The 2016 vintage combines all requisite characteristics for a great vintage: well-balanced flowering giving excellent fertilisation, a summer with a significant lack of water and intense sunshine, and late but balanced ripening. Grapes ripened in sunny conditions with marked thermal amplitudes, favouring the anthocyanin synthesis behind the wine’s deep colour. Water constraints became more moderate as harvest approached, with very little arrested maturity in the driest areas. Château Patache d’Aux’s vineyards were all harvested at optimal maturity with highly promising intrinsic potential. Only the driest areas of the gravel outcrop experienced physiological impact, forcing a harvest deficient in alcohol but with sound skin maturity. The vintage was more marked by climate impacts than terroir, with the quality of otherwise average plots enhanced during this particularly productive, high quality vintage!
From the vine to the glass
Given the optimal level of maturity of both skins and pulp, extraction phases were easy to manage, supported by pumping over and racking at the start of fermentation, to promote extraction of colour and tannins. The extraction phases were limited from mid-fermentation onwards. As polyphenolic potential was very high, the number of extractions was limited. Maceration phases on the marc were generally quite long, around 4 weeks for Cabernet and 3 weeks for Merlot, allowing for optimal coating of all extracted matter.
After fermentation and run-off, colour was deep and tannic charge high, requiring barrel maturing to refine the tannic structure. 2/3 of the volume of Patache d’Aux was matured for 14 months in French oak barrels – with a preference for cooperage styles favouring rich, deep structured wines – with 1/3 new barrels, 1/3 one-wine barrels and 1/3 two-wine barrels. 1/3 of the total Patache d’Aux volume was kept in vats for maturing, without wood and aeration, in order to preserve 2016’s fabulous fruit potential: the aroma panel went from fresh to cooked fruit, reflecting the diversity of our terroir.
“Beautiful deep color. A typical medocan nose. A good balance with complexity.”
Steven Spurrier’s tasting notes, Wine Critic.