"Great terroir express their distinction and even their superiority in difficult years. This vintage didn't have much promise, although flowering had gone well. We had nothing but doubts except the fierce resolution that we would not give up and that we had to read the vines and understand their needs." -Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, Château Angélus
For the French winemakers, the spring of 2014 had been tricky and the summer was wet with August rainfall. Then, as if the heavens looked kindly upon the worried hearts and hands of the growers, there was only day after day of lovely weather the rest of August. But everyday, Hubert de Boüard de Laforest had to ask:
Do we start picking?
His answer after carefully looking at the grapes: No, we wait!
It was a great risk, the weather could suddenly turn. And it did in September when unseasonal storms arrived. But all was good as the winds and rain left quickly and the weather remained fine for the rest of the season. Finally, Hubert de Boüard decided to cut the first Merlot grapes off the young vines in early October, a warm, magnificent, golden month.
So, do we start picking the rest now?
No, we wait!
Delaying the harvest of the old Merlot vines for a few more days of sunshine and waiting for the Cabernet Franc grapes to ripen fully, this unpromising vintage now stood a chance, and with the right care and time, could become great. Six years later (2020), it has proven to be just that.
"This is how fickle calendars can be. A situation I had never seen before in my whole career as a winegrower! An ideal autumn for harvesting that just went on and on."