We often forget that the rigour in the selection for the blend benefits not only the wine of Château Margaux, but also Pavillon Rouge, because the batches which are not in the end chosen for the first wine bring up the quality of the second wine. In the same way, the existence of a third wine over the last several years has freed the second wine from anything that could drag its quality down. These two reasons probably explain why Pavillon Rouge has improved so much over the last ten years. In 2006, it represents a bit over a half of the crop, while almost 10% has been left to go into the third wine.
About 40% of the Pavillon Rouge blend of course is made up of most of the Merlot; it blends in very nicely since it has plenty of finesse and power, and is only lacking that graceful touch that is so particular to, and perhaps exclusive to the Cabernet Sauvignon. The latter therefore still makes up the majority with 55% of the whole. As with the first wine, but to a lesser extent of course, it brings the 2006 a tannic power and rare vivacity, both of these characteristics being supported by the presence of 4% Petit Verdot. This blend of grape varieties is quite classic for the Pavillon Rouge.
And it works… The Pavillon Rouge 2006 is a powerful wine, full of flavour, with a fresh, firm finish, perhaps a little austere today, but whose richness and balance guarantee superb development in the years to come.
After a rather cold winter (particularly during the month of February) but fortunately with more rainfall than in 2005, spring was so dry we almost started to get concerned about a possible lack of water for the vines. But that would have been forgetting just how adaptable vines are during a period of drought, and especially just how well great terroirs manage to even out such climatic extremes. On the other hand, our frost protection system was unable to prevent damage on April 11 at Virefougasse, the plot which produces the Pavillon Blanc, and resulted in a serious reduction in the potential yield.
The flowering, which took place in excellent conditions, promised an average-sized crop of red at picking dates very close to those of the previous two years.
The summer was then hot, even turning into a heat-wave during the last two weeks of July, the weather then cooled a little in August. It was dry, in particular: it rained less in July and August than during that same period in 2003! September brought the usual contrasting types of weather: very hot and dry for the first ten days, then mild and humid until the beginning of the harvest, then sufficiently dry to carry out the picking without any rush. This pattern of weather bears a strange resemblance to that of 1996, which had the same summer rain, the same very favourable weather at the end of August, and exactly the same rainfall from September 1st until the end of the picking. ... (The picking began on 19th September)