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Château Mouton Rothschild:
"2012 was a year of contrasts. The winter was cold and very dry. The average temperature in February was the lowest for fifty years.
"April brought cool weather and abundant rainfall, while the weather in May and June was in-between. The flowering and veraison dates for Château Mouton Rothschild Cabernet Sauvignon were the same to the day as the average dates for all the vintages since 1962.
"Exceptionally dry conditions prevailed from 20 July to 20 September, concentrating sugar and tannins in the grapes. The month of August was the fifth driest in the last fifty years. By the end of September, the aggregate amount of rainfall was 26% lower than the average since 1962 (435 mm compared with 589 mm).
"Picking at Château Mouton Rothschild began on 1 October and ended on 15 October. 2012 will be a landmark year, since after almost three years of work the new vat room welcomed its first harvest.
"Rich, deeply colored, well-structured and very full-bodied, the 2012 vintage promises to be a great success."
Château Lynch Bages:
"Going both from mild to cold and wet to dry, this variable winter failed to make up the water
deficit that had accumulated over several years (35 mm between January and March as opposed to the average 130 mm).
"Following the coldest and driest February since 1956, the mild March prompted a slightly early budburst: 30th March for the Merlots and 4th April for the Cabernets.
"This advance was only temporary, for the cool rainy spring considerably slowed down the
vegetative growth, incurring a delay of around ten days to the “separated cluster” stage.
"Summer got back into full swing from 15th July onwards, bringing hot, dry weather with the
occasional peak in temperature until 24th September. With only 7 mm of rain in two months, the water shortfall continued to increase.
"Green harvesting was carried out towards the end of August to cut the clusters that
still displayed end-of-cycle heterogeneousness. In the end, the gap between the maturity of the clusters gradually disappeared as harvesting approached.
"Early October went on to see a drop in temperatures and the onset of wet weather. This led to harvesting restarting for the Cabernet Franc on 11th October and for the Cabernet Sauvignon on 13th October (almost 20 days later than in 2011). The maturity of the grapes picked was at last homogeneous with a good phenolic potential and considerable acid/alcohol balance."
Phenological data The 2012 vintage plays like a foxtrot – in four defined steps…
1. Following a cold dry winter, a cool, wet spring made the flowering process difficult and threatened some Merlot vines with “coulure”.
2. As cool temperatures persisted until the beginning of July, we kept an extra careful eye on the vineyard and fought the onset of diseases (mildiou, oïdium). The team remained on hand throughout the summer to carry out leaf thinning and other early work. A protracted and uneven “véraison” period forced us to complete a second green harvest in order to eliminate unripe bunches.
3. The month of August had the advantage of wide temperature ranges with hot days; as sunny as in 2000 or 2009, with highs of 39°C during the second fortnight, and cool nights. All which favour the synthesis of anthocyanin. Traditional tilling of the soil allowed better management of hydric stress from mid-August onwards, as the continued good condition of the leaves testified.
4. At the end of a summer-like month of September, a few millimeters of rain on September 25th and 26th helped to re-kindle the ripening of the grapes, which led to the sublimation of the fruity character of the skins and the softness of the tannins.
Harvest The harvest started when the phenological maturity (tannins) caught up with the technical maturity (sugar, acidity). The Merlots were picked from September 27th to October 8th, little by little in ideal conditions. The weekend of October 7th was especially hot and wet (97% hygrometry), causing us to quicken the pace and pick the Cabernets before the return of the rain. The Merlots were pleasant and full of charm. The Old Vines delivered splendid Cabernets, typical of the great terroir of Haut-Bailly. In general, the grapes were small and concentrated, bright and aromatic with excellent extractability level. They were vinified gently at low temperatures for 25 days.
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