http://www.wikio.de


Okt 31

Smith Haut Lafitte: 2012 VINTAGE

Tag: Weingütersigi.hiss @ 09:27

by Fabien Teitgen, Technical Director in Martillac, October the 19th 2012: two days after the end of 2012 harvestThis vintage started with a relatively mild and humid winter, except for the first half of February where we had the chance to witness the vineyard under the snow and the water tubes in the Chai frozen … February and March were very dry, which favoured a fast warming of the gravel soils, quickly wiped up as temperatures of March went high (among the warmest of March months over the last 12 years): very obviously budburst occurred end-March, beginning- April. Unfortunately the cool and wet weather conditions of April (the coolest with highest rainfalls of the last 12 years at Smith Haut Lafitte) stopped the growing process of the vine. Our vineyard was under high pressure during this period with shoots stopped at different stages of growth (sometime on the same stock, on the same  “aste”) and some the young leaves even turned yellow (the vine was a little sad to look at!).

The rise of temperatures at the end of April started back the engine; the vine happy to find back mild temperatures started to grow again, although late by 15 days and with important differences in development between shoots.

In May, the weather became much more well-inclined to the vine, warmer (sum of temperatures from March to September were close to 2009 and 2005) and dry (177 mm compared with 143 for 2005 and 171 for 2011). Flowering went on from end-March to mid-June with a relative heterogeneity. We noticed some points of shatter on the Merlot plots, although flowering and nouaison went on in good conditions. The heterogeneity in the beginning of the vegetative cycle was still noticeable at flowering.

The high rainfalls of April led to an important foliar development of the vine and growth of the grass between rows. The Château team worked very hard to keep the vineyard clean and tidy, knowing that surrounding humidity was favourable for fungus. We doubled our vigilance and split the spraying of copper, sulphur and herbal infusions to help the vine fight against the mildew and in lesser proportions the oïdium. Parts of our organic plots endured some mildew damages (grape destruction) even if general results were very satisfying. All the researches we carry out toward plant balance, soil dynamics, plant architecture, etc. were essential to succeed in delicate years such as 2012. We emphasize on the technic of growing natural grass between 100 % of vines rows we look after through consecutive grass-cutting with “roto-fils” system which consists in letting grow autochthonous grass, adapted to the soil and the micro-climate of the plots. Therefore the biotope is perfectly balanced and is able to give shelter to a small world of living diversified creatures propitious for the balance of the vine.

The veraison started at beginning of August to end around the 20th, the heat wave of the 15th did not favour the end of the veraison. We took actions to remove the grape clusters that couldn’t end the veraison properly so that differences between clusters would be minimum. The wonderful weather conditions that followed allowed a good maturation of the deeply rooted vines that did not suffer from hydric stress. The role played by the hydric regulation of great terroirs is once more essential; and our Gunzian gravels soil with clayey sub soil suits perfectly that purpose. The gap in maturity between clusters decreased day after day; every sunny day led to better homogeneity in grapes maturity.

As for young vines, with a root system not as developed as elder vines, hydric stress symptoms appeared at the end of August.

The latest white harvest in over 20 years…

From September the 4th to the 27th

The harvest of white vines started on September the 4th. We picked few grapes within the thirsty and stressed out plots of young vines. However we harvested the Smith Haut Lafitte plots of Sauvignon Blanc from September the 13th to the 21st, upon consecutive waves only during fresh mornings. The first half of September, grape ripening was very slow. On the 13th, temperatures dropped and rain came back a little, so the maturation process restarted: it was a crucial inflection point for white harvest. From that day on, we witnessed plots evolving very fast, from an obvious under-ripe stage to a beautiful maturity, with grapes becoming really aromatic and crisp within 24 to 48 hours. We had to be tremendously reactive to harvest in proper timing.

Sauvignon Gris harvest was carried out on September the 21st and Semillon harvest much later because this grape variety needed more time to refine its maturity, from the 24th to the 27th.

From an analytical point of view, this vintage for whites presents good balances. The fear for acidity to drop end-August, beginning-September because of high temperatures faded away totally. Acidity levels were between 3.5 and 5.5 g/l of H2SO4 and pH between 3.05 and 3.35, which put this vintage within a good average.

Over 200 grape pickers to harvest and sort the reds…

From September the 25th to October the 17th

We started the harvest of Merlot on September the 25th (before finishing the whites) with young plots on gravel soil: berries were very small due to drought and had reached a good level of ripeness. We then waited until October the 4th to start harvesting the Merlots of Smith Haut Lafitte. Grapes picked displayed good maturity and had kept aromatic freshness too. Juices were well balanced with potential alcoholic degree between 13 and 14 % and pH between 3.6 and 3.7. The harvest went on calmly until October the 8th. On the last week-end (6th and 7th) weather conditions changed dramatically. While no weather forecast predicted it, we saw coming to our region a warm (23°C or 73.4°F during the day, 18°C or 64.4°F at night) and humid (relative humidity average above 90 %) depression which disrupted the peaceful path of the harvest. Indeed, these weather conditions suitable for fungus development led, here and there, to the appearance of botrytis seat in the vineyard. Concern grew in our mind: the Merlots already ripe were at risk and for the Cabernets, yet more resistant, danger threatened.

Sure of the good maturity of our grape berries, we decided to react fast and called 200 harvesters; the picking path doubled, allowing us to qualitatively harvest berries without damaging them. Our very selective harvest reception at the Chai (destemming through vibration, both optical and manual sorting) ensured a perfect quality of berries in the vats; no botrytised berry could pass through these very strict steps.

Mother Nature quite spared us, as we registered only 20 mm of rainfall from October the 1st to the 16th, which is very low. The gravel soils absorbed the rainfall, allowing the berries to be quickly wiped up and therefore limiting the effects of botrytis. The vine, well balanced, absorbed very little water, minimizing the risks.

We then picked the Cabernet Sauvignon to finish on October the 17th with the Cabernet Franc (12.3 to 12.8 % vol. for a pH of 3.6 to 3.65). This quite late harvest, finally short in time, let the vine enough time to prefect its maturity and balanced most of the heterogeneity of the beginning of the cycle. We harvested grape berries of great quality, which we think announce a very “Bordelais” vintage in its freshness and balance.

Watch the full video of 2012 Harvest on www.smith-haut-lafitte.comThis vintage started with a relatively mild and humid winter, except for the first half of February where we had the chance to witness the vineyard under the snow and the water tubes in the Chai frozen … February and March were very dry, which favoured a fast warming of the gravel soils, quickly wiped up as temperatures of March went high (among the warmest of March months over the last 12 years): very obviously budburst occurred end-March, beginning- April. Unfortunately the cool and wet weather conditions of April (the coolest with highest rainfalls of the last 12 years at Smith Haut Lafitte) stopped the growing process of the vine. Our vineyard was under high pressure during this period with shoots stopped at different stages of growth (sometime on the same stock, on the same  “aste”) and some the young leaves even turned yellow (the vine was a little sad to look at!).

The rise of temperatures at the end of April started back the engine; the vine happy to find back mild temperatures started to grow again, although late by 15 days and with important differences in development between shoots.

In May, the weather became much more well-inclined to the vine, warmer (sum of temperatures from March to September were close to 2009 and 2005) and dry (177 mm compared with 143 for 2005 and 171 for 2011). Flowering went on from end-March to mid-June with a relative heterogeneity. We noticed some points of shatter on the Merlot plots, although flowering and nouaison went on in good conditions. The heterogeneity in the beginning of the vegetative cycle was still noticeable at flowering.

The high rainfalls of April led to an important foliar development of the vine and growth of the grass between rows. The Château team worked very hard to keep the vineyard clean and tidy, knowing that surrounding humidity was favourable for fungus. We doubled our vigilance and split the spraying of copper, sulphur and herbal infusions to help the vine fight against the mildew and in lesser proportions the oïdium. Parts of our organic plots endured some mildew damages (grape destruction) even if general results were very satisfying. All the researches we carry out toward plant balance, soil dynamics, plant architecture, etc. were essential to succeed in delicate years such as 2012. We emphasize on the technic of growing natural grass between 100 % of vines rows we look after through consecutive grass-cutting with “roto-fils” system which consists in letting grow autochthonous grass, adapted to the soil and the micro-climate of the plots. Therefore the biotope is perfectly balanced and is able to give shelter to a small world of living diversified creatures propitious for the balance of the vine.

The veraison started at beginning of August to end around the 20th, the heat wave of the 15th did not favour the end of the veraison. We took actions to remove the grape clusters that couldn’t end the veraison properly so that differences between clusters would be minimum. The wonderful weather conditions that followed allowed a good maturation of the deeply rooted vines that did not suffer from hydric stress. The role played by the hydric regulation of great terroirs is once more essential; and our Gunzian gravels soil with clayey sub soil suits perfectly that purpose. The gap in maturity between clusters decreased day after day; every sunny day led to better homogeneity in grapes maturity.

As for young vines, with a root system not as developed as elder vines, hydric stress symptoms appeared at the end of August.

The latest white harvest in over 20 years…

From September the 4th to the 27th

The harvest of white vines started on September the 4th. We picked few grapes within the thirsty and stressed out plots of young vines. However we harvested the Smith Haut Lafitte plots of Sauvignon Blanc from September the 13th to the 21st, upon consecutive waves only during fresh mornings. The first half of September, grape ripening was very slow. On the 13th, temperatures dropped and rain came back a little, so the maturation process restarted: it was a crucial inflection point for white harvest. From that day on, we witnessed plots evolving very fast, from an obvious under-ripe stage to a beautiful maturity, with grapes becoming really aromatic and crisp within 24 to 48 hours. We had to be tremendously reactive to harvest in proper timing.

Sauvignon Gris harvest was carried out on September the 21st and Semillon harvest much later because this grape variety needed more time to refine its maturity, from the 24th to the 27th.

From an analytical point of view, this vintage for whites presents good balances. The fear for acidity to drop end-August, beginning-September because of high temperatures faded away totally. Acidity levels were between 3.5 and 5.5 g/l of H2SO4 and pH between 3.05 and 3.35, which put this vintage within a good average.

Over 200 grape pickers to harvest and sort the reds…

From September the 25th to October the 17th

We started the harvest of Merlot on September the 25th (before finishing the whites) with young plots on gravel soil: berries were very small due to drought and had reached a good level of ripeness. We then waited until October the 4th to start harvesting the Merlots of Smith Haut Lafitte. Grapes picked displayed good maturity and had kept aromatic freshness too. Juices were well balanced with potential alcoholic degree between 13 and 14 % and pH between 3.6 and 3.7. The harvest went on calmly until October the 8th. On the last week-end (6th and 7th) weather conditions changed dramatically. While no weather forecast predicted it, we saw coming to our region a warm (23°C or 73.4°F during the day, 18°C or 64.4°F at night) and humid (relative humidity average above 90 %) depression which disrupted the peaceful path of the harvest. Indeed, these weather conditions suitable for fungus development led, here and there, to the appearance of botrytis seat in the vineyard. Concern grew in our mind: the Merlots already ripe were at risk and for the Cabernets, yet more resistant, danger threatened.

Sure of the good maturity of our grape berries, we decided to react fast and called 200 harvesters; the picking path doubled, allowing us to qualitatively harvest berries without damaging them. Our very selective harvest reception at the Chai (destemming through vibration, both optical and manual sorting) ensured a perfect quality of berries in the vats; no botrytised berry could pass through these very strict steps.

Mother Nature quite spared us, as we registered only 20 mm of rainfall from October the 1st to the 16th, which is very low. The gravel soils absorbed the rainfall, allowing the berries to be quickly wiped up and therefore limiting the effects of botrytis. The vine, well balanced, absorbed very little water, minimizing the risks.

We then picked the Cabernet Sauvignon to finish on October the 17th with the Cabernet Franc (12.3 to 12.8 % vol. for a pH of 3.6 to 3.65). This quite late harvest, finally short in time, let the vine enough time to prefect its maturity and balanced most of the heterogeneity of the beginning of the cycle. We harvested grape berries of great quality, which we think announce a very “Bordelais” vintage in its freshness and balance.

Watch the full video of 2012 Harvest on www.smith-haut-lafitte.com

Share and Enjoy: Diese Icons verlinken auf Bookmark Dienste bei denen Nutzer neue Inhalte finden und mit anderen teilen können.
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Blogosphere News
  • email
  • MSNReporter
  • Technorati
  • Webnews.de
  • Add to favorites
  • blogmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • PDF

Dein Kommentar