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The production of a second wine probably goes back to the beginning of the XVII century because it is inseparable from the search for excellence which started at that time. Sold under the name of “Château Margaux 2nd wine”, it took its permanent name of Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux in 1908. After an eclipse between the thirties and the mid-seventies, its production restarted on the arrival of André Mentzelopoulos in 1977 and at first greatly increased in order to improve the quality of the first wine. From the mid - 1990s, the creation of a third wine in its turn, allowed for a more and more rigorous selection for Pavillon Rouge. For a few years now, a third of the harvest has gone into the first wine, barely 30% into the Pavillon Rouge, and the remainder is divided between the third and fourth wines.
The quality of Pavillon Rouge has become very close to that of the first wine because all the plots involved contributed to the blending of Château Margaux not so long ago.
Just like in 2009, grapes were harvested between the 23rd of September and the 15th of October. The entire vineyard benefited from excellent weather conditions, yet not all plots seem to have capitalised on this. The Merlot and the Cabernet planted in the most clayey soils reached high alcohol levels, which tended to affect their finesse rather than their balance. We blended them in the third wine, which is both larger in volume (24% of the crop) and better than it has ever been.
It is the first time that the Pavillon Rouge, which made up 38% of the crop, accounts for the same proportion as the first wine. This selection reflects the even higher standards we have set for Pavillon Rouge. It is indeed no longer a second wine but rather a different blend of the first one, with truly comparable tannic power.
66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot: while these are practically the same proportions as in 2009, the quality is quite possibly superior. Never before has Pavillon Rouge come so close to Château Margaux. (April 2011)
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 decidedly chillier than those of 2005, which totalled 1052°C. These cool temperatures had a substantial influence on the balance of our wines, preserving a good level of acidity and attractive aromatic freshness.
Very little rainfall (only 267 mm) from March to August 2010 generating a drought of similar intensity to that of 2005, when only 227mm of rain fell.
Another feature of the 2010 vintage is the low temperatures above all in the first three weeks of August, which made for the preservation of good levels of acidity in the grapes while also maintaining attractive aromatic freshness.