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2019 in Bordeaux: An intense vintage

16 Jun 2020

Since the very first vintage back in 1978, the teams at Château Clarke have sought to promote and draw attention to the excellence of its terroir over the years. Edmond de Rothschild paved the way as a tireless advocate of its quality. Benjamin and Ariane de Rothschild have since continued to strive for the same excellence by ensuring that the vintage is provided with all the care and technical and human resources that it needs, from the vineyard to the cellar.

For the last 16 vintages, they have applied the same passion and dedication to Château des Laurets, a superb terroir acquired and developed by Benjamin de Rothschild in the northeast of Saint-Emilion, with the pair adopting the same winning mentality and visionary outlook here.

At both Château Clarke and Château des Laurets, on both the Left Bank and Right Bank, this 2019 vintage is the fruit of the steadfast care given to the soil and vines in order for them to reach their full potential.

For this particular vintage, characterised by its intensity, our teams have successfully navigated the management of the vineyard by circumventing the sometimes adverse weather conditions and optimising the more favourable ones. It’s true that the effects of climate change have had a significant impact on this cycle, with higher temperatures and less rainfall than average over the last 30 years.

Our teams rose to the challenge in the vineyards, responding to this increasing intensity of natural phenomena with their full attention and commitment every day, all year round. After a tumultuous start to the cycle – a mild winter with an early and rapid vine bud break; falling temperatures in the month of May stunting growth; frost events in April and May resulting in some losses; a rainy June disrupting flowering, coulure and millerandage and thus affecting anticipated volumes; as well as very high temperatures over summer, accompanied by peaks of heat waves – the latter part of the cycle was thankfully a calmer affair. From the end of August to late September, the vines benefited from a long-awaited combination of hot days and cool nights. The berries were generally small, yielding concentrated wines. The long overdue arrival of stable weather conditions made it possible for us to choose the optimum harvesting date for the plots without any stress, as well as to pick ripe clusters on a plot-by-plot basis. This veritable luxury was also a result of our teams’ innate understanding of the plants’ point of optimum ripeness, an indicator of teams in perfect symbiosis with their vines.

The 2019 vintage at Château Clarke – by Fabrice Darmaillacq (Head winemaker)
« Following an atypical 2018 – which had been superb for the estate – 2019 belonged to the collection of vintages affected by climate change, requiring winemakers to go above and beyond in order to produce excellent quality wines. They are certainly in shorter supply as a result of the climatic variations, but this limited production offers a perfectly mature concentration of anthocyanins and tannins. 2019 will be the vintage of intensity! ».

The 2019 vintage at Château des Laurets – by Fabrice Bandiera (Head winemaker)
« From the start of vinification, the first Merlot juices were superb and those of the Cabernet Franc were exceptional. After vinification, the wines burst with fresh black fruits to the precision of a rare elegance. A lovely intensity with supple, silky tannins and finesse from start to finish. The highly promising 2019 vintage to delight lovers of fine wine. »

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