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Beginning of the harvest in Bordeaux: sun-kissed grapes, a promising vintage

The wine estate, installed in AOC Pessac-Léognan, at the gates of Bordeaux, is one of the first in the region to have taken out the pruning shears.

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Beginning of the harvest in Bordeaux: sun-kissed grapes, a promising vintage

The wine estate, installed in AOC Pessac-Léognan, at the gates of Bordeaux, is one of the first in the region to have taken out the pruning shears.

Due to the drought and the successive episodes of heat wave, the berries, 30% to 40% smaller than usual, quickly filled with sugar, with 13.5 degrees of potential alcohol on the first plots harvested.

"There are some sun-candied grapes but the bunches are compact, really magnificent, surprisingly golden, it's a dream if you miss the devastating storms", rejoices Andréa Perrin, cellar master and fourth generation of this family at the head of this famous castle producing wine for more than seven centuries.

Because of the drought, "there will be a small shortfall, less volume, therefore fewer bottles, but compared to the weather conditions we are experiencing, it is a rather unexpected vintage for the moment", estimates- he.

"The sugar-acidity balance on the plots is very good. It's pleasant to taste", abounds, "confident", his father Eric Perrin, one of the co-owners of the 42-hectare château, which produces 40% white and 60% in reds.

Here, the vines escaped frost, which occurred before the arrival of the first buds, hail and mildew, this devastating fungus which did not develop thanks to a hot and dry spring.

Despite the drought, the plant did not experience a blockage phenomenon, keeping its bright green.

"Thanks to the cultivation methods, the foliage has not yellowed because the root system has drawn water from deep," explains Eric Perrin, reassured by "the vegetative precocity for the maturity of its grapes" which will allow the Merlots to be harvested. at the beginning of September then 15 days later the Cabernet Sauvignons.

And the fine drops of rain watering his plots at the same time are another reason for satisfaction: "As our grandfather said, it's gold that falls!", he smiles.

However, a race against time begins for the owners to prevent the acidity of the fruit from collapsing. Because with the scorching temperatures, all the plots evolved unusually at the same speed. "To keep the freshness, we will have to go quickly", explains Andréa Perrin, who hopes to reproduce the good vintage of 2020.

In the middle of summer, the vineyard faces another challenge: finding the seasonal staff needed to "increase the rate of collection".

- Regenerate Bordeaux -

If Château Carbonnieux has escaped the vicissitudes of the weather, unlike certain vineyards in the Médoc or Pays Foyen affected by violent episodes of hail, Bordeaux as a whole can hope for a lot from its 2022 vintage.

"It will be a very special vintage, which will give wines with aromas that we are not used to seeing", enthuses Olivier Dauga, wine consultant.

"Whoever can harvest healthy fruit, not too marked by all the climatic incidents, including the smoke from the fires (which occurred in Gironde in July and August), the quality of the grapes is there, with high PHs and wines that will be generous, fuller in the mouth, without harshness".

In the whites, fewer citrus notes and more white fruit, slightly ripe apricots and hints of honey. The reds feature candied fruits, black cherries and spices. "The problem will be the balance of the wines", believes this specialist.

In these wines with different maturities, we can also see a "projection of Bordeaux" with meteorological conditions that will be repeated with climate change.

Similarly, faced with the critical phenomenon of "Bordeaux Bashing", these developments could "regenerate its classic image" among sulkers, according to him.

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