At Vin-X we believe in quality not quantity (however when quality is found bring it on!), so we were very selective about the visits we planned for this week in the heart of the world’s greatest wine making region at this key time in their calendar.
September has seen “magical weather” as quoted by a key wine maker in Bordeaux and the harvest at First Growth Chateau Haut Brion is well underway with the Merlot nearly complete and the Cabernet now commenced. This is in part due to Haut Brion’s location within Bordeaux’s city boundary where the temperatures are generally 2 degrees warmer than the conditions at the other First Growths further north.
As a consequence Haut-Brion is normally the first of the region’s key chateaux to harvest and the press therefore look for the first indicator on a Bordeaux vintage here. It seemed therefore the logical place to start our tour of the First Growths during the 2014 harvest with a meeting with the uber-charming General Manager, Jean-Philippe Delmas.
We walked through this most beautiful chateau, breathing in 2014 as the grapes were being brought in and sorted feet away from us. Jean-Philippe’s opinion on the vintage was “it is still too early to provide a firm view, however the excellent conditions in September bode very well and the first tests would position the 2014 at Haut Brion to compare between the 2008 and 2012 vintages. Again the whites could be outstanding.” Obviously we are at the earliest possible stage to get the first hints of vintage quality but already the Bordelais are smiling suggesting “good things are to come from 2014”.
We then travelled to the Right Bank and drove through the vineyards of Pomerol to the medieval village of St Emilion where we were warmly welcomed at Chateau Troplong Mondot to dine at their exquisite restaurant, Les Belles Perdrix (tipped for a Michelin accolade in the New Year). Having enjoyed a bottle of the excellent 2004 Troplong we now look forward to visiting Angelus in the morning then back over to the Left Bank to Margaux tomorrow