2007 Bordeaux wines, Chateau Yquem, Sauternes Barsac, Harvest chronicles, 2007 vintage


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2007 Bordeaux wines, Chateau Yquem, 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 Yquem


The 2007 harvest at Chateau d'Yquem - Sauternes - Barsac

Overview of the weather during the 2007 growing season and a look at the harvest as of 11/23

2007 Bordeaux wines, YquemGrowing season:

After a relatively mild winter, temperatures shot up in April, and were more in keeping with a beautiful month of May. This obviously had an effect on vine growth and the first flowers appeared on May 11th, some two weeks earlier than average.

While minimum temperatures were slightly higher than usual, maximum temperatures began to drop. this tendency increased as the season went on, and the summer of 2007 ended up being fairly cool.

Rainfall was slightly above average in June and July, but quite heavy in May (+ 140%) and August (+88%). Combined with relatively warm evenings, this strong, frequent precipitation accounted for extremely spread out flowering (more than four weeks!), as well as the strongest attack of mildew in over thirty years. This called for a great deal of care and attention in the vineyard in order to limit damage.

The harvest:

After a deluge on the 20th and another on the 24th of August (100mm!) the situation was critical because of extremely uneven ripening. There was considerable danger at this stage and many of the grapes began to split, especially Semillon.

However, it was at just this juncture that the weather took a turn for the better. The temperature went down significantly (especially minimum temperatures) and it was continually cooler than average from the 29th of August to the 13th of September, and then again from the 18th to the 30th of September. There was a dramatic change with regard to precipitation as well, with barely a third of the usual rainfall in September and October.

As a result of these conditions, combined with long periods of East by Northeast winds:
-there was no more fear of split grapes (in fact, the skins of some Semillon grapes even grew back and healed!)
- there were no fruit flies in 2007
- the Sauvignon Blanc grapes, which had flowered in early May and were thus ripe as early as he 10th of August, became fully sweet, botrytized, ans concentrated after the last round of showers.

We were able to start picking on the 10th of September in early maturing parts of the vineyard. The grapes had a marvellous balance between concentration (over 23° potential alcohol) and acidity (thanks to the cool night-time temperatures). We went through the Sauvignon Blanc vines twice because the sugar levels at the beginning were almost too high. We also harvested some Semillon where botrytis had only just started to affect the grapes, mostly in the centre of bunches. This week was a godsend in terms of quality, early ripening, and yields (nearly 2 hectolitres per hectare), and thus entailed more than cosmetic picking.

Showers (10mm) on the 16th and 17th of September, broke the dry spell and augured well for a new burst of botrytis because the nights were very mild. Seeing as the weather forecast called for more showers starting on the 22nd, we took advantage of the 20th and 21st to go through the Sauvignon Blanc vines as well as some early-maturing Semillon, which displayed very high sugar levels and excellent acidity.

The length of time it rained (10 days) and the intensity of the showers made us worry that noble rot might develop in a way that would be detrimental to the grapes. Fortunately, through, the minimum temperatures were quite cool, which inhibited the proliferation of vinegar flies. We started picking again on the first day without rain, the 2nd of October an brought in the equivalent of just 8 barrels of wine because of very rigorous selection. However, this was excellent for the pickers' morale since they had been waiting for 10 long days.. We went out once again on 9th of October to pick grapes at the right stage of botrytization before a new set of showers arrived (11mm on the 9th and 10th of October).

All this rain (a total of 35mm) with "tropical" minimal temperatures in the first ten days of October (5-7° C above average) caused a veritable explosion of noble rot throughout perfectly ripe grapes.

A tremendous anticyclone arrived on the 12th of October. This meant there was no more rain until the 29th, with easterly winds and lots of sun. These conditions were ideal for concentrating the fully botrytized grapes quickly and efficiently.

A fourth, fifth, and sixth wave of picking quickly followed. there was no need to hurry since the weather was quite stable. We brought in grapes at 22° potential alcohol over a two week period lasting from the 12th to the 30th of October. The grapes had the tremendous richness of fruit picked in late October in every part of the vineyard.

Barely slowed down by 3mm of rain at the end of picking, the 2007 harvest finished on the 5th to the 7th of November, with very concentrated grapes. The harvest thus took up twenty seven work days spread over two month.


Fruit destined for Yquem's white wine "Y", was also picked throughout the harvest of sweet wine grapes:

Sauvignon Blanc from the 6th to the 10th of September (14,5° potential alcohol), ripe Semillon from gravel soil on the 14th of September, ripe Semillon from clay soil on the 1st of October, and selected "diehard" golden grapes on the 7th of November. This made it possible to make an excellent and very typical "Y".

2007 will be remembered as the year in which Botrytis Cinerea accomplished a miracle, transforming grapes with seemingly uneven potential after a chaotic spring and very cool summer.

thanks to ideal conditions noble rot turned an initial handicap (heterogeneous flowering) into a clear advantage, accounting for variety and complexity.

Furthermore, the weather in October made up for the cool summer, providing the potential for virtually limitless concentration.

2007 is a worthy representative of great year’s ending in a "7".

2007 began with the precociousness of 1997, and finished on the same dates as 1967, with the same promise of richness.


Chateau d'Yquem



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