Vintage 2015

April

The winter turned out to be rather cold, marked by several nocturnal frosts, several grey and damp days from November to February, and long weeks of rains in winter. Needless to say, that water reserves were well reconstituted, but the situation was reversed in March for a dry, but still cold weather, continuously pushing back the blossoming of buds. It happened to be necessary to await until the first days of April to come to finally notice the awakening of the vegetation. Around the 10th, the sun was needed and it showed up, drying up the soils, warming them up quickly, marking a definitely a good start of a wine year. The work went on without delay, and the homogeneity of the output made it possible to realize beautiful leaves trimming. From the very beginning, the vineyard looked good and promising.

May

The weather conditions provided rapid and regular growth, the tractors passage for works and maintenance of the soil were easily-accessible, as well as the possibilities to access to the depths of the vineyard for treatments. Soils were dry and were resourced fairly quickly, so the works went as they should, stress free. Despite favorable weather conditions, black-rot attacked young leaves exceptionally strongly, and more so when it came to plot that had already been contaminated in 2014. Sometimes it would settle on clusters and partially destroys crops. It must be known that these early contaminations require vigilance up to the period of veraison.

The second part of the month, although being a little cooler, brought no rain. In this time of the year, these are the ideal conditions to refine the flowering whose first signs were observed in the last days of May.

June

During the first 10 days of the month, reasonable temperatures as well as the absence of any precipitation gave place to a rapid flowering, grouped, without too much sagging of the branches or berries falling off them. A walk in the vines, at that time, would be filled with aromas of vine flower, the crops reassured us showing a very well balanced in quantity, clusters being rather small and full sized. In most cases, there would be little to touch up in terms of leaves thinning. The sky remained cloudless, accompanied by a gradual rise in temperatures until the end of the month.

July

The first days of the month were truly scorching, the beautiful weather seemed to have settled for eternity, not a drop of water since the middle of June. In plots of previously poorly managed soils in regards of quality and quantity of rooting, and later on sandy soils, followed by fine gravels and all types of superficial soils, the green foliage started to seemingly fade.

In other places, the grape tarnished and even stopping to grow at all or looking somewhat smashed.  On a case-by-case basis, the vine requires to be relieved, by removing a part of fruits. In the most complicated situations, for example on young 3 year old parcels, that were proudly getting ready to offer their first harvest, we took a decision to put an end to it entirely by cutting all the grapes. At the end of the month, the vines seemed already tired of growing, as the conditions were truly extreme. The leaves were thick, ribbed, visibly too old for their age and their woods kept on hardening. We could already start taking notes and starting mapping parcels while waiting for them to mature, as drought has left a deep print on this vintage. From the end of July, it was clear that the vegetation stop would be clean and frank, that the sun would have already burned acidity, equally putting an end to the idea of vegetable aromas in the grapes. This vintage looked solar, any idea of ​​preserving the freshness was extremely welcome, as well as when those in regards of managing the soil work, scratching, reflection on the need to trimming, everything was important.

August

While the fear of being blocked by drought was at its peak, a series of rainy episodes, in the form of storm, watered the Bordelais region unevenly. Needless to say, that the first reaction of the vine was beneficial. Without restriction to its growth, it certainly allowed to unlock it. The veraison, was done in a few days, as grouped as the flower, with a homogeneous maturity and it was already a reassuring tendency. The reaction of the soil was quite variable, and it was probably where the vintage was played. According to characteristics of the soil, the amount of clay in it and the exposure of the plot to sun, the entry of rains into the land caused a phenomenon of dilution. The weight of the berries was important. While searching for maturity, it was just as much important find the concentration in the berries. We were impatiently waiting  for the beautiful September and the finish of great vintage.

September

Observation began in the plots. Successive passages were done in order to delimit, parcellate, isolate some parts from others. Moreover, water passages, and clay veins seemed to have been refined in a mild weather in the first part of the month. But the rainy season in mid-September would bring a slight change to the situation. In fact, we were unable to draw any general conclusion about this the vintage in Bordeaux, as the heterogeneity set up, marked by the various levels of weight of berries, dilution. We started to taste the grapes, and realised that the sanitary situation was almost perfect, it was a vintage of creator, we realized we were fully able to bring the grapes to the point of maturity we desired. Doubtlessly, the luck accompanied the right bank, the Pessac and the South Médoc vine regions. But more of know-how and competence would be required in the north of Médoc. In general, few vintages would have left as wide windows for us to decide when to start the grape harvest, and it was not uncommon to harvest a field over three weeks, taking time to bring the plots at their peak. The fruits were ripe, slightly acidic and easy to taste. The drought of July alone could have burned the acids and the plant while the moderation of the month of August provide the ​​freshness and classicism. No hardness, no exoticism, perfect extractability of the skins, making us so grateful to have these terroirs, to have the luxury of being able to conduct smooth vinifications, to reveal wines identity and its contemporary character.

Stéphane Derenoncourt