Harvest 2021

C as in…


The 2021 harvest is over at Domaine de Chevalier, after two incredible weeks of October under the sign of an anticyclone, a vector of great dry and fresh weather accompanied by dry north-east winds.
The Cabernet Sauvignons, 65% of the vineyard and lords of this great terroir, love to ripen in October, and this exceptional weather has transcended their qualitative potential… The harvested quantities of this grape variety  are really beautiful, so it will take a great proportion in the 2021 blend.

Cos D’Estournel

Under these uncommon meteorological conditions, the vines planted on gravel and clay soils evolved in synchrony to deliver equally ripe Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The vines were perfectly healthy, thanks to the efforts of the estate’s winegrowers, who adapted their methods in the vineyard to the very end. As usual, the Merlot planted on the estate’s gravelly plateau was harvested first, for it tends to develop early, followed by the Merlot planted on clay soils, and the Cabernet Sauvignon. Relatively dry weather made it possible to wait for optimal levels of maturity before collecting the grapes on each plot.
The 2021 vintage’s Merlot is remarkably enticing, fruity, and rich, with a very noble expression, and its Cabernet Sauvignon, despite low levels of sugar that resulted in a lower alcohol content, reveal a magnificent intensity and a freshness characteristic of the most elegant, sophisticated wines.

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The 2021 vintage is a vintage full of challenges for this property, but Brigitte Ruillier and her teams have met them!  The wine expresses a beautiful freshness, with a fine acidic structure, thanks to the low PH: the signature of the property. The wine is particularly mineral, deep and dense this year. This 2021 vintage is once again described as elegant.

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The last Merlots were picked on October 8th. Thomas Soubes, Sales Manager of the property, reports that the quality of the juice is as good as the volumes! He also believes that despite the very hot temperatures at the end of the summer, the alcohol level of the 2021 vintage should not increase.

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Whites : This year, the Sauvignon Gris grapes were the first to be harvested on the Haut-Brion plots, while the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes ripened a few days longer under a radiant sun. The bunches are magnificent, the acidity is high, as it should be, the aromas of the berries are rich and the heat of the last days before the harvest allowed the grapes to reach a perfect maturity. This harvest of white grapes is full of promise!

Reds: The 2021 harvest seems to be marked by a completely different alcohol-acidity balance than in previous years. The moderate alcoholic degrees will certainly give birth to wines with an identity closer to the old vintages.

First impressions of Pascal Baratié, vineyard manager of Château Haut-Brion, on the 2021 harvest: “We are heading towards a ripe vintage with an acidity that allows a very good balance of the wine. To date, we are happy and serene.”

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The Merlots were picked at the beginning of October (until the 12th), especially those destined for the Château Tour de Mons blend. The Cabernets were harvested slightly later, until October 15th. Some plots that unfortunately froze at the beginning of the year had very low yields (5 hectoliters per hectare). The yields of the other plots are normal. The berries are juicy and beautiful, thanks to the rains of mid-September.


Matthieu Bordes, General Manager of the property, is confident about the quality and volumes of the 2021 vintage. According to him, the whole Saint-Julien appellation should do well, as there was not too much frost at the beginning of the year, and the terroir is on the whole privileged as it is protected from strong variations in temperature, even the warmest ones.


The harvest of this 2021 vintage began on September 27, under the pressure of botrytis, due to the heavy rains of the previous week. The Merlots, picked in 5 days, are fresh, structured, with discreet aromas, waiting to reveal themselves after the malolactic fermentation. The Cabernets were harvested the following week over 6/7 days in milder weather. The Petits Verdots ended this harvest under a late return of the sun.

The first days of vinification required time to reflect on the appreciation of the extractions. Thanks to good phenolic ripeness, which was out of sync with the berry tastings, the polyphenol potential allowed us to work delicately on each of our vats. The Cabernets still being vinified are more expressive and the wines already show a good balance. The 1955 Cabernet Francs, an unchanging value in the Grand Vin blend, are again this year elegant, refined and tasty.


This property located in the Entre-deux-mers region, near Rauzan, had a rather complex year, but the harvest (BIO) is a nice surprise (40 hecto/ha)! The main difficulty encountered during the harvest was sorting the grapes and berries, of very heterogeneous maturity, which was effectively overcome thanks to a machine sorting the berries by densimetry, which allowed a very efficient selection.

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Malescot Saint-Exupéry:

Jean-Luc Zuger, owner and manager of this family-owned Grand Cru, is satisfied with this harvest. The harvest was stopped for several days between the Merlots and the Cabernets Sauvignons. Indeed, the latter were not very ripe, so they were able to take advantage of the very nice days we had in mid-October to reach a good maturity. He thinks he has harvested between 45 and 49 hectoliters per hectare. He already positions 2021 as an average vintage, whose quality will be better than 2014 & 2017 but below the exceptional vintages that were 2016 & 2019.


Anne Le Naour and her team harvested the 2021 vintage from September 23 to October 8. The terroir of Meyney, particularly preserved by the presence of the river, was spared by the spring frost. But it is a vintage that required a lot of vigilance: “The pressure was strong throughout the year and the weather conditions left us little peace. In this kind of difficult year, work and experience make all the difference, in the care given to the vineyard and then in the sorting done during the harvest. We can really talk about a vintage of winemakers, but also a vintage of sorting“, as Anne Le Naour explains.
The year 2021 also marks a turning point for Château Meyney, which is beginning its conversion to Organic Agriculture, although trials have been carried out since 2014.

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Romain Courtier, Technical Director of the property, talked to us about the 2021 vintage in his vines. The harvest took place from September 23 to October 9. It is a vintage that was clearly complicated and required a lot of green work throughout the year to maintain an optimal sanitary state. The ripeness was reached at Nénin, no greenness, even on the usually more complicated Cabernets. In Pomerol, the different properties did not all experience the same vintage: microclimates were really noticed, with blatant differences in rainfall on parcels a few hundred meters apart. The wines are expected to be fresh, elegant and tense. Jean-Hubert Delon underlines its balance, particularly interesting, which should make it a vintage to keep.