further treatments are needed. Those using conventional viticulture have spayed between 6 and 7 times so far (as much as we did in the hot and dry 2022 season in total).

It’s another extremely skilled job and thankfully we have both Daniel and Nelly who are masters of the art.

The Sauvignon Blanc yesterday, with Daniel spraying to keep the mildew at bay. Touch wood, so far it’s worked – much like last year.

Comparing the same vines on the same day over several years

23 May 2024

Over the years I’ve taken a photo of the same plot of Merlot vines by the château on the same day each year. You may have seen some of these before so here’s an update. Here are the vines as of last week, and let’s see how things were in previous vintages.

23 May 2009

Way back when in May 2009, we had two hailstorms which proved pretty catastrophic for our crop that year. 2009 turned out to be a great vintage for most of Bordeaux, in fact, so it was doubly disappointing. We did though manage a ‘Wine of the week’ for Jancis Robinson MW for our Bordeaux dry white, which was partially sourced from a vineyard we subsequently leased after the hail had struck.

23 May 2011

2011 sits in complete contrast to the images of 2009 and 2013 above and below. It was one of the most precocious growing seasons when the vines shot out of the blocks. It was, naturally enough, an early harvest and the reds gripped with quite abrupt tannins across Bordeaux. Many of the top red wines are just beginning to open up nicely and are a pleasure to drink. Oh, and 2011 was a brilliant vintage for Sauternes and Barsac. Do try some.

23 May 2013

2013, as a vintage, never really recovered from a weak start to the growing season. Our Sauvignon Blanc was pretty good in 2013 but a hailstorm on 2 August 2013 wiped out about half our crop. I wrote several posts about the Aug 2013 hailstorms, along with before and after images.

23 May 2015

Sticking to the odd years and 2015 was a pretty good one. Great things were expected of 2015 because 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010 had all been terrific. It turned out to be a great vintage in Saint-Émilion and Margaux, for what it’s worth.

23 May 2016

The first even year in this series because 2016 was pretty classic all round. Neither too early nor too late as a growing season, and as a harvest, and thoroughly well behaved. Probably the most consistent and reliable vintage across Bordeaux in the last decade.

23 May 2017

We got rid of the large bush in front of the château in the summer of 2016. What’s interesting about 2017 was that this was the year of the great frost, in late April, when so much of Bordeaux’s crop in general, and especially on the right bank, was devastated. (Search ‘frost’ or ‘hail’ on and you’ll find all the gore you need.)

We too had been hit in late April on the lower slopes around the estate but these vines on ‘the plateau by the château’ are 100m above sea level. Doesn’t sound much but it made all the difference.

23 May 2018

2018 was another early harvest and a very good one. We managed to steer clear of the nasty mildew that made a mess of what was otherwise a good year – but it had been rainy in the spring before the warm and dry summer so many top châteaux had smaller yields. We still have a few cases left of our Bordeaux Supérieur red.

23 May 2019

2019 wasn’t that fast out of the blocks and it was a useful reminder that it doesn’t have to be an early vintage to be a very fine one. 2019 was an excellent all rounder.

23 May 2020

An early bird was 2020. And a really good one, completing a fine trio of 2018, 2019 and 2020.

23 May 2021

I remember 2021 (well, it wasn’t long ago) was slow to come around but not this slow. This Merlot goes into our rosé, and we harvest earlier for rosé compared to the same vines for making red. The block was harvested at the end of September.

23 May 2022

Another early one. Harvested for the rosé exactly three weeks earlier than in 2021.

23 May 2023

2023 was pretty standard at this stage. A good year for reds and a very good one for whites – both for dry and for sweet.

23 May 2024

Not too bad, considering how wet it’s been. Then again, we’ve had lots of wet springs followed by hot, dry summers, resulting in really good wines. So it’s all to play for.

Bauduc Fantasy Premier League 2023-2024 winners

The Château Bauduc Premier League has evolved into a thoroughly competitive mini league of the Fantasy Premier League over the last few years, with 170 players. Many congratulations to Josh Irving, a friend and customer who wins a case of 12 bottles of Château Bauduc. Those placed from number 2 to 8 win a 6-pack of our wines, so well done to all – if you don’t hear from, do get in touch. UK and French deliveries only!

The leading 52 FPL managers in the Bauduc League, above, finished in the top 6% globally out of close to 11 million people who took part. That really is going some.

If you’re into football, enjoy the euros this month.

Onwards and upwards.