Vintage 2012

Fresh, wet spring causes a rather late bud break. Until July, rain and humidity in the remain constant. These conditions encourage us to keep the seeds sown in the autumn of 2011. These same conditions allow us to limit the erosion of the soil, to guarantee the lift needed to pass the tools and  avoid the excessive vigor. Root work is partcularly beneficial in the spring when their growth is the strongest. Only the very weak parts of the vineyard, which need to be stimulated (eg the top of the plateau), are plowed already in the spring. The frost strikes the Cabernet Francs and the lower parts of the domain close to the wood. The harvest is already promising to be limited in volume in these areas which are already delayed in their cycle.

Disbuffing allows to correct the excess of growth and weight, and are done fairly quickly. Lifting requires some extra effort this year as the vine keeps on growing.

Paradoxically, this excessively rainy spring comes after two years of drought and allows the soils to reconstitute a part of the water reserves heavily deficient until then. At the same time, this growth suits well Château Clarisse whose plateau suffered from a serious lack of vigor. The abundance of water combined with previous composting and soil work allows us to find starting 2012 beautiful vines and better balance of vigor. It is the guarantee of being able to prune a little longer in 2013, and for the plant to improve the root reserves as well as its resistance to future water stresses.

The summer settles after a somewhat difficult flowering, marked by a significant but reasonable mildiou. Flowering takes about 15 to 20 days. In terms of maturity it is as much heterogenical from one grape to the other.  Therefore, we decide to intervene in « green » only when it comes to the presentation of harvest at first, putting an accent on the ventilation (leaf removal and suppression of harvest piles). We will wait until the end of the ripening to remove all the delayed grapes. This is now the only way to obtain a harvest with homogeneous maturity. It will be necessary to pass through the vines over and over again until the end of August to remove all the grapes that will have blossomed late.

The terroir of Clarisse is rather cold. Clays retain water and delay maturity of grapes. The rains of mid-September leave us fearing the botrytis, but luckily the work of harvest presentation, soil maintenance and leaf removal do not allow its installation. The skins are thick, the maturity requires time, it is an autumn vintage and must be harvested late.

With new parcels being added, it is now a veritable patchwork of terroirs that we must assemble ina vat-house. The grape profiles will be assembled according to their origin in terms of soil, they will react differently during the fermentations, we will be able to adjust the extractions at its best, and get the best out of each. Three major profiles are distinguished

Wine profiles depending on the soil type:

DEEP CLAY WITH MORE OR LESS IMPORTANT PART OF SILT:

Aromatic wines, large and powerful, without a particular finesse though, the body of the wine will provide an attack, volume and a good density. Maturity should be maximized to avoid rustic and angular tannins. The extraction must be lighter to avoid the seeds that are not necessarily ripe and could provide bad tannins. These merlots are to be picked at the very end.

Aging: In barrels originated from the forest of Jupille (forest of Bercé in the North-West of France). For their contribution to the attack, the silkiness of the mouth. An exemple of more creamy barrels that do not take over the fruity aspect and outline its « gourmand » character.

CLAY SOILS ON LIMESTONE SHELL

These less deep soils warm up and ripen faster. This is the most eroded part of the vineyard. The clays are all about the same, without the silt, and their lesser depth accelerates maturity. The roots do not or very little exploit the limestone. The grapes are very concentrated there, giving birth to the dense and tight wines, with aromas of very ripe fruits and spices. The mouth attack is centered and  the wine displays power and length once in the mouth. Extractions can be postponed.

Aging: In barrelsoriginated from the forest of Tronçais (region of Allier in the center of France). Barrels of very fine grains, with a very structuring quality to prolong the length of the wine in the mouths.

CLAY-LIMESTONE SOIL  OF TENDER LIMESTONE WITH FOSSILES

The Old Vines situated at the very top of the plateau marked by the maturity of the previous terroirs in a much more elegant and fine register. It is not necessary to intensify the extractions to make the wines more demonstrative, as it is more important to adjust its the balance in order to reveal the fineness of this limestone tannin. The aromas are floral and spicy. . The wines are generally acidic, dynamic, based on the length rather than on their mouth volume. The finishes are chalky and reveal a silky and tender tannin.

Maturing: In barrels with the lowest temperatures possible. To avoid the aromatic contribution of the barrel to especially reveal the complexity and elegance transmitted by the soil. Structure the wine by finewoods (such as Taransaud – Ana Selection – Atelier Center France) with medium to weak toasting, which prolong the wines without taking over their character.