A week ahead of Bordeaux’s 2012 primeurs week, just what have proprietors on the Left Bank been saying about the vintage? The consensus seems to be that, despite a very tricky spring and early summer, the vintage was saved by dry and hot conditions in late July and August and some useful rain at the end of September which helped the final ripening of the grapes. Things might actually have turned out very well indeed – a vintage similar to 2000 was being touted by some at the end of September – had it not been for more considerable and progressive rain that came in mid October onwards.
Posts Tagged ‘terroir’
There’s no doubt that 2011 is an inconsistent vintage in Bordeaux. The same problems that affected the region generally also had a big impact in Pauillac. Here, as elsewhere, a combination of drought, a warm, dry spring, followed by a cool autumnal summer, with occasional severe heat spikes, knocked the growth cycle out kilter. Pauillac has some of the greatest terroir on earth of course. It makes it naturally well insured against the most meagre and challenging of years. Given too the extraordinary level of investment in the vineyards and the cellars over the past decade, plus obsessive attention to detail and daily micromanagement at the finest properties, it’s hardly surprising, then, that the best estates here deliver an extremely decent glass of 2011. So much so in fact you almost forget what a tricky harvest this was to grow and vinify. Almost….
There is more variation here among the wines than in the other appellations reflecting, as usual, the different terroirs and winemaking approaches. It seemed that the wines were also suffering more from bottle shock than the other Medoc appellations. If you’re looking for quintessential Margaux perfume and the benchmark elegance and poise the appellation is famed for, look no further than Chateaux Brane Cantenac and Chateau du Tertre which both look terrific.
There is some variability here in Margaux both between the wines, some excellent, others over extracted, some variability between samples. Generally I was impressed by the wines on my first pass, the second pass I did the Margaux appellation slightly impressive, interesting as it was generally the other way around in the other districts. Of course the large appellation here with its wide variety of soils and terroirs does means that often you are not comparing like with like. There is also considerable variability between the blends in Margaux and in the wine making; some much more extractive and manipulative than others.