2013 Chateau Palmer Vintage Harvest Report Thomas Duroux Interview


2013 Palmer vintage

Jeff Leve There were many difficulties with the growing season for 2013 Chateau Palmer. Those conditions led to a late harvest. Is the 2013 Bordeaux harvest, the latest vintage for you?

Thomas Duroux “Not really. Although that was what was supposed to take place. But because of the warm and wet weather we experienced at the end of September, things changed.”

Jeff Leve How was your flowering for the 2013 Palmer?

Thomas Duroux “The flowering was weak, especially with our old Merlot vines.”

Jeff Leve Did you experience coulure with one grape variety, or was it with all the varieties in your vineyard?

Thomas Duroux “Most of the problems were with the old Merlot vines. But we also had some problems with the Cabernet Sauvignon vines as well.”

Jeff Leve 2013 Bordeaux produced one of the lowest yields over the past several decades. Your yields for the 2011 vintage were close to 20 hectoliters per hectare. What were your yields in Margaux for the 2013 Chateau Palmer vintage?

Thomas Duroux “We were at 25 hectoliters per hectare with the 2013 Chateau Palmer. Interestingly, with this vintage the yields varied from block to block more than from one grape variety to another.”

Jeff Leve In terms of rain, was the 2013 vintage one of the wettest vintages for you at the estate?

Thomas Duroux “It was the wettest winter and spring for sure. But we enjoyed a relatively dry summer and September was humid more than rainy.”

Jeff Leve With that much moisture in the vines from the spring and summer months, how did you deal with the heat spikes in July?

Thomas Duroux “All the preventive work that took place during the year proved to be very important.”

Jeff Leve What did you do specifically during the 2013 Chateau Palmer growing season?

Thomas Duroux “This year required us to do a lot of green work as well as removing the lateral buds and an extensive green harvest in July for example. The green work we did proved to be a good preventive practice for us. All those efforts helped a lot.”

Jeff Leve When you finally caught a break in the weather and began experiencing Indian summer conditions in August, did you think you were out of the woods?

Thomas Duroux “We thought that it could help and would also change the fact that harvest would be late.”

Jeff Leve Did the 2013 Chateau Palmer vintage require more sorting than usual?

Thomas Duroux “We definitely sorted more than in vintages like 2009 or 2010. But for example, we did not sort as much as we did with the 2006 vintage.”

Jeff Leve “Did that include optical sorting?

Thomas Duroux “Yes we used optical sorting with the 2013 vintage and it was helpful.”

Jeff Leve You are close to using only organic farming methods at Chateau Palmer. Did that help you with the 2013 Chateau Palmer vintage?

Thomas Duroux “It helped us to achieve an earlier ripeness.”

Jeff Leve When did you begin harvesting for the 2013 Chateau Palmer?

Thomas Duroux “We started picking the Merlot September 27.”

Jeff Leve When did you complete your harvest?

Thomas Duroux “We were finished on October 11.”

Jeff Leve Due to the conditions during the growing season and harvest, did you end up picking at a faster pace than usual?

Thomas Duroux “Yes a little. But you need to keep in mind that at Chateau Palmer, 14 days to harvest is pretty normal for us.”

Jeff Leve Can you describe the character and style of your Cabernet Sauvignon?

Thomas Duroux “The Cabernet Sauvignon are fresh but not green. They are precise but not powerful.”

Jeff Leve With the problems with the Merlot this year, is 2013 Chateau Palmer going to be a Cabernet Sauvignon vintage for you?

Thomas Duroux “I don’t think one grape variety performed better than another at Chateau Palmer this year.”

Jeff Leve Did you need to chaptalize with the 2013 Chateau Palmer?

Thomas Duroux “Yes.”

Jeff Leve What are your alcohol levels for the 2013 Chateau Palmer?

Thomas Duroux “The final blend will be around 12.5% alcohol.”


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