How would you characterize the climate of 2023 in Bordeaux up to this point?
Gerda Beziade: 2023 has been a multifaceted year for Bordeaux. The mild winter transitioned into a chilly April, but the spring brought generous rains. These weather conditions have favored an exceptional flowering, signaling the expected good yields. The summer, on the other hand, was a mix of intense heat, with peaks reaching 40°C, and cooler periods, especially towards the end of August. An important detail to note is the lack of sunshine during this summer period. This factor could influence grape ripening and quality, but the winemakers remain optimistic.
What is the health status of the vineyards this year?
Gerda Beziade: Visits to the châteaux have revealed remarkable health conditions of the grapes. Despite an agricultural season filled with challenges, including diseases, the estates have devoted considerable resources to protect their vineyards. Château Montrose is an eloquent example: the harvest started as early as September 5th, and the state of the vines was simply stunning. This attests to the expertise and passion of the on-site teams.
What are the expected yields for this year?
Gerda Beziade: Generally, there is optimism in the air. Estates such as Brane Cantenac, Montrose, and Leoville Barton anticipate yields between 45 and 50 hl/ha. After more challenging years, such as 2022 when the average yield in Saint-Estèphe was 31 hl/ha, these figures are welcomed with enthusiasm.
Do you have any noteworthy quotes from directors you’ve met?
Gerda Beziade: Pierre Graffeuille (General Manager of Château Montrose) shared his optimism, emphasizing that despite the challenges, they were less affected by mildew. He foresees very fine wines for this year.
What is your overall feeling about the 2023 harvest?
Gerda Beziade: The overall atmosphere is electric. Enthusiasm is tangible, and the determination of the teams is evident. Estates like Brane Cantenac exude positive energy, with passionate teams hard at work. Other estates like Château Giscours, had a positive atmosphere as well.
In conclusion, the 2023 harvest in Bordeaux promises to be memorable. Despite the climatic challenges and diseases, the passion and expertise of the winemakers are the guarantee of an exceptional vintage.
Harvest experience at Château Canon:
Hands in the merlots 🍇
Marie Reboul (commercial team Roland Coiffe & Associés): Have you ever dreamed of participating in harvesting? And what if it was at a premier Grand Cru Classé vineyard? I had the privilege of participating in the harvest of the Bourg parcel in Saint-Émilion, alongside fellow Bordeaux negociants. It was hard work, but an enriching experience!
On September 26th, I participated in the harvest in the Bourg vineyard, a 15-are area located in the heart of the village of Saint-Émilion. This parcel is adjacent to the Cordeliers Convent and surrounded by houses. It is subject to ancient viticultural practices, being plowed by a horse and harvested by hand.
This parcel holds particular importance in the blend of Château Canon, which has a total area of 24 hectares. The same team of harvesters works for all three estates in the group: Château Canon, Château Berliquet et Château Rauzan Ségla. This year, the harvest went particularly smoothly. The team had the opportunity to take their time harvesting each chateau separately, a practice that wasn’t adopted during the 2022 vintage.
This enclosed space has 20 rows of vines, and a flowered terrace now serves as a setting for dinners with the estate’s clients. It’s a very pleasant place in an incredible setting. Access is through a small street in the center of Saint-Émilion!
Charlotte Ruel, development manager for the three estates, mentioned that the harvest began on September 6, 2023, at Château Canon, and the following day, on September 7, it started at Rauzan Ségla.
According to Jean-Basile Roland, the sales director, the harvest is expected to be finished by the end of September/start of October. In the previous year, it had started on August 30 and finished more quickly due to less favorable weather conditions.
It represents one of the last parcels to be harvested. It consists exclusively of Merlot grapes, grown on a limestone terroir. The harvested grape clusters turned out to be magnificent, well-filled, and with beautiful grapes. Some clusters, those that had been exposed to the sun a little too long, had minor damage. However, the majority of the clusters had an incredible density with generous berries. This situation made the work relatively pleasant and “easy” because, in the end, there was very little sorting to be done!
It was an enjoyable and fascinating experience, and the opportunity to handle the product we are going to sell in the future is exciting and crucial.
We now can not wait to see the final product in the bottle and drink it! 🍷
Gerda BEZIADE has an incredible passion for wine, and possesses a perfect knowledge of Bordeaux acquired within prestigious wine merchants for 25 years. Gerda joins Roland Coiffe & Associés in order to bring you, through “Inside La PLACE” more information about the estate we sell.