In 2011, the white harvest was the earliest since 1893. We feared that the ripening of the grapes in the middle of the summer, just when the days are longest, and often hottest, would result in a wine without balance, too rich in alcohol, low in acidity and lacking taste. Thanks to the cool temperatures in July and August, not only was the balance maintained, but it was that of a great vintage! 2011 is a magnificent Pavillon Blanc, of completely the same lineage and level as the 2010. This result is, of course, the fruits of very rigorous selection: no more than a third of the harvest, although small, was retained for the final blending; it is nevertheless the same proportion as last year. In fact, the three most recent vintages - 2009, 2010 and 2011 – are probably the best we have ever produced.
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!