Vintage 2003: Atypical

Vintage 2003 : Atypical 

The summer of 2003 will remain branded in our memory for the exceptionally high temperatures recorded. The growth cycle began very early with the first week of the heatwave during Vinexpo (June 20th -29th). After plucking out the middle buds on one side of the row, no further de-leafing was undertaken to ensure the grapes had maximum protection from the sun. The veraison in 2003 was early and uniform. The extreme weather conditions in early August (maximal temperature close to 42°C for about ten days) were exceptional for this region. However, the vines did not suffer any violent hydric stress thanks to isolated storms mid-July and mid-August.

The harvest, fairly well spread so that each parcel could be picked at perfect maturity, started three weeks ahead of average. The young Merlot vines were harvested on September 3rd and 4th, the older Merlot parcels on September 10th and 11th, the Cabernet Franc in two days the following week and the Cabernet Sauvignon from September 22nd to 27th.

At vatting, rather low acidity – characteristic of a hot summer – caused us to expect difficulty stabilising the wine. Curiously, during alcoholic fermentation acid levels balanced themselves out probably due to redistribution of the acids (concentrated in the passerillized berries) during maceration. The grape-berries, undersized and thick-skinned, quickly yielded deep-coloured juice, low in volume. Maceration was carried out gently over three weeks.

Haut-Bailly 2003 is characterised by very ripe tannins, dense and velvety substance, surprising freshness and beautiful balance despite the atypical weather conditions.

Harvest: September 3rd – September 27th   
Château Haut-Bailly blend: 56% Cabernet Sauvignon – 38% Merlot – 6% Cabernet Franc
La Parde Haut-Bailly blend: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon – 21% Merlot – 14% Cabernet Franc