Chateau Chasse Spleen 2011: A Wine Maker’s Perspective

Chateau Chasse Spleen 2011: A Wine Maker’s Perspective

It has been almost 15 years since we’ve had a harvest under such stressful circumstances. During the summer months there was a little bit of scalding because of the very hot spring we had here in France. This in turn led to slight water stress. Then in July, there was torrential rain with most of our crops eventually settling down in the autumn.

The harvest started a little bit earlier this year, but it was particularly important to follow their levels of maturity little by little.

We, as a wine producer took a bit of a gamble this year, taking the risk of waiting for full maturity, as the eventual rot began to set in.

In the sequential weeks and with a great deal of care, we started sorting the berries.

It was pretty stressful to be honest but the way we work is to harvest each row separately, first harvesting the cabernet sauvignon and then the Merlot and I would say that we are very happy with the outcome. It’s always a gamble sometimes you win some sometimes you lose some but its all part of the fun for us.

I think what the year 2011 has taught us is to remember back to the mid-90s. It is almost as if we had forgotten that in the 90s there were equally, if not worse conditions that we faced with this crop. So we still have our previous experience of dealing with that, and of course, our pride as a wine producer because ultimately; we took advantage of harsh times that were presented to us and produced an outstanding vintage in less than perfect conditions. 

So how does the wine taste?

Chateau Chasse Spleen 2011 is a wine that is still very young, but one I have confidence in ageing well. There is always going to be a balance between the three essential components; acidity, tannins and sugars. So for that reason I would say that it is obviously below the quality of the 2009, but remain something of a very balanced, very classic and very Bordeaux wine.

One of the advantages I think is that this wine will be fine to drink much younger. It is often said that good vintages need 10 years to reach their prime, which is definitely not the case for smaller vintages. My estimates with this wine in particular would be that it’s good to drink in the next two or three years, so we don’t have long to wait.

If you are a bit of a wine buff or have tried the 2011 Chateau Chasse Spleen please let us know in the comments below.

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