Chateau Margaux, 2006 Harvest chronicles, 2006 vintage, Bordeaux wines, Margaux


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Harvest chronicles at Margaux


> It is totally premature to assess the quality of the vintage at this early stage. Nevertheless we find interesting to read the producer's reports on recent harvests and how they evaluate the potential of their 2006 Bordeaux wines.

> Chateau Margaux - Paul Pontallier   


Chateau Margaux

Harvest Chronicles at Château Margaux - Margaux


Château Margaux, Tuesday, September 12th 2006
At Château Margaux, we begin the harvesting of the white grapes tomorrow in a euphoric atmosphere quite similar to that of 2005 or 2004 at the same period. Of course, nothing is ever exactly the same, and in our work, almost everything remains subjective. But we have good reason to believe today in the possibility of another great vintage in the making.

After a very dry spring, as in 2005, the summer up till now has been rather dry (it rained less in July and August than during the same period in 2003) and overall quite hot, except for the first two weeks of August. At  Château Margaux, since September 1st, drought conditions and very high temperatures have once again set in, it would seem, to finish off the ripening of the white grapes. All we have to do now at Château Margaux pick them in the right time. 

Château Margaux, Friday, September 15th 2006
We have (already) picked half of the white grapes. The weather has changed, as is often the case after the great equinox tides, but so far we have been spared any heavy rain.

The white grape yield at Château Margaux has turned out even lower than we expected. Actually, when there are few grapes we, at Château Margaux ,always think there are too many. On the other hand though, their concentration is amazing (between 14,5 and 15,2° potential alcohol), so much so that the light rain we have had has been quite welcome. 

We will be stopping the picking this weekend as there is no hurry, and we will resume on Monday. There should be around two days of work at Château Margaux to finish picking the whites grapes. 

Château Margaux, Tuesday, September 19th 2006
We finished picking the white grapes this morning: a very small crop, but the quality looks outstanding, probably on a par with the two previous fantastic vintages at Margaux.

Last weekend was rainy at Margaux: we had 29mm (1,4 inches) of rainfall in Margaux. This moderate amount of rain does not really affect the quality of the grapes, though the earliest ripening Merlot grapes, which appear to have reached optimum rppeness levelsmay have been made a little more fragile. We are therefore going to pick these few plots at Chateau Margaux by the end of the week, using our usual harvesting crew. There is no rush to pick the remaining grapes. The 2006 growing season has followed in the footsteps of the 2005: the flowering, grape colour-change and harvest have all taken place at exactly the same dates. Will the quality of the vintage also be the same this year at Chateau Margaux?

Château Margaux, Tuesday, September 26th 2006
After heavy rain during the night of Thursday to Friday, (30mm or 1,2 inches), fine weather gradually settled in again, and it even became very sunny yesterday. As planned, we picked some of the Merlot plots of Château Margaux at the end of last week; we then stopped on Saturday and Sunday before starting again on Monday 25, still using the skilled harvesting team of Chateau Margaux. The healthy state of our grapes means that there is no need to pick any faster. Everything then, is going along very nicely with expectations getting higher and higher. 

Our complete harvesting team is due to arrive tomorrow at Chateau Margaux. We still have half of the Merlot to pick, and above all, the Cabernets, on which, as usual, the overall success of the vintage will depend. 

Château Margaux, Friday, September 29zh 2006
Since yesterday, we have been picking with great enthusiasm Château Margaux' largest plots of Cabernet Sauvignon. In lovely sunshine, our whole harvesting team was at last together to pick perfectly healthy, ripe grapes.

As the weather is apparently going to be less favourable next week, we have decided, at  Château Margaux , to carry on picking tomorrow Saturday and also Sunday, because, in the worst case scenario, it would be pointless to pick the finest Cabernets of Chateau Margaux after a heavy downpour. But tonight let's savour the delight; for we now know that 2006 should be at least a good, or even a very good vintage

Château Margaux, Thursday, October 5th 2006
Well, there wasn't any heavy rain after all - just high winds on Tuesday morning, which had no adverse effects on the vines. Only 11mm 8less than half an inch) actually fell, which is nothing for our grapes to worry about, neither for our pickers, most of whom have seen far worse in past vintages.

By Monday evening Chateau Margaux teams had finished picking the most fragile of the Cabernets as these were the earliest ripening. We just had the most solid and latest-ripening ones left to pick, those in the clay-limestone soils surrounding the chateau.

Tomorrow, the harvest will be over - already.. 

Paul Pontallier - Director of Chateau Margaux


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