A few words from the team at Le Dôme, on the 2019 vintage.
Olivier Darcy, Head of Viniculture:
Can you tell us what was most unusual about the 2019 growing season?
Budburst was relatively early (two weeks earlier than in 2018). Growth was irregular to say the least. There were small steps in May, when it was cold, but then things really sped up in June when the temperatures started to rise. Then, in the extremely warm month of July, flowering was fast and grouped towards the bunch closure. August rainfall helped unlock a lot of the veraison, and the perfect conditions leading up to mid-October enabled us to pick each grape exactly when we needed.
How did you cope with the drought and heat spikes in 2019?
We did a couple of things. One was some light ploughing of the grass between the vines, the idea being to limit water evaporation when the weather was particularly dry. The other involved the leaf canopy – we trimmed slightly less than usual to offer a bit more protection from the sun.
The rainfall was actually helpful. It unlocked the veraison process which – to a limited extent – shut down during the warmest episodes.
Neil Whyte, Head Winemaker:
How did each grape variety respond to the conditions of the season?
Cropping was lower than usual due to several light frosts in the spring. The Merlot recovered well and despite a relatively dry year the water reserves were sufficient, and they did not suffer from lack of water. A temperate autumn allowed good phenolic ripeness while maintaining a nice acidity. Ripening slightly later, the Cabernet Franc had exactly the kind of season it loves: long, warm autumnal days.
Can you tell us about the style of the wine this year?
The vintage has good acidity, which means the wines retain a freshness to the blend. Even though ripe, the Merlot is not too jammy, and the Cabernet Franc shows extremely well this year. We are very positive.
Jonathan Maltus, Founder:
For you, what continues to make top Bordeaux wine so unique and so relevant in today’s fine wine market?
The Bordeaux model (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc) has to be the most copied model worldwide. People are not doing that for no reason. It’s a great privilege to be a part of what I believe to be Formula One of the wine world.
Read the full report: Bordeaux 2019 A Vintage Preview