What is the vintage effect?
Before understanding what the vintage effect is, it is necessary to know the word “vintage” itself. In oenology, the vintage is the year of harvest of the grapes used to produce the wine. The vintage effect refers to the factors that influence the quality of the wine. Indeed, there are many such factors, but they can be grouped into two categories: the influence of nature and that of Man. That’s why year after year, vintages are not the same.
On the one hand, favorable weather conditions are essential for the production of a great wine. An ideal weather? A cold and dry winter to get the vine to start over. Then, an early spring to allow the vine to develop early, because once its growth is finished, it will be able to devote itself entirely to the maturation of the grapes at the beginning of the summer. The summer must be warm, with a few small regular rains. All these elements together will allow the harvest to take place at the beginning of September. It is the ideal period for the harvest of the grapes.
On the other hand, the experience of the winegrowers and their expertise of the terroir are, just like the weather, essential elements for the success of the vintage. Knowledge of their vines, blending of the different plots, tasting and adjustment of the wines during the vinification… These exceptional skills are and will remain forever crucial.
Château Cantenac Brown: a look back at the greatest years
2009: It is a vintage marked by high degrees, fortunately compensated by a very nice freshness. The tannins are dense and the lots will make suave and refined wines, the balance is there. It is undeniably an exceptional vintage, it is a great Bordeaux.
2015: The year 2015 was both bright and cool, with ideal climatic conditions. They offer our wines a great aromatic expression, with present and delicate tannins.
2016: From the first rains in mid-September, the oldest vines shine. Ripening accelerates, the grapes are sun-drenched until the end of the harvest and are very healthy. The extractions are done gently, the colors and the tannins are released without effort and the seeds have a nutty taste. A beautiful flowering, a long and complete maturation of all the grape varieties, a healthy harvest under a radiant sun during the day and cool nights. Right degrees, perfect acidity, greedy tannins: the balance is there, noble, natural, without excess. A rare vintage.
2018: It is an unprecedented vintage, of very good quality. Before the harvest, the contrast of warm days and cold nights worked wonders, favoring aromatic and phenolic concentration. Each parcel reached a perfect maturity. The thick, ripe skins of the berries release an impressive color. Thus, this vintage combines concentration, roundness and balance.
2019: A great vintage to welcome the Le Lous family. Harvesting over four weeks, in excellent conditions even if it was necessary to juggle with the cloudy passages. The blending in the presence of Tristan Le Lous was refinedand the first tastings reveal a vintage of great class, fresh, dense and with delicate tannins.
The best vintages according to José Sanfins
If the quality of the wine of the recognized vintages (2009, 2015, 2019…) is strongly appreciated by the director of the Chateau, it is another element which defines for him a great year. Strongly linked to his teams with whom he has worked for many years, it is, according to José, the work done during the production of a vintage that defines its beauty.
Let’s look back at the 2002 vintage. Nature and weather conditions were not on their side, José and his teams worked hard to save the harvest and produce a wine of quality. He confides to us: “for this harvest we worked hard, it is this work and the emotion that comes out of it that defines for me the quality of the vintage”.
One thing is clear from this testimony: José Sanfins and his teams work hard every year to offer us an exceptional product. Emotion, passion, expertise: the keys to a great wine are all at Cantenac Brown.