Spring and the first half of summer were so warm and dry that we were worried the vines might be affected by drought. Then we had a brief torrential downpour which recharged the groundwater reserves and refreshed the vines. The rest of the summer was excellent. There was some late autumn humidity, but as we had exposed the berries to the sunlight they remained healthy and ripened excellently.
The Vineyard and the Vines
The vines are grown in stony, freely draining soil on north facing terraces. Being in 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 use the traditional methods which are employed to make Bordeaux’s celebrated red wine, Claret. After picking in mid-May the grapes were fermented 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 fermentation ceased the tanks were sealed and the grape remnants allowed to steep or macerate in the newly formed wine for several weeks, the exact period being judged by daily tasting. The wine was then drained and put into French oak barriques. In the summer after harvest it underwent natural spontaneous malo-lactic, or secondary, fermentation. It remained in these barriques for 2 years, during which time it underwent several rackings, enabling it to clarify naturally. The various batches were then blended according to taste before bottling.
The merlot has given the wine beautiful plum and purple peach fruitiness, while the cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc have added cassis, tobacco and spicy ethereal notes. The palate entry is deceptively soft, but the wine expands in the mouth to reveal a broad framework of ripe tannins, that draw out its length and support a lingering after-taste.
Download Tasting Notes