Hardly 30% of the harvest goes into the Pavillon Rouge: the more rigorous selection, strengthened since 2011, is gradually contributing to bringing the Pavillon Rouge closer, in style at least, to the first wine. Can we still call it a second wine? Do we remember that, thirty years ago, the totality of this batch would have become Château Margaux? The Pavillon Rouge at that time is what today is becoming the third and fourth wines…
Some Merlot plots are improving at last, yet not enough to go into the first wine. Their quality has nevertheless enabled us to put 33% into this year’s blend. The increasingly precise plot selection that we carry out as well as the vintage conditions explain this good news to a great extent. This isn’t the case with the Petit Verdots. Their young plots, which had succeeded well last year, didn’t cope with the summer drought: there is barely 3% of it in the blend. The Cabernets - 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc - unsurprisingly make up the framework of the wine.
The Pavillon Rouge 2012 is a very powerful wine – we almost find the historic levels of tannic concentration of the 2011- yet very balanced, delicate and refined. While it has not achieved the level of quality of the 2010, it’s not far off, and it’s clearly above that of the 2011.
2012 marked the return of a great climatic classicism: a cold winter, especially in February, followed by a very wet spring, then a very dry summer before a return to rainy weather as from September 20th.
The heavy rain which lasted until July 15th, created very favourable conditions for the development of mildew. However this year we intensified our organic programme with great success: not only have we not used any insecticide on the estate for 10 years, but in 2012 we only used one chemical treatment, as opposed to the usual 7 or 8 on the great wine plots. We’re almost there…
From July 15th onwards, the weather was dry and moderately warm but punctuated by a few very hot days. Such conditions are typical of great Bordeaux classic vintages: they allow for the simultaneous ripening and concentration of the grapes. Only the less good terroirs and young vines suffered from the sudden transition from a very wet spring to a very dry summer.
The weather changed again from the first day of autumn: the moderate rains, which fell regularly from September 20th onwards, arrived too late to greatly upset the ripening or health of the grapes, but probably prevented, by a few days, 2012 from being the great vintage it should have been.
The harvest of the whites took place between the 10th and the 14th September, while the harvest of the reds was carried out between the 25th September and the 16th October, just before the weather really deteriorated...