L’exuberance 2020

The colour of this wine is a clean bright and instantly appealing pale rose petal pink, almost translucent, with intense and fragrant aromas of luscious wild strawberries, mandarin peel, grapefruit, citrus and red berries. On the palate it shows the same fine register of complex red summer berry and tropical fruit flavours, with hints of vanilla, a soft attack of smokiness and a savoury finish. It is a very seductive style of rosé, long, fresh and aromatic, yet perfectly balanced by a lovely refreshing acidity, which combines perfectly with the long, dry persistent finish.

Vineyard: 1.7 hectares overall vineyard – small parcel selection

Grape variety: 100% Merlot.

Harvest: 100% by hand on 10th, 11th and 12th September.

Winemaking: Fermented in 15% New French Oak barrels, 15% 2nd and 3rd year oak and 70% in stainless steel

Ageing: 5 months on the lees with regular batonnage

Alcohol by volume: 12.5%vol

Residual sugar: < 2 g/l

Production: 8,000 bottles

After an unusually mild winter and heavy rains in early March, mixed conditions followed in April/May, which lead to an intense summer drought with heat spikes and more rain at the end of harvest. The spring weather also brought some unwanted challenges including hail, frost, snow and heavy rainfall at times.

Late March was pleasant and warm, but by early April, there was a threat of frost and so candles put out in the susceptible vines but fortunately did not need to light them. In fact, as the month ended, it was the warmest April since 1920, but with fluctuating temperatures we experienced hail on Sunday 17th and parts of St-Emilion were badly affected.

May was warm and sunny, but marked by frequent rainstorms in the early part of the month causing localised flooding, but temperatures remained high and the flowering started around 20 May, up to 15 days earlier than usual. The result was good and after fruit set the yields looked healthy, although the threat of Mildew remained intense in early June after a rainy start to the month. Things settled and late June brought warmer days and the driest summer on record since 1959 with temperatures topping 30°C for 12 days and 30% more sunshine in July than usual, but only 3mm of rain compared to the 50mm average.

In fact this period was so warm and dry that on certain ‘terroirs’ the ripening fruit was blocked and veraison, which typically lasts 8 to 12 days took up to three weeks. Some St-Emilion chateaux even reported as much as five weeks, but this is really where the soils and local micro-climates came into play. Vines planted in sandy loam soils suffered, but those on clay and limestone fared better, as did the more gravelly areas underpinned by clay.

August continued to be hot and dry with temperatures climbing to 40°C although rain from 11/15th brought much needed relief, but then serious heat spikes in early September caused some significant yield losses, particularly as the nights also remained relatively warm.

We commenced harvest on 27th August under clear blue skies picking young merlot for our rosé and continued on Wednesday 2nd September with the temperature registering 34C at 17h00.

We continued on Monday 7th September we were greeted by the most amazing sunrise and then on Wednesday 9th September we picked a small parcel of beautiful pale green Semillon, which was quickly whole bunched pressed off into one of our small cuvees.

On Monday 14th September we commenced the red wine harvest and picked 'on and off' over the next two weeks and finally completed the 2020 vintage on Wednesday 30th September in great conditions.

Overall, the quality of the fruit was extremely high and close in style to the 2016 wines, but with a little more concentration, complexity and elegance, as well as plenty of colour and good tension to balance the tannins

The colour is a triumph, a beautifully pale, shimmering salmon pink. A standout in the company of other Bordeaux rose leaving the mouth clean, refreshed and wanting more.”

Hugo Rose MW