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ThirtyFifty - Hens

Viticulture in Margaux with Benjamin Sichel from Ch d Angludet

In this interview we talk about the Margaux region - the climate, the weather and the soils - and find out how the vines at Chateau Angludet are managed and maintained.

In addition Chris and Benjamin explore the cycle in the vineyard, an all year round process. Through winter all the pruning is done along with preparing the trellising for the vines. The first part of the growing season is from end of March to mid June where help is needed to ensure the vines grow straight canopies with vertical shoots to get the best leaf exposure to the sun as possible. At the end of June work starts on the fruit, up until early September. Its all about helping the vine to ripen the grapes. We talk about leaf plucking, veraison (when grapes start to change colour) and cropping of surplus grapes. Clusters of grapes may need to be removed to allow the remaining grapes to fully ripen. At Chateau Angludet they aim for 8 clusters per vine although much will depend upon the weather. After this period work turns to getting ready for the harvest around mid September. Grapes are hand and machined picked to allow them to pick the best crops. Of the three varieties grown, Merlot is the first to ripen. It can be sensitive to over-ripening, loseing character and acidity so it is better to pick too early than too late. The Merlot is picked by hand as it doesn't respond well to machines. Cabernet Sauvignon is almost the opposite. It needs more time to ripen and so they will leave it as late as possible to get deep ripeness in the tannins. The last grape is Petit Verdot which is often picked after the Merlot and before the Cabernet Sauvignon. It is picked by machine as the delicate stems, if hand-picked, require too much manual sorting. Finally grape selection is done on the vines before picking.

The wine estate of Chateau Angludet belongs to the Sichel family, wine merchants in Bordeaux for six generations. The estate is on the south west side of the Margaux appellation 80 hectares with 34 hectares of vines. Benjamin's father bought Angludet in 1961, when just 7 hectares of vines were planted after severe frosts of 1956 destroyed much of the original vineyard.


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