And what if this year, often disparaged, was finally preparing for us beautiful surprises by making Rouget 2013 exceptional?
Admittedly, Nature played us like a fiddle and complicated the task even more. During vegetative cycle, we fought against the elements, the diseases and vine's whims. At Rouget we rarely spent as much time to rebuild and restore what was demolished by rains, storms or winds. Never had we walked that much in vineyards, because the soils were too soft to enter with tractor. Our viticultural practices that combine biological and biodynamical principles and, most crucial in 2013, simple farmer's wisdom, contributed much to produce interesting grapes with great potential. We had to read the sky, to understand the reactions of the vine and to anticipate and suppress any disease at its very beginning.
Exhausted but happy about our work between April and September, we started harvesting our young Merlot in early October. Not a single time the health of vineyards has determined our agenda. We reasonably expect the optimal maturity that this vintage may offer. Certainly, the structure of the berries is not at the level of famed 2009 or 2010, but we were far from the foretold disaster.
The core of our vinification approach was pragmatism and permanent monitoring. Short cuvaisons, slow fermentations with indigenous yeasts and soft extractions not to brutalise this fragile vintage.
Gravelous soils mixed with clay. This soil composition, combined with an exceptional exposure, confers all the typicity, elegance and finesse to Château Rouget wines.
85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc
Planting density: 3 000 vines per acre / 7 500 vines per hectare
Average age of vines: 40 years
Vineyards are farmed sustainably, using practices such as cover crops and ploughing.
Grapes are manually picked and carefully transported in small 20 kg crates. Harvest occurs in several steps, in order to secure an optimal maturity level. Bunches are sorted a first time as soon as they arrive in the cellar. Then, once the grapes are fully destemmed, they go through another double sorting table.
Each parcel is vinified separately, 40% of grapes are fermented in barrels and 60% oak vats, then the wine us aged for 18 months in oak barrels (33% new). The wine is fined traditionally, using fresh egg white.
(Tasted in September 2015)
Appearance: Intense ruby red colour with purple reflections.
Nose: Elegant black fruit notes with exquisite and spicy and truffle touch.
Palate: Beautifully delicate, with subtle flavours of black fruit and plums that embrace the palate while keeping pleasant freshness on the finish.
Ageing Potential: more than 20 years. We recommend to wait for 10 to 12 years for this wine to express itself.