In vineyards effectively almost two weeks ahead of schedule, the April frosts affected Château Rahoul in a scattergun fashion across several communes. While the vineyards around the Château and the Saint-Selve parcels were unscathed, others normally destined for the second wine, growing in more exposed areas, were badly affected. We worked tirelessly, taking into account the stage of development of each parcel, paying particular attention to the more fragile, frost-affected vines.
In the vineyards which escaped the frost, flowering was even. Ahead of schedule by nearly two weeks, it delivered on the promising start in March. After a brief heatwave, the summer weather was unsettled, alternating rain with hot sunshine and cool nights. But these swings in temperature are good for white grapes and promote slow ripening of red varieties, allowing them to develop optimum phenolic potential. Aware that the vintage was progressing earlier than usual, we were ready very early in the winery! The harvest kicked off with a parcel of Sauvignon Blanc on 28th August, notably early for Château Rahoul. The majority of our Semillons, picked early to preserve freshness, offer lovely aromas of apricots and tropical fruit.
The reds growing on sandy/gravel and gravel clay soils were picked in the middle of September, on similar dates to 2011, more than two weeks earlier than the norm. Volumes are lower than we had hoped at the beginning of the year but there is real quality with smooth, sweet Merlot and very appealing full-bodied, ripe Cabernet Sauvignons which will certainly leave their mark on this vintage.
Photos : © Studio Twin