Just like in 2009, grapes were harvested between the 23rd of September and the 15th of October. The entire vineyard benefited from excellent weather conditions, yet not all plots seem to have capitalised on this. The Merlot and the Cabernet planted in the most clayey soils reached high alcohol levels, which tended to affect their finesse rather than their balance. We blended them in the third wine, which is both larger in volume (24% of the crop) and better than it has ever been.
It is the first time that the Pavillon Rouge, which made up 38% of the crop, accounts for the same proportion as the first wine. This selection reflects the even higher standards we have set for Pavillon Rouge. It is indeed no longer a second wine but rather a different blend of the first one, with truly comparable tannic power.
66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot: while these are practically the same proportions as in 2009, the quality is quite possibly superior. Never before has Pavillon Rouge come so close to Château Margaux.
Winter was quite cold and dry, causing some delay in the budding. Mixed weather conditions in the spring made the flowering process uneven and caused a little coulure in some of the older Merlot plots. Yet, as always, the great terroirs appear to have set their own agenda and ignored the vagaries of the weather, enjoying a fast and homogenous flowering process with perfect results. Then again, the Cabernet Sauvignon, which is so well suited to these lands, is not very prone to coulure.
From the end of June until the last grapes were harvested in October, we experienced, once again, the type of drought typical of great Bordeaux vintages. Indeed, while on the one hand, the vines were spared any excess of water, thereby preventing unwanted foliage, they benefited from just enough moisture to favour ripening as well as enhance concentration in the grapes.
While the 2010 weather conditions were reminiscent of 2009 and 2005, vintages are never completely alike. The summer of 2010 was as dry as 2009, yet cooler. The absence of extreme heat combined with cool nights compensated for the drought and probably allowed some of the great terroirs’ young plants to reach a new quality threshold. It also favoured the aromatic character in all grape varieties, particularly in Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet and enabled the maintenance of excellent acidity levels – the perfect foil for high levels of alcohol. (The picking began on 22nd September)