Jeff Leve How would you describe the 2012 Bordeaux vintage, based on the growing season and harvest?
Jean Jacques Bonnie “In our first 15 vintages since Malartic La Graviere was purchased by my family, I can say 2012 Bordeaux is a unique vintage for us, in the Graves/Pessac Leognan appellation. It was dry until the end of March. Next it was very humid until the end of July. This was followed by a hot and sunny August with 2 or 3 days of rain.”
Jeff Leve How did the biodynamic farmed portion of your vineyards perform this year?
Jean Jacques Bonnie “We have been farming 4 hectares on a biodynamic basis for 2 years. We could have had problems with mildew, but with our drainage and the very precise management of the vineyard, we had great success with that for our 2012 Malartic Lagraviere.”
Jeff Leve What special vineyard techniques do you need to do this year for the white wines?
Jean Jacques Bonnie “For the white Bordeaux wine, we work by “tries succéssives.” This allows us pick each bunch at its best point of maturity possible.”
Jeff Leve Did you take different actions for the red wine of Malartic Lagraviere?
Jean Jacques Bonnie “For the red Bordeaux wine, we go through the plots during half “véraison”. We then check bunches that are still green when their “sisters” are already ahead. These green bunches are removed which homogenizes the crop.”
Jeff Leve When did you start and finish harvesting?
Jean Jacques Bonnie “We started picking the fruit for the white wine September 7 and finished October 3. For the red wines, we started the following day, October 3. We finished the 2012 Bordeaux harvest October 18.”
Jeff Leve Did you finish picking earlier than anticipated?
Jean Jacques Bonnie “In a perfect world, we probably would have waited longer to harvest the last of the Cabernet, but by then, every plot had reached a good level of ripeness.”
Jeff Leve How many pickers did you employ?
Jean Jacques Bonnie “We hire about 70 workers to help with the picking and another 25 people to assist with the sorting of our 2012 Malartic Lagraviere.”
Jeff Leve Have you considered adding optical sorting technology to your vineyard techniques?
Jean Jacques Bonnie “No! We tested optical sorting for 2 vintages. We concluded that before it can work significantly at Malartic Lagraviere, we needed to improve the destemming. In fact, we just bought the new “erafloir” destemmer! We’ve been helping test the machine for 2 years now.”
Jeff Leve What are your alcohol levels in the 2012 Bordeaux vintage?
Jean Jacques Bonnie “It’s a little too early to say, but at 13.5% I’m probably not far from reality.”