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Bordeaux harvest: day five

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Bordeaux harvest is well underway, and heat kicked in over the weekend, causing fermentation to complete rapidly. Much Cabernet Franc is also picked.

Alexandra Martet - Chateau Lavison

A hot day, with the forecast wrong again, at least for Entre-Deux-Mers. Really hot in the cellar and the 1700 hl in the tanks are going through an explosive fermentation.

We are losing 30 points of gravity a day. It's rare here because normally my fermentations last about 9 days, compared to an average of 6 days traditionally in the region.

But I'll be beating records this year. The extraction is rapid and intense, both the pumps and auto-pigeur are working flat out.

I'm not sure what has caused all this, maybe just the cold year because the alcoholic fermentation started almost immediately after yeasting. A shame I don't speak yeast language - they could explain why they are in such a hurry.

My whites are fine. I am not doing any batonnage because the wine is already quite fat. The wine fermenting in barriques looks best. I find it strange. Normally I do the lees stirring for at least 3 months, but not this year.

Florence Forgas - Chateau Ducla

Today (Saturday), there is fog at Ducla, just like the famous London fog I reckon. It's peaceful, just the sound of the pumps gently humming, no destemmer or other machine. And noone talking..well, I am alone in the chai.

So yesterday we finished picking the Cabernet Franc which is now in two tanks. I am keeping the cold at 12 C, and they are highly aromatic.

Today I am in to pump over the reds. In total I have 8 tanks to pump over today, and the actual time for each will depend on how advanced the fermentation is.

I will just give the two tanks of Cab Franc from yesterday a light pumping over to ensure it is all properly mixed up.

I am making the most of the opportunity to taste the white tanks and appreciate the fat and roundness they are taking on thanks to the lees contact.

Tomorrow a day off while someone else comes in to do the pumping over.