Saint-Emilion, The 20th of November 2008.


“Is August still doing the must? We have the right to ask ourselves…

As often, unfortunately, the press knew a few weeks before the harvest that the vintage 2008 would be bad.

In our distant countryside, we do not know if such comments are related to the 13 moons or to the capitalism virtual crisis that currently pollutes the real economy. Probably both…

More seriously, it is true that 2008 was a complicated and difficult vintage because of a very humid spring and early summer. Mildew pressure was high and the flowering unequal, causing a steep “coulure” on older vines or on the most fragile.

Despite this bad cycle start, July was dry and sunny (22 ml of rain), giving a first run-up. However, the following month was rainy and cold between the 11th and the 22nd of August; before a good weather coming back on the 24th. September was largely dry, especially between the 21st and the 1st, but with temperatures often below the seasonal average.

8th of October: last rainy day, we can finally breathe … What happiness! Analysis showed that berries had lost 20 to 30% of their weight between the 20.09 and the 10.10, and therefore gained 20 to 30% of concentration.

Saint-Emilion had to wait then. Work in the vineyard was intense (stripping, destemming, sorting up during the véraison), but essential to maintain quality.

We started the first harvest on the 10th of October at Château Canon La Gaffelière, to end up on the 24th at La Mondotte and Château Aiguilhe.

This vintage was surely late, but no more than some 80’s vintages such as 1983 or 1986.

The latest tanks have just been finished, and we can enjoy a wonderful quality. The wines are powerful and have an exceptional depth color. The tannins, very mature, offer a beautiful structure to this vintage.

To summarize, in my opinion, the 2008 appears to be a beautiful vintage which will exceed 2007, 2006, 2004, 2002 or even 2003 (successful on the cooler regions such as clay and limestone), although it is still too early to give a definitive opinion (our friends, journalists will do it for us).

Nevertheless: one flaw concerning the quantities produced (sometimes less than 30 hl / ha). But in the actual context, it is still better to produce less but well! We must not leave the crisis pollute this vintage 2008.”

Stephan von Neipperg


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