Jeff Leve When did you finish picking?
Fabien Tietgen “It took more than 80 people working in the vines. We finished with the Semillon Monday, September 30.”
Jeff Leve Does the 2013 Smith Haut Lafitte represent the latest harvest start for you at the estate?
Fabien Tietgen “Yes, this is really the latest harvest we have experienced.”
Jeff Leve How late is this? When do you usually start?
Fabien Tietgen “At Smith Haut Lafitte, we usually start picking the grapes for the white wine September 5.”
Jeff Leve What were the conditions like in the vineyard during the harvest?
Fabien Tietgen “The conditions were good for the most part. We enjoyed a very good, sunny, summery week. We also experienced periods of clouds with rain.”
Jeff Leve Knowing 2013 Pessac Leognan experienced a difficult growing season, how much sorting was required this year?
Fabien Tietgen “Of course we needed to sort. We began the harvest with young white grape vines. We conducted a cleaning of the vines to remove any berries with botrytis. We had to pick some vines one grape at a time, similar to what takes place in Sauternes. But the quantities of fruit we discarded were not very important.”
Jeff Leve Did any variety perform better for you with the 2013 Smith Haut Lafitte white wine harvest?
Fabien Tietgen “I think that the Sauvignon Blanc performed better than the Semillon this year.”
Jeff Leve Is that due to the potential for botrytis with Semillon?
Fabien Tietgen “The Semillon grapes are very sensitive with wet weather conditions. The Sauvignon Blanc requires less energy to reach maturation.”
Jeff Leve With the adverse weather conditions this year, does 2013 Bordeaux remind you of any previous vintage?
Fabien Tietgen “It’s very difficult to answer because 2013 Bordeaux is very special with its weather conditions. But the juice for the white wines shows a very good level of acidity with freshness for the aromas. The wines are elegant too. So perhaps something similar to 2007 or 2011. But we need to be careful because it’s still just juice not wine for now. We need to see what we have with the 2013 Smith Haut Lafitte white wine after the fermentation is completed.”
Jeff Leve What do your early technical readings show for the 2013 Smith Haut Lafitte white wine?
Fabien Tietgen “For the alcohol levels, the analysis shows a range between 11.8 % and 13.8 %. The total acidities vary between 4.3 and 5.8 g H2SO4/l. The pH runs from 3.0 to 3.3.”
Jeff Leve When did you start picking the fruit for your 2013 Smith Haut Lafitte red grape harvest?
Fabien Tietgen “We started harvesting with the young vine Merlot at the beginning of October.”