Whatever the conditions of the vintage, the « hard core » of the quality, that is to say all the parcels which make up the basis of the Château Margaux first wine blend, has been remarkably stable for the last three hundred and fifty years... These very great terroirs have a better resistance than the others to rain, drought and disease, and sometimes, even to the inconsistency of man. 2011 hasn’t escaped this rule: we can find 38% of the harvest in the first wine, the same proportion as last year. Of course the Cabernet Sauvignon also always largely dominates with 86% of the blend. This year it is uncommonly strong, vigorous and fortunately balanced with lots of smoothness. Then comes the Merlot (10%), the Petit Verdot (2%) and the Cabernet Franc (2%). Château Margaux 2011 is the most concentrated wine we have ever produced. And yet, we barely notice its tannins...
The wine-growing year started with a virtually summery climate, the months of April and May being a lot hotter and drier than normal. The start-up and growth of the vines was, therefore, very quick and flowering was particularly early. Following that, the months of June, July and August were rather cool, but not wet enough, especially at Margaux, to really change the drought status of the vineyard, a characteristic of the vintage. The 26th and 27th of June were hotter than we had ever seen: numerous bunches of grapes, ready to ripen, taking into account the precocity of the vintage, were subjected to intense heat which caused some damage, particularly in the not very vigorous cabernet sauvignon parcels. The dryness of the vineyard after three months of drought probably amplified this phenomenon, of which the consequences remain generally limited. The harvest, which started on the 25th August for the whites, and the 5th September for the reds, benefited from generally hot and dry weather, which allowed plenty of time for the various sorting operations made necessary by the problems of intense heat. Our only disappointment is the quantity: with a yield of 29hl/ha, the 2011 vintage is the smallest harvest for 20 years!