Comments: Pierre Graffeuille
“First of all, contrary to a lot of other regions, Bordeaux was very lucky in 2016 to be spared the terrible effects of such things as hail or frost. Spring through to summer was cold and very rainy but we managed to avoid any rain during the crucial flowering period which went very smoothly. There was therefore no coulure. Summer was warm but without excessive heat with cool nights giving quite a big differential in the temperature between night and day. The real particularity of the summer of 2016 was the dryness – we had just 21mm of rain in total at Leoville Las Cases in July and August, practically nothing. Hydraulic stress was therefore a factor. Under such conditions, soils with elements of clay and vines with deep roots tend to resist better and don’t suffer from the block in the vegetative cycle.
Fortunately some saving drops of water fell in mid-September, just when we needed them and nature was kind to us right up until the end – once the autumn equinox passed, the weather became dry again and we were able to pick when we wanted thus waiting for the optimal maturity for each variety on the all the different plots. The harvest was therefore serenely spread over a long period. Sunny days were followed by cool nights giving perfectly balanced and healthy grapes. We started picking on September 26th and finished at Chateau Nenin on October 12th and October 19th at Leoville Las Cases and Potensac. With such an excellent maturity, the vinifications were relatively straightforward. Extraction happened quickly and we decided to limit the amount of pumping over towards the end of the fermentation and to avoid a longer than normal maceration.
Coming out of the vinification, the wines are powerful but elegant with a superb equilibrium and a juicy quality which almost makes you want to drink them now. The wines might shut down at some point – time will tell. The tannins are extremely silky and flavoursome. With all the varieties being of high quality, we are without doubt looking at an exceptional vintage for Bordeaux.”