2007 Bordeaux wines, Chateau Palmer, Margaux, Harvest chronicles, 2007 vintage


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2007 Bordeaux wines, Chateau Palmer, Harvest Chronicle


> Although it is premature to assess the quality of the vintage at this early stage, producer's harvest reports let us better understand how the wineries foresee the 2007 vintage.

> Chateau Palmer


The 2007 harvest at Chateau Palmer, Margaux

2007 Bordeaux wines, Palmer2007 September 20th, the first day of harvest!
We finally began the 2007 harvest. The quality of the grapes to be picked has already caused a lot of discussions and has been the subject of many press articles. In the last three weeks, we've been fortunate with a cool weather in the morning and warmer temperatures in the afternoon. These exceptional conditions for September will allow us to pick grapes that have reached full maturity, without disease.

Today, our vineyard chef, Jacques Dupin, distributed the harvest materiel: a pull-carrier and shears (specifically for harvesting) to the 45 cutters and a basket carrier with suspenders for the 15 brave carriers.

Our team of young Danes arrived early this morning and they enjoy the fine weather. Thomas Duroux met them and told them how much he enjoys the tradition of hosting them at Chateau Palmer, a tradition that has gone on for over 10 years.

2007 September 24th

After harvesting the earliest plots of Merlot on Thursday and on Friday, we're taking break while waiting for the next plots to reach full maturity.

2007 September 25th

Maturity: Determining a harvest date for each plot depends on the perception of its level of maturity.

For a number of years, winemakers essentially looked for technological maturity, yet today phenolic maturity (for red grapes) and aromatic maturity are also taken into account.

For a more precise definition of these three levels:

1. Technological maturity measures the balance between the sugar concentration in a grape (sugar that, through its transformation by yeasts, becomes the alcohol in wine) and its acidity. The results are stated in sugar's potential for alcohol (17g/l of sugar will give 1% alcohol) and in total acidity and/or in pH for acidity.

2. Phenolic maturity measures the level of concentration and extractability of the phenolic compounds (tannins and Anthocyanin in particular) found in the grape. This is done by tasting the grape but also through a series of tests (Glories Index)

3. Aromatic maturity measures the level of aromatic qualities in the grape. Tasting the grapes is the only tool available to us at this time.

You can begin to talk about a perfect vintage only when you find these three types of maturity simultaneously.

At Chateau Palmer, we prefer tasting the grapes to determine their level of maturity. During harvest we spend every morning tasting berries in the vineyard.

2007 September 28th

Harvesting "à la carte" Our picking team is still incomplete because we're only using our group of Danish students in the vineyards.

Organizing our harvest this way allows us to take our time and to pick each plot at the right moment. The situation is as favourable as ever: no botrytis, thick skins that little by little become more fragile, which will help the extraction of Anthocyanin and tannins.

We expect to finalize the picking of our Merlots by early next week.

As for the Cabernet Sauvignon, this morning's meeting to taste the grapes should give us some indications as to when we'll start picking them.

2007 October 2th

The Merlot harvest is coming to a close with the oldest plots on the Palmer plateau. These grapes, which we have tasted numerous times over the last few days, are now at their best: they are rich, concentrated, structured and are very soft and velvety. These are grapes that represent the personality of Palmer's great wines!

Harvesting the Merlot took us almost 13 days! It was never been seen before. It most certainly has a connection with the duration of flowering last spring.

And the Cabernet? After tasting the grapes on Friday morning, we were encouraged. The skins from early ripening grapes are already very tender and let us hope to make rich wines. We expect to begin harvesting by Thursday. At that moment we'll see if we need to speed the pace of picking or if we'll need to continue to be patient and to pay close attention to details.

2007 October 5th

We started to pick the Cabernet. We now finalized the Merlot grapes on Tuesday evening and, after a daylong break, we finally decided to pick the earliest Cabernet-Sauvignons yesterday.

Wednesday morning, after the daily grape tasting, we clearly saw a dramatic increase in their maturity level: the grapes are tasty, the skins are refined, and the tannins are soft and beautifully dense.

Convinced of their potential, we picked up our shears to bring these delicious bunches to the winery!!

The good weather conditions predicted for the weekend and the beginning of next week will give the grapes that are still in the vineyard time to perfect their smooth tannins, giving our 2007 vintage all the elegance and mineral aromas of a great Palmer.

2007 October 12th

End of Harvest! The 2007 vintage is in the vats.


Chateau Palmer



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