Renewing an ancestral tradition in the Médoc, in the early 1980s Philippine de Rothschild decided to plant a few acres of the vineyard with white grape varieties.
The sandy, gravelly soil is planted with Sauvignon Blanc (53%), Semillon (35%), Sauvignon Gris (11%) and Muscadelle (1%), with a density of 9,000 vines per hectare. 50% of the wine is matured in new oak barrels. Rich, complex and elegant, Aile d’Argent, despite being produced in very limited quantity, has quickly become a standard-setter for lovers of fine Bordeaux white wines.
Aile d’Argent, a children’s story
Let us read these lines written by Philippine de Rothschild, telling us the story of a name rich in memories.
“Aile d’Argent… Two unusual words that floated up from the depths of time, a link between the past and present, between my father Baron Philippe de Rothschild and myself. When I was a little girl, my father made up a fairy tale for me, the hero of which was a magic teapot. Its incredible adventures enchanted me and beguiled my childhood. The teapot was called Aile d’Argent, Silver Wing.
War broke out and my father was arrested. In prison, from memory, he wrote down the story, which he called Aile d’Argent la Magique (Magical Silver Wing), the title under which it was published by Gallimard in 1947.
Aile d’Argent… I am glad that the words which once inspired my dreams are taking on form and colour again.”
Bordeaux Vintage Report 2005 is a truly fantastic vintage with great quality across the board on both the Left and Right Banks.
The 2005 vintage became the most expected since 2000. The en primeur market was heated, and prices skyrocketed. The cold winter delayed the bud break before the hot ans dunny spring broke up. Even vegetative growth and flowering gave a perfect start to the vintage. The summer turned out to be one of the driest ever which was avoiding disaster since the weather remained reasonably warm not excessively hot as in 2003. The soil is again becoming a decisive quality factor. Gravelly areas, such as Graves, were worst affected once more. In other words, top wines are to be expected.
For short term perspective, in the next couple of years, an excellent amount of mature red Bordeaux wines will be available in the market. The vintages 2004, 2002, 1999, 1994, 1992 and 1988 offer a wide selection of enjoyable wines to be consumed immediately or at most to be stored for a short period.
As investments, the best vintages from the past 35 years are 2003, 1996, 1989, 1986 and 1982. The most certain long-term investments are Latour, La Mission Haut-Brion, Haut-Brion, Le Pin and Pétrus.
In the last 35 years, Bordeaux has undergone a substantial change in winemaking. Modern equipment and developing know-how have guaranteed more even quality. It seems that the next challenge will be handling the extreme climates including slowly global warming, which has already given hints of its effects also in Bordeaux. It is impossible to say how the Bordeaux wines will change in the next 35 years. We can only hope that their most characteristic feature, elegant aristocratic nature highlighted by unique terroir, will never fade away.