Presentation of the 2014 vintage by Charles Chevallier

The En Primeur period is one of the most important period of the year for our Bordeaux Chateaux.
The 2014 vintage, harvested in September has been presented during the “Primeurs Week”, at the beginning of April, to Bordeaux Negociants and wine journalists.

Charles Chevallier, Director of Bordeaux Properties of the Group, shares below his first impressions on the 2014 vintage.


Climate and Viticulture

«Significant rain from November to February completely restored groundwater reserves, which had already been substantially replenished by average or higher than average rainfall in 2012 and 2013.
Temperatures remained above normal and the vines missed the hearty winter frosts; what we really wanted were about two weeks of crisp mornings with beautiful sunshine, dry cold and no wind. But you cannot control nature!

Bud break was early, followed by uniform flowering during the first week of June, spurred on by a rise in temperatures.

As always, the weather conditions and their impact on the vines were our primary concern; our teams worked throughout the year to obtain ripe grapes in perfect health (dealing, among other things, with an invasion of snails at Duhart-Milon, as a result of which we lost some of the production).

The onset of ripening occurred over two periods, first in late July and then again after 15 August, creating differences in the ripeness of the bunches on the same vine.

Some «juggling» was therefore necessary when it came to the harvests, in order to make the best choices; the pickers and sorters were under strict orders to only keep the very best quality red grapes, suited to the production our grand vins in Pauillac and Pomerol.

In Sauternes, after a small harvest of excellent Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc for «R de Rieussec», the botrytis cinerea developed unevenly; however, one could summarize the vintage by saying that the grapes from the first round of picking were concentrated by passerillage (drying on the vine), while those from the second round (at the end of October) presented superb noble rot. The subtle blend of these two components gave us the desired complexity and freshness.

Yields were not very generous, but it’s what’s in the glass that counts!»


Harvest and blendings

Photos raisins

Château Lafite Rothschild
Harvests: Merlot from 22 September until 27 September; Cabernet Sauvignon from 29 September until 8 October; Cabernet Franc, 2 October; Petit Verdot, 10 October

Château Lafite Rothschild: Cabernet Sauvignon 87%, Merlot 10%, Cabernet Franc 3%
Carruades de Lafite: Cabernet Sauvignon 58%, Merlot 42%

Château Duhart-Milon
Harvests: Merlot from 23 until 29 September; Cabernet Sauvignon from 29 September until 10 October
Château Duhart-Milon: Cabernet Sauvignon 55%, Merlot 45%
Moulin de Duhart: Cabernet Sauvignon 36%, Merlot 64%

Château L’Evangile
Harvests: Merlot: 22, 29, 30 September and from 1 until 4 October; Cabernet Franc: 3 & 7 October

Château L’Evangile: Merlot 82%, Cabernet Franc 18%
Blason de L’Evangile: Merlot 100%

Château Rieussec
Harvests: 15 September until 29 October making 7 sortings – 2 until 13 September for “R” de Rieussec
Château Rieussec: Sémillon 93%, Sauvignon 5%, Muscadelle 2%
Carmes de Rieussec: Sémillon 92%, Muscadelle 4%, Sauvignon 4%
“R” de Rieussec: Sauvignon 46%, Sémillon 54%