An exceptionally early budburst was brought about by a very mild spring. Warm summer days followed by a lingering dry autumn with cool nights produced healthy, perfectly ripened grapes with vibrant fruit flavours. All of the reds showed excellent physiologically mature tannins.
The vineyard and the vines
The vines are grown in stony, freely draining soil on north facing terraces. Being the most sheltered and warmest part of our vineyard they receive extra heat and we removed the leaves from around the bunches early in the summer to accentuate this effect. Some of the blocks are over a quarter of a century old and are on their own roots.
The harvest and winemaking
We used the traditional methods which are employed to make Bordeaux’s celebrated wine, Claret. After picking during May the grapes were fermented by their indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks. During this process the juice was regularly drained from the tanks and sprayed back over the surface of the cap of floating grape skins to keep it moist and healthy. After this primary fermentation ceased the tanks were sealed and the grape remnants were allowed to steep or macerate in the newly formed wine for several weeks to help improve the wine's body and structure. These days we only give 18-20 days on skin total in Bordeaux varietals to keep the fresh fruit character and not extract drying tannins. The exact period of this process was judged by daily tasting. The wine was then drained off and put into French oak barriques. In the summer after harvest it underwent natural spontaneous malolactic or secondary fermentation. It was in these barriques for two years, during which time it underwent several rackings, enabling it to clarify naturally. The various batches were then blended according to taste before bottling. This wine is 50% merlot, 40% cabernet sauvignon and 5% each of cabernet franc and malbec.
On release the wine has a deep ruby colour. The aromas and flavours suggest purple plums, blackberries, cassis and blueberries. There are also savoury overtones of liquorice, black olives and cigar smoke. There is an initial impression of plush fruit on the palate but then the wine expands to become big and muscular with a backbone of velvety ripe tannins that flow into a long lingering chocolatey finish.
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