Weinlese 2016 im Château Rauzan-Ségla

Wie viel Potenzial besitzt der Jahrgang 2016? Nachdem nun in den meisten Weingütern die Lese geschafft ist, geht es endlich in den Keller. Hier können die Beeren des Jahrgangs beweisen was wirklich in ihnen steckt.


Weil wir so gespannt sind haben wir unsere Kontakte aus aller Welt persönlich angeschrieben und die Weingüter zum Jahrgang 2016 befragt.

Das Château Rauzan-Ségla hat uns mit Erntebericht und Bildern versorgt – um unsere Neugierde zu stillen.

Château Rauzan-Ségla:

On October 15th the last grapes were picked at Château Rauzan-Ségla, a golden opportunity to review 2016 wine year and its characteristics.

The significant element of this vintage was undoubtedly water, omnipresent in the early season, suddenly absent this summer.

Despite having a positive impact on the mineralization of soils and their water reserves, persistent rains this winter and spring made it difficult for our wine growers. They also favor early onset of mildew and botrytris on leaves and twigs. Faced with this pressure, the leaf removal and thinning out become essential. To increase air movement in the fruit zone and to control the risk of propagation, we proceeded in a grape cluster thinning and de-leafing. Only leaves exposed to rising sun are concerned, a preventing measure against possible sunburn. Wise decision, as from mid-June the sun is back and it will never cease to shine.
An extreme summer due to a lack of water settles down. No notable raindrop waters the vines until the second week of September. Sure, summer 2016 is dry but not scorching as accumulated temperatures remain below 2015. In addition, the thermal amplitudes are rather significant, favoring the accumulation of anthocyanins and polyphenols as well as the aromatic enrichment of grapes.

Young plants on sandy soils are struggling. Water stress affects the ripening process. Their roots are not developed enough to reach groundwater. Older vines on the other hand are not in danger. Root systems well implanted in our gravely soils will easily find all the resources they need for their proper development. We must say that the water reserves are in pretty good shape. We observe the foliage of each plot. Healthy canopy is essential for the photosynthesis and thus for the fruit quality, seeing such green leaves put a smile on our faces.

Young plants, exposed vines at row ends and some plots of Merlots suffer sunburns. The skin of those scalded grapes is fragile, it loses its elasticity. On September 13rd after more than two months without a single drop of water our weather station recorded 36mm of rain. The grapes swell, a Merlot bleeds, the berries with copper color break easily out between your fingers.

Under the action of sun and wind, these berries imperceptibly spit are concentrating, they develop aromas of fig, plum and currants. Worried about preserving the aromatic freshness dear to us, tasting the grapes leads us to take an unprecedented decision in the history of Rauzan-Ségla: Merlots will be harvested in two sorting. Without delay, we train our teams. A first troop walks the rows and select tired clusters which will be vinified separately. Each time, they also drop dry or burnt berries which would never leave their land. Then a second team picks the remaining grapes, nice and juicy, they have a great freshness and the seeds have a nutty flavor.

Thus, in a very unusual way, we start the harvest on September 20th with the plots called Caillou Rouge 7 and Le Tertre. This year everything is turned upside down, we must reshuffle the cards: the young vines that traditionally open the ball of the harvest had to overcome water stress and are no longer the earliest.
The reception of the grapes in the cellars is also challenging. Due to this two stages picking it is hard to estimate the yield. We increase vats numbers and our work searching for more precision. On October, the 10th we start with Cabernet Sauvignons. Sorting is extreme but the result is great. The late season offered optimal ripening conditions to the grapes.

In the cellar the vinifications are adapted to the profile of each plot. For example, we reduce maceration time of the so-called “tired berries” and adapt the temperatures. Our best plots are harvested in the early morning to bring raw material back to the cellar at low temperatures. We maintain at this temperature and then increase it by one degree every 10 points of density.

The first musts tastings are promising. With reasonable alcohol levels and higher total acidity than last year, we feel a beautiful balance faithful to our philosophy. During blending, the delicacy foreseen of these lots should allow us to build an elegant wine without excesses.

The following tastings will evaluate our decisions. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure: By redoubling efforts and precisions in our selection such as in the vinifications, we provide the vintage the means to be great.

– Nicolas Audebert