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Thanks to the long involvement of generations of the Kressmann family, and the recognition shown in 1953 by the classification of Graves, the wines of Château LaTour-Martillac feature among the best of Pessac-Léognan. The expansion of the range was drawn up by Tristan and Loïc Kressmann. The second wines appeared at the end of the 1980’s under the label Lagrave-Martillac, followed by the Château Langlet, a magnificent property in the Graves appellation, acquired in 1999.
The best lots from the best parcels are chosen each year to integrate into the blending of the first wines for both red and white wines. This stringent selection is driven by the direction of Loïc Kressmann and our winemaker, Valérie Vialard, with the help of one of the most renowned consultants in Bordeaux, Professor Denis Dubourdieu.
After a late and mild winter, drought set in until June, with summerlike temperatures from April. The result was an early flowering, from May 10th. The foliage was healthy but not enough to provide protection for some Cabernet Sauvignon exposed to scorching days at the end of June (40ºC). By July 1st, the vegetation was three weeks ahead of its usual development. The vintage was then rescued by plenty of rain and cooler temperatures during July and August, with a late and slow ripening, which preserved flavor and freshness. The harvest then took place under a bright September sun.
Period of harvest
September 8th to 28th.
50% Cabernet Sauvignon
7% Petit Verdot
The Wine Advocate by Robert Parker – 91+ pts (2014/09)
« An authoritative, rich, concentrated effort, the inky/purple-colored 2011 Latour-Martillac possesses graphite and black currant aromas as well as surprisingly full, powerful flavors that transcend the vintage character. This wine needs to be forgotten for 3-4 years, and drunk over the following two decades. This is clearly an overachiever in 2011. »
Wine Spectator – 90/93 pts (2012/04)
« This is solid, with a core of black currant, crushed plum and fig notes laced judiciously with sweet toast and graphite notes.
Nice length. »
Jeannie Cho Lee – 90/91 pts (2012/04)
« This wine is lifted and polished with rounded, supple tannins. There is much to like about this wine that is balanced with savoury, plum and cedar notes. No trace of this vintage’s harsh tannins or difficulty. »
The 2011 vintage is not easy to handle.
Smith Haut Lafitte not only makes great white and red wine from Bordeaux in Pessac Léognan, they are also at the cutting edge of technology. They were one of the first Bordeaux wine producers to begin using optical sorting, which came in handy with the difficult 2011 Bordeaux harvest. Fabien Teitgen, long-time general manager, joined us for a long detailed conversation about what happened at Smith Haut Lafitte for the 2011 Bordeaux vintage.
“In my opinion, 2011 is balanced with a low pH and a medium alcohol level. So for those who picked at the right time, their wines will be balanced, with good concentration and good freshness. This vintage is not so easy to handle. »
Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe, began its 2011 Bordeaux harvest on Monday, September 5.
Jean Guillaume Prats told us that 2011 set a modern record for an early start to their harvest at Château Cos d’Estournel. He added: “It was the second earliest harvest on record. To find an earlier date, we had to go back to 1893! » Although the precise date to begin 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 region, the massive 2011 Bordeaux storm hit the northern Médoc, any hope of waiting has gone out the window. “We had initially planned to start around September 9, with the young vines. After the storm, we gave ourselves time over the weekend to assess the situation and make the appropriate decision: wait and see how it will evolve in the coming days depending on the weather. We are “lucky” that this vintage is extremely early. The damage in terms of phenolic maturity of the grapes should be very minor. If it was a later year, like 2008, 2009 or 2010, the effects would be much worse.
" said Prats
The day starts before sunrise
Château Haut Brion and Château La Mission Haut Brion began harvesting their young Merlot vines on August 29. It’s early for the First Growth domain. To give you an idea of when Haut Brion started picking its young Merlot vines in 2010, September 8. In this vintage, the harvest continued until October 9.
Between the two properties of Pessac Léognan, with red and white grapes to pick, they have a busy schedule. Harvesters begin their day working on the grapes for their Bordeaux white wine, often starting their day before sunrise.
Jean-Philippe Delmas explains why they harvest early in the morning: “The goal of picking white grapes early in the morning is to ensure that the fruit stays fresh. This helps the berries retain their unique, fresh flavors. This year, we picked our white grapes between 7 a.m. and noon. The reason is that at this time of the day, the skin is dry. There is nothing left of the dew of the night. »
Château Lafite Rothschild began harvesting Cabernet Sauvignon from their northernmost plots, located not far from Château Cos d’Estournel, on Friday September 2. 2011. This is one of the first harvests recorded for the property. You will read quotes from many Bordeaux wine producers that 2011 Bordeaux, for many châteaux, will be their earliest harvest on record since 1893! However, producers located in certain districts of Bordeaux have brought forward their harvest calendars even earlier than expected.
Due to the enormous deluge and rain in the northern Médoc, centered near the border of Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe, to avoid possible rot problems, many châteaux in this vicinity decided to start picking sooner than they had originally planned. The most notable property is the famous Premier Cru, Château Lafite Rothschild. It is possible that the storm, which dropped half an inch of massive rain in a twenty-minute period, caused flooding in Lafite Rothschild's cellars.
“With our 2011 harvest, we harvested earlier because the cultivation of the vines was earlier than usual, due to the very hot spring. But the ripening weather conditions in summer were cool and cool, so the wine is of a cooler style than a late vintage. The pleasant weather conditions at the end of August and September were very good for phenolic maturity.” Fabien Teitgen from Château Smith Haut Lafitte.
Bordeaux 2011 /The earliest harvest recorded since 1893