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Vintners caution against over-extraction during 2009 Bordeaux harvest

Winemakers are being urged to be aware of over-extraction during the 2009 Bordeaux harvest.

‘The problem in great vintages like 2009 is the false assurance that every bit of tannin will be ripe, so you might see over extraction of wines,’ said Pierre Olivier Clouet, oenologist at Chateau Cheval Blanc in St. Emilion.

‘With weather so good and grapes so ripe, people think they can pigeage and pump-over to their heart’s content, but I never saw as many over-extracted wines as I did in the 2005 vintage,’ he told decanter.com, comparing 2009 to 2005.

Rémi Edange, assistant manager at Domaine de Chevalier, too warned of the dangers of over-extraction.

‘When you have thick, hard skins like this, you do not want to pump over or pigeage too much because you could force out some hard tannins,’ he said.

Rain is forecast on Monday (5 October) for Bordeaux, and Edange said that while humidity softens the skins, ‘a real rain shower would mean that we will have to pick fairly fast, to avoid the spread of rot.’

On the left bank at Chateau Léoville Barton in St Julien, Merlot was not picked until 27 September and the Cabernet Sauvignon harvest will end on Saturday (3 October), said owner Anthony Barton.

Neighbour Léoville Poyferré started picking Merlot on 29 September and will not begin picking its Cabernet until next week.

‘We see no reason to rush; we think we will get more from the grapes,’ said Michel Rolland, oenologist at Léoville Poyferré.

‘It is an intuitive decision based on tasting the grapes.’

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Written by Panos Kakaviatos in Bordeaux

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