It’s always great to hear the news from Pascale and what is happening in Cardan. This time last year was just a series of bad cold wet news stories. 2014, as any season, has its’ challenges but it is showing many more positive signs than negative. As I sit a long way away from the action, part of my judgement of progress is not only reading the words of Pascale’s weekly updates but listening for the tonalities and what is hidden between the lines.

So far so good in our Bordeaux vineyards at Cardan - naturally, we're on Cloud9!

                                                 So far so good in our Bordeaux vineyards at Cardan – naturally, we’re on Cloud9!

2013 was tense and nervous almost from early March onwards through to the final wet onslaught of the first week of October and harvesting that weekend. We learnt a lot about ourselves as a team last year – what it takes to create a success out of an almost natural disaster zone. The attention to detail day by day was incredible. And in many ways the wonderful results are still a little baffling. But wonderful all the same.

Merlot bud burst but the pace has normalised again now

Merlot bud burst was early but the pace has now adjusted

2014 is an altogether more calm time. Sure our skills, knowledge and self-belief advanced dramatically after 2013’s adventure. But all the same, the team has a much more planned precise feel about its progress. That doesn’t mean all the risks have all disappeared. Far from it – one sector in the northern part of the Bordeaux Medoc region was pounded by golf ball sized hail during last week and its vineyards wiped out for the season. Vigilance is a daily attitude.

The season commenced earlier than normal and the first buds broke in the Merlot block during the first week of April. Cool wet May weather slowed the pace and brought the vines’ growth trajectory back more in line with how 2010 tracked. If that continues for the remainder of the season, it would be good! The vertical shoots from the vines are now being trellised to protect the structure of the vines and provide a beautiful canopy to capture the sun’s energy. The summer sun is now here! Flowering is under way so we are hoping for a good “set” of the fruit in the dry warm weather with little “coulure” this year.

Pascale working hands on with the Cabernet Franc vines

          Pascale working hands on with the Cabernet Franc vines

In the winery, everything is calm and the 2013 wines make good steady progress with their barrel maturation. The weather is sunny and warm so the aircon system is now on to maintain the optimum stable temperature environment for maturation. Every step has a thorough detailed plan and approach.

As we say in French “Bonne continuation” – “Keep it going well”. We will certainly be doing our best with what nature gives us.