The 2013 vintage: a triathlon

The 2013 vintage started with the swimming stage: exceptional rainfall in May and June drowned the vineyard, postponed the budburst, the flowering and the growth cycle of the vine. Most of the older Merlots were hit with coulure and millerandage. The first buds appeared around the 1st of April 2013, about a fortnight later than normal at Haut-Bailly. This late budburst was followed by a cold and rainy spring which delayed flowering one more month, and hindered fruit set.

The cycling stage started in July under a Riviera weather that allowed the vineyard to catch up two weeks on its vegetative cycle! July was hot, with occasional storms. August was sunny and the change of colour occurred between the 20th and the 30th. Favorable weather graced the end of summer, allowing for a smooth ride, freewheel gentle slope into the false flat of September, where we were waiting for the harvest. Significant work was achieved in the vineyard: the teams removed leaves from the rows and cut the green and verjuice grapes. In addition to our technical skills, the professional expertise of our teams insured timely reaction and optimal management in the circumstances.

The last weekend of September with the finish line in sight, Bordeaux was touched by an Atlantic depression, triggering the start of the running race, the last stage of the triathlon. After the first strides botrytis threatened the Merlots and put them in a difficult position… while Cabernets kept their freshness for the very last moment! The toughest ones arrived in good shape for the final sprint at the end. The 2013 harvest took place between October 1st and 10th. The conditions of the vintage – helped by strict selection during picking and several sorting steps – resulted in an exceptionally low yield, around 20 hectoliters per hectare.

Once in the locker room, our athletes were handled with care. They relaxed their muscles in warm baths of 26-28°C. Alcoholic fermentation in concrete mini-vats allowed a meticulous vinification to draw the finest qualities from every plot. Far from ending breathless from this triathlon of 2013, the Old Vines are giving attractive wines, with harmonious balance.