Clos Cantenac 2009

Clos Cantenac 2009 is made exclusively from a block of 15 year old Merlot vines, picked in the early morning in late September in absolutely perfect conditions.

The deep, dense, dark purple, almost black robe is complemented by a hugely appealing zesty, lively nose of black cherries, blackcurrant, blueberries, lush fresh red berries with hints of pencil shavings, fragrance, almonds, mocha, truffles and soft grilled oak notes.

On the palate it displays lovely sweet and succulent bright red fruits and black cherries that spread right across the mouth with an impressive intensity of character and a subtle ‘espresso’ and kirsch-like kick. It is deceptively soft with just the right amount of dryness to counterbalance the richness of the wine.

The wine is still tightly coiled, but it already shows good weight and a fine structure and is well balanced by the uplifting purity and freshness of the fruit, the juicy acidity and slight chalky texture followed by elegant velvety tannins and an amazing long finish.

Clos Cantenac 2009 is a refined wine that will continue to develop for some years to come. Drink 2014-2025.

Vineyard: 1.5 hectares

Grape variety: 100% Merlot

Harvesting: 100% by hand, last week of September

Winemaking: de-stemmed, hand-sorted, gently transported by a conveyor belt to stainless steel fermentation tanks. Cold maceration, alcoholic fermentation, followed by regular pumping over, then further maceration. Malolactic fermentation

Ageing: French Oak barrels (40% new & 60% 2nd year)

Alcohol by volume: 13.5%vol

Residual sugar: < 2 g/l

Production: 6,000 bottles

The growing year started well with good rainfall and some cold sharp frosts. The sunshine arrived in March with temperatures slightly above average and rainfall levels less than half the average of the past 30 years.

In the vineyards, bud burst began at the end of the month and although April was mild and rainy, things continued well. Initially, May brought fine weather with summery temperatures and a lot of sunshine, but then a series of violent hailstorms hit Bordeaux on 11th, 13th and 25th of May. Fortunately we were not affected at all here at Clos Cantenac.

Flowering was well underway by the end of May and had successfully finished by mid June, which was a dry, warm month with a remarkable amount of sunshine and temperatures some 2 degrees higher than usual.

July and August also brought high temperatures and long hours of sunshine with the good weather flowing into September, the alternation between cool nights and warm daytime temperatures encouraging the concentration of aromas and an increase in anthocyanins.

We eventually commenced harvest on 24th September, starting with the older Merlot vines and then the younger Merlot plots the following day. The fruit was in remarkable condition, in tight small bunches of perfectly ripe and even grapes.

Meanwhile, as the fine weather continued over the next few days, we decided to wait until 30th September to pick the last of the older Merlot and start the Cabernet, which we finished on Thursday 1st October.

Quite a dense nose. Just the right amount of dryness to counter balance the richness. This should be very interesting after bottling. Very fine.”

Neil Martin