2018 Vintage Report
The 2018 vintage growing season started under grey skies, with an exceedingly wet January, although unusually warm. The temperatures fell in February back to normal but then March resumed the wet weather…though now retaining the cold temperatures.
The resultant bud-break was later than normal, on around the 10th April. The warmer weather of April did encourage development and progress had almost caught up with the average by early May.
Flowering in June went smoothly although there were still frequent showers until the latter part of June when the skies turned blue and temperatures rose. The concern was the intensity of mildew breaking out around the region…a very tough time for organic growers.
Fortunately from mid July the exceptionally dry summer reduced any further threat from mildew and ensured a good, even ripening. It should be noted that the best vineyards, on well draining soils, were at this point showing excellent potential. Those vineyards on soils still damp would never reach this same level of quality.
The prolonged ripening period, with high temperatures and dry weather, allowed an overall excellent quality level. The cool nights, missing in heatwave years, allowed finer, more aromatic expressions. Equally there was no panic to pick and vignerons were able to await their ideal times.
The red grapes came in excellent health. Merlots were deep and concentrated, but could have levels of alcohol too high. Cabernets were well structured with fine aromas. The challenge of the wine-maker was to pare down any excessive power.
In Sauternes there was very good botrytis development, despite a late start due to the Indian summer that benefited the red grapes. Featuring very aromatic styles, the 2018 Sauternes are rich, concentrated and well balanced- sometimes with slightly low acidity levels though.
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