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Home > News > Coverages > Initial feedback from Pessac-Léognan harvests: a superb 2018 vintage!
15 Oct 2018

Initial feedback from Pessac-Léognan harvests: a superb 2018 vintage!

We began harvesting the young vines in our Pessac-Léognan vineyards on 24 August. Harvesting started a few days later at Château La Louvière and Château Couhins-Lurton, around the same date as last year on 28 August. A very wet spring and aggressive mildew attack indicated that the 2018 harvests would be somewhat late, but the exceptional weather conditions that began to prevail in our region from the onset of summer enabled the vegetation to make up for lost time and provide us with grapes of remarkable quality.

White grapes of exceptional quality 

vendanges 2018

It took our teams two weeks to harvest the white vines at Châteaux La Louvière and Couhins-Lurton, with grapes at optimum ripeness. The grapes have rarely been of such excellent quality, in the memory of vineyard managers: they are in an ideal state of health with not a single rotting berry on the sorting table - every vine-grower's dream!

vendanges 2018

The particularly mild weather meant that all the grapes could be picked under optimal conditions. Yields are fairly average; there were no large ones as a result of a major drought during the summer period.

Our oenologists' first tastings at the vats indicate an excellent year for white wines. The 2018 vintage is already proving to be particularly interesting, distinguishing itself from previous years with its higher PH levels.

This leads us to expect very rich, powerful and voluminous white wines... (The musts were already very rich, even before being put into barrel…)

Vendanges château la Louvière 2018

Equally promising red harvests: a vintage comparable to 2009 or 2010?

Heavy rainfall in the first six months took its toll on our red vines, which are much more sensitive when blooming. This was the case in certain areas, particularly for Cabernet Sauvignon, where losses due to coulure (shot berries) reached 20 to 25%.

But nature has a way of balancing out. There was indeed a great (excessive) development of bunches in these varieties, and the regulation worked itself out naturally…

Today we find ourselves in a situation where we still have many clusters in a state of perfect health, but with small berries with very little juice and high concentration, because there will be significant contact between the skins and the juice. All of these characteristics provide ideal conditions for making great wine.

vendanges 2018

For the reds (Merlot), the harvest proceeded perfectly as the level of maturity developed. Merlot harvesting began on 12 September at Château La Louvière for young vines and on 18 September for old vines on the estate and at Château Couhins-Lurton. By 25 September, all the Merlots had been harvested.

Yields are living up to expectations for Merlots although they are looking less promising for Cabernet Sauvignon.

In terms of quality, reds are well on their way to a really great vintage, thanks to ideal weather conditions over the past two months. We should have very colourful wines with a lot of substance and very fruity musts with a high sugar and alcohol content.

It is still a little too early to tell, but we seem to be set for a truly great vintage that some have compared to the remarkable 2010 and 2009 vintages, which were also marked by drought and a hot summer. [See below, the meteorological records for 2009 to 2010 in Pessac-Léognan]

   

"If the Merlots are very good… the Cabernets will be exceptional this year", as our vineyard manager points out. At the first grape tastings in Château La Louvière vineyards, the whole team was delighted by the quality of the Cabernet Sauvignons, which were admirably ripe, crunchy and fruity with no vegetal aspect.

Cabernet Sauvignon harvesting should begin in Pessac-Léognan around 9 October.

After a difficult start to the year caused by complicated weather conditions and very aggressive mildew attacks, the 2018 vintage now looks very promising. The exceptional quality of perfectly matured grapes provides us with the ideal raw material for making outstanding wines…

vendanges 2018