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.
The terroirs dedicated to Le Carillon de Rouget are more aerial than the ones selected for Château Rouget. This, combined with the relative youth of the vines, compared to the ones of the Grand Vin, result in earlier ripening and give the wine its roundness and appealing character.
85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc
Planting density: 3 000 vines per acre / 7 500 vines per hectare
Average age of vines: 20 years
Vineyards are sustainably farmed, using practices such as cover crops and ploughing.
Grapes are harvested by hand, in small 20kg crates. Each plot is harvested individually in order to ensure optimal ripeness of the entire crop. Grapes are then sorted carefully.
Grapes from different parcels are vinified separately in stainless steel tanks, then aged in oak barrels (second fill) for 18 months. This vintage was bottled on a fruit day according to the lunar calendar, to allow the wine to express itself fully.
(Tasted in Septembre 2015)
Appearance: ruby red with the purple reflections
Nose: Very elegant with red and black fruit aromas.
Palate: Beautiful attack featuring ripe fruit flavours, silky texture and refreshing tannins. Long and tasty finish.
Ageing Potential: 10 years