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After fermentation, the wine is aged for 12 to 15 months in French oak barrels (made of split oak staves form the forests of Central France) 50% to 70% of the barrels are new and 50% to 30% are one-year old.
Air slowly penetrates through the pores in the wood and gently oxidizes the wine. The oak contributes to the elegance of its tannins. At the same time, the restricted volume of the barrel facilitates the precipitation of the lees over the months.During this ageing process the wine is finely racked, thus separating the clear wine from the lees.
Each racking process is carried out from barrel to barrel and clarity is checked by holding a glass of the wine before a candle. Two cellar workers are responsible for this job throughout the year. When one racking cycle has been completed, it is time to start the next one.
Once aged, the wine is returned to the vats to prepare for bottling. At this point, and to ensure that all bottles are perfectly identical, another assembling operation is carried out: The wine from the new barrels and the wine from the one-year old barrels have aged differently.
The following fining process uses egg whites to clarify and stabilize the wine and any particles precipitate to form a deposit, preventing the sediment being transferred to the bottle.
The 2010 growing season was marked by dry weather all over the region. Winter to summer was very cold, with temperatures 2-3°C below the normal average. The weather started off mild in April, but May was much cooler. Overall, the weather has remained cool for two consecutive years, with morning frost at the point of harvest on October 18th. The solar weather patterns for the 2010 season are notable and similar those of 2009. The month of April was exceptionally warm and sunny.
Both years, 2009 and 2010, had great amounts of sun, even more than the great 2005 vintage year.
Our loyal vineyard crew works hard to assure our harvests to be of utmost quality down to the last grape, year after year. This year, the harvest was longer than usual, and it spread out over 5 weeks with a total of 12 picking days. This demonstrates our precise vineyard work. We waited patiently for the perfect maturity of each and every plot.
Our ally was the great weather, all the way though the end of harvest. Fall gave us an Indian summer with warm days and cool nights.
The harvest plots rapidly changed their leaf color as if to say they had let go after all their hard work.
Today the work in our cellars is put together perfectly, and with such perfect grapes to work with, it all becomes even simpler. The high alcohol and high tannin potential lead us to choose a low temperature fermentation (26°C/27°C) to keep the fruit flavor at a maximum. The color came through immediately, showing great signs of maturity. The first run just was exceptionally thick. One of our cellar workers, Bruno Hydié, who has seen over 20 vintages here, said he couldn’t believe his eyes.
Our first tastings of this wine confirmed the great potential of this vintage.
Great vintages follow one another, but they are never the same. The 2010 vintage is much different that of 2009.The freshness of this vintage is remarkable with such naturally high alcohol content. Amazingly, the acid, alcohol, and tannins form a perfect harmony.
Surely this is what makes the 2010 vintage so powerful. It’s exceptional to see how such harmony, with all the extraordinary elements, gives us such a “sumptuous” wine.
Merlot: September 29th and 30th, October 1st, 5th, and 6th
Cabernet Franc: October 7th
Cabernet Sauvignon: October 13th – 20th
Percentage of Harvest
Château Cantenac Brown 45%
Château Cantenac Brown : 60% new barrel
BriO de Cantenac Brown : 25% new barrel
Château Cantenac Brown : 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot
BriO de Cantenac Brown : 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc
Drought and cool temperatures contribute to optimal ripeness
The sum of summer temperatures in 2010 was close to that of summer 2009 (962°C compared to 982°C), but significantly colder than those of 2005, which totaled 1052°C. These cool temperatures had a substantial influence on the balance of our wines, preserving a good level of acidity and an attractive aromatic freshness.
Very little precipitation (only 267 mm) from March to August 2010 generating a drought of similar intensity to that of 2005, when only 227 mm of rain fell.
Another characteristic of the 2010 vintage is the low temperatures especially during the first three weeks of August, which allowed good acidity levels to be preserved in the grapes while maintaining an attractive aromatic freshness.