Surprisingly enough, the slow and late ripening of all the grapes didn't hurt any of them. Two or three Merlot plots, as usual, were slightly affected, but this time, by the dilution in the berries; they are seldom up to the highest standards. While our obsession with quality led us to leave out 17% of the overall crop (third wine, last presses), 47% went into the Pavillon Rouge.
It has a lovely balance and is much more homogeneous than originally thought. The Merlot, with a yield lower than that of the Cabernet, makes up 26%, and brings power, flesh and volume. The Cabernet Sauvignon which adds finesse, subtlety, represents 68%. As for the 5% of Petit Verdot, it probably plays a part with its characteristic aromas and tannic vigour. With 1%, the role of the Cabernet Franc is obviously not easy to gauge.
The Pavillon Rouge 2008 is an excellent vintage, with the same power and finesse, but perhaps more lively and subtle than the 2006.
It has quickly recoverd from the stress of bottling and already develops a very aromatic nose as well as a harmonious and soft presence on the palate.
After quite a dry winter, spring was cool and damp; in fact it was so chilly at the beginning of April that we used our anti-frost sprays on April 7th at Virefougasse, our Sauvignon Blanc plot. May was particularly wet, which heightened the risk of downy mildew at a time when the vines were most vulnerable, so that for the second year in a row, we had to carefully monitor the health of the vines. Nevertheless we continued our research on alternative solutions to chemical sprays; the conditions provided us with an ideal opportunity to do so. The flowering began at the very beginning of June, right on the normal date, although it was partly affected by heavy rains, which were no doubt responsible for the coulure and millerandage observed in some of the Merlot plots. Also, the vines showed fewer potential grapes than last year, so we knew that we were in for a smaller crop. The weather was cool throughout the summer, with temperatures around two degrees below average in July, August and September. July, however, was very dry with barely 10 mm (0.4 of an inch) of rain, whereas in August and up till September 15th, it rained regularly. This chilly and humid weather slowed the colour transformation of the grapes and their ripening process while it gradually affected our spirits…