28th March 2019
AN UNCERTAIN AND UNUSUAL BEGINNING
The year began with a long, harsh and damp winter, followed by an equally rainy spring (600 mm of rainfall during the first six months of the year). Nevertheless, the vines budded fairly early at the beginning of April. In the spring, these damp conditions encouraged the development of downy mildew, which our teams quickly overcame. Our vineyards therefore did not suffer from this disease. However, the vineyard was not spared a mighty hailstorm on 26 May. The vines’ foliage was well developed and was heavily affected and scarred by the storm, going from 70 to 30 cm. The impact of the hail on the wood and leaves delayed flowering by around ten days. Fortunately, summer came to heal the wounds, and the vines quickly caught up thanks to superb summer months that saved the vintage.
SUMMER THE SAVIOUR
The climate started to become favourable again from 20 June, remaining so until the end of the harvests on 8 October. The rains stopped (less than 60 mm fell over the course of three and a half months) and grape colour change occurred on the usual dates for the region. The summer was exceptional, and climate conditions concentrated and ripened the grapes. The warm, dry conditions continued into September and throughout the harvest period.
HARVESTS IN AUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES
The harvests were rather early with the grapes in perfect health. We picked the first Sauvignon Blanc grapes on 31 August and the last Semillon on 11 September, with a level of ripeness and richness rarely seen. Château Brown’s 2018 whites have a unique profile, with relatively low levels of acidity and unusually intense exotic fruit aromas. For red varieties, harvests began on 21 September for the ‘old’ Merlot and finished on 8 October with the Cabernet Sauvignon. The red wines are extraordinarily fruity with a deep colour, powerful aromas, and silky tannins with a high concentration of polyphenols.
THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE VINTAGE
Volumes varied from one estate to the next.
Some suffered ferocious attacks of mildew that affected yields.
The 2018 vintage at Château Brown was shaped by the spring hail and the dry conditions in September.
These sometimes extreme weather conditions, such as drought, caused a ‘natural’ reduction in yields whilst enabling aromas and flavours to be concentrated.
These unusual weather conditions made 2018 a unique vintage.
Of indisputable quality and unusual in its alcohol level, intensity and power, this is one of the great vintages of the early 21st century.