Chateau Fonroque in St. Emilion has been working their Bordeaux wine vineyards using Biodynamic techniques. They started their 2010 Fonroque Biodynamic Harvest, September 27th. This date was much earlier than most of the other properties in St. Emilion. Alain Moueix explains why. “One of the effect of biodynamic is the earlier ripening of the grape skins and an increased propensity to produce grapes with beautiful acidity (a fresh acidity, not a sharp one) and not too much sugar content.”
After you started your Bordeaux wine harvest, did the weather play a part in determining your schedule? “We pick whatever was ripe. This week, we didn’t pick on Monday (rain) and Tuesday. On Wednesday, the planets position was not favorable for the opening of the wine and the fruit expression, so we didn’t pick! Thursday and Friday, we are harvesting my sister estate Château Moulin du Cadet: beautiful grapes in very good condition. Next week, we will finish Fonroque: we have two days of picking for the merlot (on limestone and clay). We also have one day for our very old Cabernet Franc.”
How would you describe 2010? “Generally speaking, we had a very dry growing season. Another characteristic of this summer, is the fact that it was warm, but without very high temperature and with cool nights. Our vineyard didn’t suffer. Our limestone and clay have the ability to keep the moisture. Thanks to Biodynamic, our soils remained healthy without compaction effect. W used some decoction of manure and nettle that help the vines avoid severe hydric stress.”
With the conditions during the growing season, what is the fruit like? “The berry size is small. We should have concentrated wines. Do you have specific vinification techniques you will practice for 2010? “We need to be careful to not go too far during the extraction of phenolic content.”
All the photographs in this article were shot by Marilyn Widcoq Charles.