2013 Beychevelle Harvest Vintage and Wine in St. Julien


Grape harvesting

Jeff Leve While I know this is your second harvest at Beychevelle, if we looked at the history books, is the 2013 Bordeaux harvest one of the latest harvests for the estate?

Romain Ducolomb “No. In 1980 we started picking October 10 and did not finish until October 25. For 2012 Beychevelle, we were almost as late as completed picking October 18.”

Jeff Leve How did the growing season start off for you in St. Julien?

Romain Ducolomb “It was bad with cool and rainy weather.”

Jeff Leve Did you experience coulure with one grape variety, or with the entire vineyard?

Romain Ducolomb “The entire vineyard was struck by coulure.”

Jeff Leve Will 2013 Bordeaux be marked by low yields?

Romain Ducolomb “This is in fact our lowest yields in the history of Beychevelle, even lower than we had 1991! We are at 30 hectoliters per hectare.”

Jeff Leve Can you break that out by varietal?

Romain Ducolomb “With the Merlot, we are at 27 hectoliters per hectare. The Cabernet Sauvignon is slightly better at about 33 hectoliters per hectare.”

Jeff Leve We know this is one of the latest years for Chateau Beychevelle. Is it also one of the wettest?

Romain Ducolomb “I can say 2013 is the wettest vintage we’ve had in more than 10 years.”

Jeff Leve Following a difficult growing season, did you experience a sense of hope with the Indian summer conditions?

Romain Ducolomb “Exactly. We thought it was a good opportunity that we would reach a good maturity with the grapes.”

Jeff Leve How much of your attention was focused on sorting with the 2013 Beychevelle harvest?

Romain Ducolomb “We were very focused on sorting this year. We did three selections. One in the vineyard with a team that only picked only the good bunches. We did another selection on the first sorting table always on bunches and we did a final selection after the destemmer. In fact, we even bought new sorting tables recently which turned out to be a good idea considering the vintage.”

Jeff Leve Did your organic farming methods help with 2013 Beychevelle?

Romain Ducolomb “The organic approach obliges us listen more to the behavior of the vines. Thus, we are more reactive and can adjust our choice of technical practice like spraying for example.”

Jeff Leve To avoid boytrytis, which was a fear for many chateaux, what anti rot techniques did you utilize with the 2013 Beychevelle growing season?

Romain Ducolomb “Nothing unusual this year. Instead we have been more focused on prophylactic technics, by doing for example leaf removal on both sides of the vine.”

Jeff Leve Have you started using optical sorting techniques?

Romain Ducolomb “No. We still believe the human touch is better than the machine one!”

Jeff Leve When did you begin the 2013 Beychevelle harvest?

Romain Ducolomb “We started picking September 30 and finished the harvest October 10.”

Jeff Leve Do you wish you had waited longer to pick?

Romain Ducolomb “Actually, if we were 100% sure to have a perfect sunny and windy weather for the next two weeks, we would have probably waited a little bit more.”

Jeff Leve Is 2013 Bordeaux a Cabernet Sauvignon vintage?

Romain Ducolomb “They seem fairly good and will be important to the quality of the wine.”

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

Romain Ducolomb “The wine has dark color with spice aromas. It’s well balanced, complex and has interesting tannins.”

Jeff Leve Did you need to chaptalize with 2013 Bordeaux?

Romain Ducolomb “Yes.”

Jeff Leve What are your alcohol levels with 2013 Bechevelle?

Romain Ducolomb We are at 13% alcohol this year.”

Jeff Leve What did you do this year during the vinification and elevage?

Romain Ducolomb “We were careful with the oxygen and tried to appreciate the potential of the wine so we could adjust if needed, the ageing and proportion of new oak.”


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