Ideal climatic conditions
After the first experimental harvest in 2013, our teams have continued to learn on the ground. The 2013-2014 winter in particular gave the opportunity to teach and give a reminder of the importance of preparation of the vine through meticulous pruning.
The province of Shandong enjoyed particularly favourable climatic conditions throughout the season. Compared to the previous vintage, we noted that the growth of the vines was a few days in advance.
Bud burst took place on 23 April, followed by flowering on 30 May and véraison was spread out between 22 July and 7 August. Growth was even and without incident.
Throughout the growing season, we were able to put into practice the knowledge acquired in 2013. Our vision and our control of the vineyard have already made good progress; this experience on the ground has enriched the studies we continue to undertake to better characterise the environment and local production conditions.
Hand picking and excellent grape ripening
It was with great enthusiasm and euphoria that our teams prepared for the second time to pick the fruits of a long year of work.
The weather was both warm and dry during the ripening period. Ideal conditions which allowed the grapes to ripen slowly and to be picked at their optimum maturity and at the desired pace.
Picking was by hand and performed by our local teams, supported by fifteen or so outside pickers. The harvest was spread out over time:
16 September: Syrah (1.7 ha)
16 September: Merlot (0.25 ha)
2 October: Marselan (1.2 ha)
3 October: Cabernet Franc (1.25 ha)
11, 13 and 14 October: Cabernet Sauvignon (5.6 ha)
In total, 6 days of harvesting for a total of 10 hectares picked. We have better ripeness than in the 2013 vintage due to the particularly mild weather.
The bunches were sorted on arrival at the cellar and vinified separately according to grape variety.
Wines with a good aromatic complexity and good structure
The fermentations took place under ideal conditions and the quality level of the wines is promising (note that some are still undergoing malolactic fermentation at the time of writing).
We have good aromatic complexity, structure and attractive colour. This is especially true for the Cabernet Sauvignon, which represents the largest area planted. The Marselan, a variety we know less well, has also given good results. All this augurs well for the future.
The whole team is very confident about this second vintage. Along with confirming our first good intuitions from 2013, it has also helped us to get a better sense of the overall potential of this terroir. A further milestone has been reached in the construction of this wonderful project and the birth of our future wine.
The harvest report was prepared by Olivier Richaud, Technical Director of the Penglai site, and Eric Kohler, Technical Director of international estates for the group DBR (Lafite).