2011 Giscours Harvest, Interview with Alexander van Beek


Chateau Giscours Harvest


2011 Bordeaux harvest at Chateau Giscours produces a classic Bordeaux wine vintage.

Chateau Giscours has continued to maintain slow and steady progress. 2009 Giscours is a strong wine. Until that 2010, that was my favorite vintage from the venerable  Margaux chateau. But that changed with their sublime 2010 Giscours!  Tasted three times this year, that’s the best wine I’ve ever tasted from the estate.  That special wine is the product of the growing season and the team, which is headed by the young, charismatic Alexander van Beek.

Alexander is responsible for managing two estates, in Margaux, Chateau du Tertre and Chateau Giscours.  Van Beek spoke with us about the 2011 Bordeaux harvest at Chateau Giscours.


JL: What are your early thoughts on the 2011 Giscours vintage?

Van Beek: “In a certain way, the weather forecast of the summer 2011 was completely different from 2010”.

JL: In what way?

Van Beek: “Spring was very dry with hot temperatures, July and August were cooler and wetter. The flowering stage went well in the Spring. Thanks to these dry conditions in Spring, we had a low pressure on the cryptogamic disease and a few days before the harvest, the sanitary state of the grapes is perfect”.

JL: How would you characterize the growing season for 2011 Giscours?

Van Beek: “The most distinctive sign of this 2011 Giscours vintage was characterized by its earliness. The grapes developed perfectly and they forecast a qualitative yield from the start. Thanks to hot and sunny days (forecast from 9th September onwards) and if the range of temperature holds steady, we can still harvest excellent cabernets and petit verdots at Chateau Ch du Tertre, whose tannins structures and taste are very promising.”

JL: 2010 is known in part for the combination of high alcohol and low pH. What do you think 2011 will be known

Van Beek: “Well, 2011 is known for its good sugar and acidity balance. The alcohol rate will be less high than these previous exceptional vintages and the acidity very good. The pH would be also excellent. The 2011 style would be tougher than its peers. It will probably be very classic, with nice freshness and a less exuberant taste.”

JL: What date did you start harvesting your 2011 Giscours?

Van Beek: “We started picking the youngest Merlots Sept 8th.


JL: What effect does an early harvest have on the style of your wines and the level of phenolic ripeness in the grapes?

Van Beek: “The climate effect on the vintage is not necessarily linked to the earliness but essentially to the weather conditions which persisted from June to September. In fact, we could compare 2011 with 2003 in some ways”.

JL: How are they similar?

Van Beek: “Both vintages were very early. However, they are also different. The summer 2003 was marked by a scorcher heat and the tannins and sugar levels were very high. The summer 2011 was cooler with more rain in July and August with less important sugar levels”.

JL: What specific choices will you need to make during the vinification for 2011?

Van Beek: “The most delicate thing this year will be to extract enough tannin and color to obtain all the finesse and the elegance we are always looking for. Thus, we are going to begin the extraction carefully and we will adapt the  nature of pumping over accordingly.”

Post your comments or questions now