This is a good moment to stock up on some fine French red that won't break the bank, so we've combined this week's photo journal with a substantial offer on our Bordeaux Supérieur.
Below is our '2016 red harvest revisited', and you can buy the wine we made that year, along with the 2017, at an absurdly low volume rate, until 13 December.
Buy any 2 dozen for £1 off a bottle
Buy 3 dozen for £1.50 a bottle off
Buy 4+ dozen, have £2 off
The website works it all out for you as you add cases of 6 to your basket. Delivery is free for 12 or 24+ bottles in England and Wales, or 36+ bottles in central Scotland.
All the best
Gavin & Angela Quinney
Our 2016 red harvest revisited
A little bit more of what went on behind the label.
23 June 2016 may be relevant in other ways in December 2020 but here’s the result of the flowering of our Merlot on that day.
We then had 12 weeks of glorious summer weather. Here Nelly had the brolly up on the tractor in the vines, next to the Bauduc farmhouse garden.
By the end of August, the vines were pretty parched.
We’d had almost no rain in late June, July or August.
Visitors to the château could hardly have had a better summer.
Thanks to the wet spring, there were just enough water reserves for the Merlot, left, and Cabernet Sauvignon, right. (You can tell which is which by the leaves.)
We had a remarkably successful Sauvignon Blanc harvest, given the drought.
13 September and the start of our white harvest. Nelly with the hand picked Sémillon.
These grapes went into our Crémant and Blanc de Blancs 2016, now sold out.
Pavie and Palmer are both fans of the Merlot here.
Here’s Margaux – the dog not the place – on the night of the 13 September. A huge storm, which for us brought much needed rain, and no hail thankfully.
When the white harvest continued the next day, it was noticeably cooler.
Here was my weather chart for the 2016 growing season. No rain in the summer and the harvest was clear and cool after 13 September.
Palmer, Pavie and Margaux.
Tasting the Sauvignon Blanc. Harvesting the Sauvignon would keep us busy for the next ten days.
Nelly in the winery.
Les Trois Hectares blanc 2016. We have just shipped a few cases over from our Calais collection depot, which are now on bauduc.com.
Sophie, Ange and Georgie. And dogs.
We had a tremendous crop for the red, and 2016 is the largest of the recent vintages in Bordeaux.
What we call a Rosé dawn. Harvesting by machine.
In the first week of October they were picking in Pomerol, about half an hour up the road. It’s a signal that our grapes will be ready about a week or so later.
So we just have to be patient. 8 October.
Guarding the château, while Nelly and Daniel are making the white.
The following day and we’re almost there. The rain has held off.
A healthy and generous crop of Merlot.
Quinneys hand picking at the château.
It’s rare for us all to have harvested together.
Good weather helps in several ways, like getting the children out.
Amelia with her beloved Pavie.
Tom the day before becoming a teenager. 10 October 2016.
Georgie and Margaux.
There are more convincing ways of holding a bunch of grapes.
Sophie is a regular on the sorting table.
At whatever hour we begin. Often in the dark.
The vineyard has rarely looked healthier in mid October than it did in 2016. Well, this was the 10th.
With absolutely no sign of mould or botrytis.
So it was fine to harvest by machine.
Two minutes by tractor.
Autumn was already upon us as the harvest continued. This is a corner of the winery.
The last block of Cabernet Sauvignon to be picked, by hand. 21 October 2016.
Healthy bunches into the trailer.
Blue sky and sun but a really chilly start. It was late October after all.
Tom and the two small dogs.
It’s the last block to ripen, at the foot of the slope.
A full load.
Georgie and Margaux.
Ange and Sophie. By late morning it was time to take the coats off.
Max Ryland and Amelia.
Sandra has been working in the vines for us for many years now.
The small team that completed the harvest, 21 October. We’d started on 13 September.
With Daniel and Nelly on the last batch. It was our 18th harvest together since our first ‘in at the deep end’ effort in 1999, if our sums are right.
Taking a sample from the fermentation tank. All the tubes are for the temperature control inside.
We have two control panels for managing the temperature in each tank.
On the Sunday it was Ange’s birthday, so it was great to have her father, David, and stepmother Pat, brother Pete, sister-in-law Henny and sister Penny, and all the cousins to stay for the weekend.
A couple of weeks later it was David’s 80th, so it was a double celebration. Well, a triple, if we include the end of the harvest.
By now the vineyard looked quite different to the end of the summer, shown up top, just after the drought.
The red wine was bottled in the summer of 2018, much later than for the whites and rosé.
We usually put most of the red wine into bottle only, and label later, but here we labelled and boxed up at the time of bottling.
We used natural cork for the 2016. For the 2017 Bordeaux Supérieur, we moved to Diam corks – a type that eliminates the risk of cork taint.
The year on the cork is especially useful for when you don’t label and box up at the same time. And a sort of guarantee for the consumer.
Not that many people know this but it’s important to give the cork enough time immediately after it’s been forced into the bottle to expand, often on a conveyor, before laying the newly filled bottles down.
The back label says Mis en bouteille au château. Like most top Bordeaux, for better or for worse.
Remember this is wine on a pallet (in English). Not like an artist’s palette, or your palate when you taste the stuff.
We don’t have a lot of 2016 left but we need to make way for barrels here, and elsewhere for a large, imminent bottling. It’s time for these cases to find new homes.
All our harvest updates and newsletters are on Gavin's blog.
You can see pics of this harvest and more in our Bauduc photo albums.