Petit Cantenac 2010

Made from our older Merlot vines with just a little Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc this wine is a deep ruby red with a fresh, rounded and complete first expression. On the nose it displays aromas of rich jammy black fruit flavours, mulberries, plums, truffles and mocha that combine with a pleasant layer of smoke and leather over further spicy characters that provide an attractive combination.

On the palate the wine is soft and well balanced with medium body and length and an elegant aromatic persistency where we find more blackberry and blackcurrant notes, tobacco leaf and grilled oak with hints of leather, vanilla, cinnamon and softly refined ripe tannins. Drink 2013-2020.

Vineyard: 1.7 hectares

Grape variety: 90% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc

Harvest: 100% by hand

Winemaking: Saignée, fermentation and maceration

Ageing: Aged in 50% New and 50% 2nd year French oak barrels for 18 months

Alcohol by volume: 13.5%vol

Residual sugar: < 2 g/l

Production: 10,000 bottles

The 2010 growing season was something of a 'roller-coaster' with the season starting 10 days later than the previous year. This was due to a very cold spring, and with lower than average rainfall in March, followed by two uncharacteristically dry months, by the end of May the water table was unusually low.

A sudden rise in temperature mid-May led to an abundant flowering, however, the growth cycle slowed down again with the return of the cold weather at the end of the month.

The hot, dry weather returned in June, however, by July signs of water stress were beginning to show in some parcels. Water stress is often mistakenly thought to be the sign of a good vintage, but it also means that vines concentrate on ripening their grapes, rather than developping sufficient foliage to protect them. August was predictably hot, but also extremely dry, with less than half the average rainfall, but despite over 220 hours of sunshine, there was also plenty of cloud cover to protect the vines.

However, due to a successful fruit set our vines were laden with healthy fruit and the warm, sunny weather reduced the risk of mildew and the number of treatments in the vines. Generally speaking, the success of the 2010 vintage depended on the terroir being able to provide the right amount of sustenance and the clay-over-limestone soils at Clos Cantenac enabled vines to absorb sufficient moisture throughout the year.

Harvesting started early in the morning of 16th September with the first block (0.61ha) of Merlot and continued on the 23rd September with an older block (1.2ha) of Merlot, halted only briefly by a quick downpour. The Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were picked on 1st October in fine, but slightly cooler weather.

2010 certainly looks likely to complete a trio of excellent, consecutive vintages in Bordeaux, comparable to the dryness of the 2005 and 1995 vintages and the overall coolness, particularly in August and September, of the great 2005 vintage.

Excellent colour, lovely concentration of black fruits, aromatic but fine, well-knit and with good persistence on the palate, fine balance.”

Steven Spurrier - Decanter Magazine