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Feminine and seductive, due to the dominance of the Merlot, Château GAZIN's wines can be enjoyed after a few years in the bottle, but usually they are worth laying down for fifteen, twenty years or more. Their sumptuous generosity offers a wide aromatic range of red and black fruit which harmonizes with their intense crimson or garnet red colour. They typically offer hints of plum, chocolate, coffee or liquorice, with aromas of almonds, toast, tobacco and vanilla, and a minty freshness.
With maturity they develop a spicy nose, with a hint of truffles, notes of undergrowth, game, fur and leather
The harvests are carried out by hand, as each plot reaches perfect ripeness. The grapes undergo an initial sorting in the vineyard, carried out by the pickers.
Two further sorting stages take place in the vat room, before and after removal of the stalks, to optimize the quality of the fruit.
Alcoholic fermentation takes place in small concrete vats, separated by grape variety and plot, the juice and skins are then left to macerate for two to three weeks.
The free-run wine is then drawn off and kept separate from the wine obtained by pressing the residue ("marc"). The second fermentation, or malolactic fermentation, is then carried out, each grape variety being kept separate, either in barrels or vats, depending on the quality of the batches.The wines are then transferred to oak barrels (50% new barrels).
They mature for eighteen months, during which the wines are progressively blended during meticulous rackings approximately every three months.
The contact with the fine lees and the oak tannins gradually adds structure and complexity, enabling the production of wines that can be laid down and that will improve over time.he estate can produce up to 100,000 bottles.
A second wine, an AOP Pomerol, l'Hospitalet de Gazin, was created in 1986 so that Château GAZIN could be made with only the best grapes from each harvest.After being bottled and placed in wooden cases on the property, the wine is distributed all over the world by wine merchants in Bordeaux. 86% of Château GAZIN's production is sold to wine lovers outside of France.
With the vintage 2011, we return toward the more classic wines and we turn away from the exceptional vintages of the years 2005, 2009, and 2010. Nevertheless, the 2011 is not without its merit. Harvest were early. The merlots came in from September 5th to the 20th, and the Cabernet francs and Sauvignons came in on September 26th and 27th; we brought in a mature and heavy harvest with a yield of 43 hl per hectare.
74,000 bottles of Château Gazin 2011 and 47,000 bottles of the Hospitalet de Gazin second wine are composed of a blend of 90% merlot, 5% Cabernet franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. A very careful selection allowed us to produce a very full-bodied wine that is rather meaty, tannic, raised for 15 months in new barrels (45%), with the rest in one wine barrels.
The alcohol level of this vintage is 13.45°. The wine’s appearance is dark, brilliant bordeaux. 2011 features strong tannic notes, with red and black berry aromas: sour cherry, blackberry and black currant, a slightly toasted smell, winy, peppery, with a hint of caramel. The taste is silky, rather full, with a nice lingering effect, and a clearly tannic finish that doesn’t overpower and will soften with age. You can enjoy this wine today, after an hour or two of decantation, but the wine will improve with another five years (2018). It should not be kept longer than fifteen years.
Compleate Bordeaux 2011 Vintage Report: 2011 is a dangerous vintage
“2011 is a dangerous vintage. We lived through draught, rain and a lot of sun, all in that order. The draught did not impact our vineyard very much, because we have different terroirs. With each terroir, we performed specific work in the vineyards and we were lucky in our choices. The entire Right Bank of Bordeaux seems to be a success so far and yes, this includes not just St. Emilion, but Pomerol as well. From my recent tastings, 2011 Bordeaux seems to be a mix of two Bordeaux vintages; 2007 for the smoothness and 2009 for the maturity and sucrosité” says Jean Luc Thunevin.
In 1989, Jean-Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud bought a small 0.6 hectare plot of vines with the dream of making great St. Emilion wine! The name of the estate is personal. Valandraud is a combination of its location and something more meaningful. The Val comes from Vallon de Fongaban. The second part, Andraud is Murielle’s maiden name.
Things have changed at the estate since its birth. With more land and more importantly, the Bordeaux wine of Valandraud is made entirely by Murielle. 2007 was the first vintage that allowed Murielle to call the shots for the wine making. This was a good move.
2009 Valandraud and 2010 Valandraud are two of the finest efforts from this unique, Bordeaux wine producer. The current 2011 vintage marks the 20th vintage for Valandraud as their first effort was the 1991 Valandraud.
Jean-Luc Thunevin: “We waited patiently, waited for our grapes to reach the right concentration before harvesting. We started on September 7 and managed to finish October 13. This is about two weeks earlier than usual. We normally start about September 20.
2011 Bordeaux is about sorting, sorting and more sorting. We sorted in the vineyards and in the cellars. Since the 2007 vintage, we have been using the Tribaie sorting machine, which allows helps us remove more of the bad grapes based on levels of sugar concentration in the berries. The machine performs densimetric sorting which is based on the desired levels of ripeness and sugar levels”.
The earliest harvest on record since 1893
Chateau Lafite Rothschild started to harvest Cabernet Sauvignon in their northern most parcels, located not far from Chateau Cos d’Estournel, Friday, September 2. 2011. This is on one of the earliest harvests on record for the property. You’ll be reading quotes from many Bordeaux wine producers that 2011 Bordeaux, for many chateaux will be their earliest harvest on record since 1893! However, growers situated in some parts of Bordeaux have moved up their time tables are harvesting even earlier than they previously expected.
Due to the massive, freak, hail and rain in barrage the Northern Medoc, centered near the Pauillac , St. Estephe border, to avoid possible problems with the onset rot, many chateau in that vicinity have decided to start picking earlier than they had originally planned on. The most notable property is the famed First Growth, Chateau Lafite Rothschild. It is possible that the storm, which dropped over a massive, half inch of rain in a twenty minute period caused some flooding to the cellars of Lafite Rothschild.
“With our 2011 harvest, we harvested earlier because the growing of the vines was earlier than usual, due to the very hot spring. But the weather conditions of maturation in summer were fresh and cool, so the wine is of a cooler style than a late vintage. The nice weather conditions at the end of August and September were very good for phenolic ripeness”. Fabien Teitgen from Château Smith haut Lafitte.
The 2011 vintage is not simple to handle.
Smith Haut Lafitte is not only making great white and red Bordeaux wine in Pessac Leognan, they are at the forefront with technology as well. They were one of first Bordeaux wine producers to begin using Optical Sorting, which came in handy with the difficult 2011 Bordeaux harvest. Fabien Teitgen, the long-time managing director joined us for a long, detailed conversation on what took place at Smith Haut Lafitte for the 2011 Bordeaux vintage.
“To my mind, 2011 is balanced with low pH and medium alcohol. So for those who picked at the right time, their wines will be balanced, with a good concentration and a good freshness. This vintage is not so simple to handle.”
Chateau Cos d’Estournel, St. Estephe, started their 2011 Bordeaux harvest, Monday, September 5.
Jean Guillaume Prats told us, 2011 set a modern day record for an early start to their harvest at Chateau Cos d’Estournel. He added, “This was the estates second earliest harvest on record. To find an earlier date, we needed to back to 1893!” While the specific date to start picking was not set in stone, the original plan was not to begin their Bordeaux harvest on September 5. But due to a ferocious storm that swept through the area, 2011 Bordeaux Harvest Massive Storm Slams the Northern Medoc, any hope of waiting went out the window. “We initially planned to start about September 9, with the young vines. After the storm, we gave ourselves the time over the weekend to assess the situation and make the appropriate decision: Waiting and see how it will develop in the days to come depending on weather. We are “lucky” this vintage is extremely early. The damages in terms of phenolic ripeness of the grapes should be very minor. If this was a later year, like 2008, 2009, or 2010, the effects would be much worse.
The day starts before the sun rises
Chateau Haut Brion and Chateau La Mission Haut Brion started harvesting their young vine Merlot, August 29. This is early for the First Growth estate. To give you an idea of how early, in 2010, Haut Brion started to pick their young Merlot vines, September 8. In that vintage, harvesting continued until October 9.
Between the two Pessac Leognan properties, with red and white grapes to pick, they have a busy schedule. The harvesters begin their day working on the grapes for their Bordeaux white wine, often starting their day before the sun rises.
Jean-Philippe Delmas explains why they harvest in the early morning: “The purpose of picking the white grapes early in the morning is to ensure the fruit remains cool. This helps the berries to retain their unique, fresh aromas. This year, we picked our white grapes between 7am and noon. The reason is, by that time of day, the skins are dry. None of the dew from the night is remaining.”
Since Patrick Maroteaux purchased Chateau Branaire Ducru in 1988, he has been on a mission to produce the best wine possible from this Fourth Growth estate. While 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2009 are all potential candidates for the best wine yet from Branaire Ducru, I’m willing to place a bet the 2010 turns out to be his strongest wine yet. What about 2011 Branaire? Where does the most recent vintage stand? Patrick Maroteaux fills us in. “We will produce a rather powerful and colorful vintage due to the low ratio between the juice and the skin. So far the tannins seem rather approachable and elegant. The complexity of the structure will probably not be at the same level as the 2009 and 2010 vintages. We can position the 2011 vintage in the category of the very serious wines. We now know for sure that this vintage will show a very interesting balance”.