Petit Cantenac 2009

Petit Cantenac 2009 is made with fruit from our older Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon vines and was picked in perfect conditions during the cool early mornings of late September and early October.

The colour of the wine shows deep red right to the rim, vibrant but not opaque, with a fresh and lush rich, black plum, cassis and liquorice scented nose with hints of raspberry, sherry, fine leather, spice and soft vanillary new oak.

On the palate, it is medium-bodied with thick tannins on the entry, which become more defined as the wine lingers in the mouth, leading towards a rounded, supple, blackberry and plum finish that displays good restraint and poise.

It is a savoury, delicious and well-made wine, quite forward in style, with a pleasant attack of fine soft tannins and an aromatic evolution that spreads satisfyingly right across the palate. It will drink well after only 3 or 4 years, but will also continue to develop nicely in the bottle. Drink 2013-2017.

Vineyard: 1.7 hectares

Grape variety: 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc

Harvest: 100% by hand

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: 8,000 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.

The wine lingers in the mouth, leading towards a rounded, supple, blackberry and plum finish that displays good “restraint” and poise.”

Neal Martin