The grapes were harvested from September 8th to 18th. While we hurried to bring in part of the berries that were already quite concentrated, we also had to wait a little longer for the rest to reach perfect levels of ripeness. Thanks to the gorgeous weather though, we were comfortably able to do both. 2009 is undoubtedly a very great Pavillon Blanc vintage, but it came at the cost of drastic selection. Only 32% of the crop was chosen for the final blend! The youngest vines together with those plots with lighter soils suffered from the prolonged drought, which only benefited the greater terroirs. The recent run of great vintages has perhaps also made us more demanding and severe.
This uncompromising selection has resulted in a Pavillon Blanc that is both more concentrated than 2008 and fresher than 2007. It is the demonstration of how Sauvignon Blanc can achieve, in privileged terroirs, a perfect balance between power and finesse, richness and delicacy.
After a cold, dry winter, the weather turned rainy and cool in April, causing a rather late bud-break and a somewhat slow growth of the vine shoots. As from May 1st however, temperatures rose quite sharply and settled above the seasonal norms, without ever reaching excessive highs. This allowed a quick and successful flowering that promised a very even ripening of the berries.
By then a drought had begun to set in, though in these early days we had no idea of how severe and long it would actually be. Very few vintages (apart from the 2005) have been so dry. It hardly rained from July 10th until the end of the harvest on October 14th!
Such dry weather is particularly beneficial to the great terroirs which can regulate the water supply to the vines, and also to Cabernet Sauvignon because it is less affected by drought than Merlot. Still, some of the vines planted in lighter and less clayey soils struggled to get their grapes perfectly ripe.
While these very dry months had some very hot days, the nights remained rather cool. This contrast helped the tannins and anthocyanins to concentrate in the skins of the red. All the pieces were gradually falling into place to make 2009 a really outstanding vintage. (The picking began September 24th).