2019 offers everything that a fine Saint-Emilion terroir can express in a typical Bordeaux year. Our capricious climate gives harmony and elegance to the wines. The winegrower’s role thus consists of making the most of a changeable spring and a scorching hot summer to obtain grapes that capture all of the vintage’s potential. The dominant characteristics among the property’s wines are freshness, generosity and a certain seductive appeal. This vintage offers wine enthusiasts a subtle balance between a wine for immediate pleasure and a wine for laying down.
CLIMATE AND VINEYARD
2019 was a year of contrasts, requiring a balancing act on the part of the team, and yet also revealing the intrinsic qualities of the Petit Val terroir.
The mild winter punctuated by rainy spells, resulting in a higher risk of disease and an early bud-break, required preventive work in the vineyard, which proved to be effective, and constant monitoring of the vines.
The spring flowering was delicate and continued over an extended period. Thanks to the valley’s well-ventilated terroirs and the limestone hillside, this crucial stage went well, despite a slight loss of potential yield.
The summer brought a dramatic change in the weather, boosting the collective motivation. In mid-July, the Bordeaux region experienced a heat wave, with daytime temperatures regularly exceeding 35°C.The natural coolness of the terroirs and the decision not to remove any leaves prevented the grapes being scorched by the sun. Luckily, August brought a little respite! Conditions enabled the vineyard to remain in perfect health. We knew at that point that the vintage had great potential.
FROM THE VINEYARD TO THE WINERY:
Despite a drop in yields and acidity, the superb weather in September kept the grapes in excellent health. The choice of harvest dates required precision and a rapid response once the decision had been made.
On 14 September, the snipping of secateurs began with a plot of Riesling, used in the production of the distinctive Petit Val cuvée. This white wine is produced from terroirs with specific characteristics, according to the rigorous standards of a grand vin.On Friday 20 September, some welcome rain rehydrated the grapes, improving yields without impacting the exceptional quality of the harvest.The following day, we picked the Merlot and Cabernet Franc plots destined for ROSE DU VAL. The challenge is the same as that for the white wines: to preserve the freshness of the aromas and flavours, and produce a well-balanced wine. For the red wines, we determined the optimal point between technological and phenolic maturity and harvested earlier than in previous years. The average yield of 35 hl per hectare after sorting for the entire vineyard reflects a focus on quality and the concentration of the fruit.
Harvesting methods: Since 2014, the grapes have been picked entirely by hand, sorted in the vineyard, and then carried in crates to a refrigerated truck stationed at the end of the plot. This transportation method keeps the grapes fresh and protects them against oxidation and rain.We favour unhurried, careful picking.
A small team of ten harvesters picks five rows at a time. The size of the team can easily be doubled if the grapes’ ripeness requires more rapid picking. Harvesting by plot enables us to separate the three different soil types, and the three red grape varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. When the harvest has reached the required temperature, the grapes are destemmed, and sorted first by size and then by their potential alcohol, using a densimetric system. A final sorting is carried out by hand to further refine the selection and remove any impurities.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE WINES: brightness, smoothness, balance
ROSE DU VAL.
The coolest and most well-ventilated plots were selected to create a rosé with a bright, pale pink colour, an expressive floral, fruity nose, and a velvety, ethereal palate, with notes of fruit paste and quince, offering a pleasant contrast between smoothness and freshness.
The blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc contributes to its balance.
After manual harvesting and sorting in early September, the grape juice is obtained by direct pressing. Fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled stainless-steel vats. The wine is made in such a way as to preserve bright, fresh aromas and flavours. Rose du Val is bottled at the beginning of the year.
CHÂTEAU PETIT VAL.
Vinified in temperature-controlled stainless-steel vats of a capacity between 40 and 50 hl, with pre-fermentation maceration. We conducted the vinifications in such a way as to develop the fruit’s freshness and crispness. The 2019 vintage is particularly generous and full-flavoured, with good acidity from the Merlot, while the Cabernet Franc brings concentration, more in terms of minerality than power. Pigeage (punching down the cap) is done by hand. The vinification process takes about a month. The 2019 blend consists of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc.
With Petit Val, we aim to produce a wine with a fresh, generous attack, good depth, smooth, well-coated tannins, and an attractive aromatic palette with ripe black fruit. The batches of Cabernet Franc offered superb freshness and contribute to the wine’s balance. A great vintage that is accessible in its youth, and will continue to improve for about ten years.
MUSE DU VAL.
The prestige cuvée from plots on the limestone hillside.
All batches are vinified entirely in vertical open-top barrels with capacities of 225 and 400 litres. After fermentation and maceration, draining and pressing, the cooper closes the barrels and refills them with the original wine. This process enables a more rapid, harmonious exchange between the wood and the wine’s tannins. The heatwave in July has not given the wine any cooked fruit notes. The musts presented tremendous potential, allowing us to obtain a little more structure without losing any freshness. The wine has a graphite, chalky character on the attack, progressing to black fruit on the mid-palate (bigarreau cherries) underscored with notes of pepper and liquorice. A particularly moreish wine, that can be drunk fairly quickly, but which has enough depth to keep for ten years or so. A distinguished, elegant wine.
MARGO, CUVÉE DE CŒUR
Produced in small quantities, this cuvée was created in 2018 at the initiative of Olivia Alloin. Cool plots give it a fresh, generous character. The cuvée de Coeur is vinified entirely in terracotta jars. The 2019 vintage conserves this style: preference is given to the purity of the fruit rather than tannic power. An appealing AOC Saint-Emilion, enjoyable when young, that quickly expresses its full potential.