Red October at Bauduc, monthly review - part one

Red October at Bauduc, monthly review - part one

Posted by Gavin Quinney on 31st Oct 2019

Two for the price of one this month. No, not the wine, but newsletters. Last month, we sent out a long fable of our white harvest, with copious pictures. So it’s only fair that we report back on our red, and that’s included with images below.

We’ll also send you Gavin’s legendary Bordeaux 2019 report in the next few days. It’s a fairly deep dive analysis of how the weather shaped this year’s vintage.

All the best

Gavin & Angela

The Bauduc Red (and Rosé) 2019 harvest

Obviously Pavie and Margaux help us make the right calls. Above they are with some Merlot, and below, Pavie is with some Cabernet Sauvignon shortly before it was picked to be made into Rosé.

All the red grapes for the Rosé and our Bordeaux Supérieur reds were machine harvested early in the morning. Harvesting by machine works a treat, provided the grapes are in very good health. If there's any rot or mould, hand picking is required.

We hire in Nathan, below, and his dad Guy and their latest bit of a kit with its onboard destemmer and sorting system. Nathan is one of the better looking harvest machine drivers in Bordeaux, which is, of course, quite important.

Machine harvesting also works if the grapes don't have far to go, and as all our vines - 1,000 rows of the buggers - surround the château and the winery, it's a short hop with the tractors and trailers.

For the reds, we check all the grapes on the sorting table, at all hours. That's because whatever goes into the fermentation tanks will be in there for a few weeks, so we don't want any nasty green stalks, leaves or whatever. Or worse.

We usually start in the dark, very early, and carry on sorting through the early morning. Sorting tables, more often than not, are conveyors, and can make you feel quite giddy after a while. It is not advisable to sort grapes and then go and stand on a wobbly ladder to take a picture, just to get the vineyard in the shot.

The grapes are then pumped into a fermentation tank through big tubes. We installed an integrated expensive cooling and heating system for all the stainless steel fermentation tanks some years ago, along with a sophisticated device for holding the grape carrying tubes in place.

Meanwhile, don't miss Gavin's report on Bordeaux 2019 in the next thrilling instalment. Here he is in Saint-Julien, stealing some Cabernet Sauvignon. In truth, we didn’t need to steal any grapes because we have made close to our permitted yield in 2019 - a full quota for the white and very close to the permitted amount for the red. For the first time too in successive vintages (2018 and 2019). Woohoo!

Enjoy the rugby.