Press release - 2011 Vintage


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Press release - 2011 Vintage

  1. 1. Press PackVintage2011Press Contact:Lettres de ChâteauxMarie-Stéphane Malbec12, rue d’Enghien - 33000 Bordeaux - Francemarie-stephane.malbec@wanadoo.frTel: +33 (0)5 56 44 63 50 - Fax: +33 (0)5 56 44 69 45
  2. 2. Summary2011 harvest in BordeauxA crazy vintage 32011 vintage in the Bordeaux appellationsChâteau Cantemerle, Grand Cru Classé en 1855 - Haut-Médoc 4Château Marquis de Terme, Grand Cru Classé en 1855 - Médoc 5Château Pédesclaux, Grand Cru Classé en 1855 - Pauillac 7Château Talbot, Grand Cru Classé en 1855 - Saint-Julien 10Château Belle-Vue, Château de Gironville, Crus Bourgeois - Haut-Médocand Château Bolaire, Bordeaux Supérieur 13Château Lilian Ladouys, Cru Bourgeois - Saint-Estèphe 15Château Paveil de Luze, Cru Bourgeois - Margaux,and Pont Rouge du Paveil - Bordeaux 18Château de Lamarque - Haut-Médoc 21Château Carbonnieux, Grand Cru Classé - Graves 23Château de Rouillac - Pessac-Léognan 24Château Soutard - Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé 26Château de Pressac - Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 27Château Rouget - Pomerol 28Château La France, Bordeaux Supérieur 30Château Guiraud, Grand Cru Classé en 1855 - Sauternes 322010 vintage in LanguedocVignobles Lorgeril - Languedoc 342011 vintage in ProvenceChâteau Lauzade - Côtes de Provence 362011 vintage in Burgundy« Pleasure first and foremost » 38Maison Louis Jadot - Burgundy 392011 Vintage in foreign vineyards, Languedoc and Barons deRothschild (Lafite) EstatesChâteau d’Aussières - Corbières 40Viña Los Vascos - Chile 40Bodegas Caro - Argentina 4120112011 vintage in LebanonChâteau Marsyas 42 2
  3. 3. 2011 harvest in BordeauxA crAzy vintAgeDecidedly, the 2011 vintage will remain in wine growers’ memories as oneresembling nothing previously encountered. Because of the year’s unpredictableand capricious weather, the mood in the cellars of Bordeaux swung betweenfear and hope. For more than 6 months, at times anxious, at others ecstatic,winemakers scanned the skies, without doubt examining their vines with as muchconcern as a gardener inspecting his roses every morning.Winter began with the normal cold snap, but by February spring had arrived tostay. By April, even summer had made its appearance, with unprecedented heatlasting until June. The first six months of 2011 were the warmest in Bordeauxin the past 60 years. At the same time vineyards received only a third of theusual rainfall for the period.In July the situation changed completely, with the coldest recorded temperaturesfor that month in thirty years halting the spectacular progress the vegetationhad undergone in the wake of early flowering at the beginning of May. Light rainshowers cooled the dried-out vineyards, though they also brought the risk ofunwelcome rot. August proved averagely warm, with its customary thunderstormsputting increased pressure from cryptogrammic parasites upon the vines. Thegood winegrower had to work relentlessly in the vineyard, getting as much airas possible to the grapes and treating when necessary.September began poorly. There was more rain and low morale among growers. Thenanother dramatic change came on September 10th with summer’s sudden return,followed by three weeks of perfect sun and very hot days.Médoc châteaux benefitted the most (as their Cabernets were harvested withperfect ripeness) as did Saint-Emilion producers who had waited for blue skiesand optimal grape maturity.In short, the 2011 Bordeaux vintage was one of the earliest in history, withthe first whites being picked on August 18th and the entire harvest beingcompleted before the end of September at some of Pauillac’s most prestigiousCrus.Most probably the wines will not be comparable to the three previous years,which are more consistent and marked by a different climatic conditions,2011although one thing remains certain: dry white and, above all, sweet whitewines did not suffer from the weather. 3
  4. 4. Philippe Dambrine,Managing Director of Château Cantemerle,Grand Cru Classé en 1855 - Haut-Médoc,Château Haut-Corbin, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé,Château Grand Corbin, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classéand Château Le Jurat, Saint-Emilion Grand CruWe certainly won’t forget the 2011 vintage.At first it looked like being a very early year, then became complicated andcapricious, and finally delivered surprising quality.The weather in a few words: three months of drought from April to June, peaktemperatures in July, then cool but dry conditions in August, followed by a fewlocalised thunderstorms as the harvest approached. The harvest came in with asmall yield about ten days ahead of the normal date. After meticulous sorting,the grapes produced exceptionally rich wines. Very intense colour, concentratedand mature tannins and good acidity.The wines that are now in the cellar have everything to age well. The way theymature in barrel will, nevertheless, be the determining factor to give the truedimension of this very fine vintage in the making.2011 4
  5. 5. Ludovic David,General Manager of Château Marquis de Terme,Grand Cru Classé in 1855 - MargauxDavid Houdet, Vineyard ManagerJulien Brahmi, Cellar MasterThe vintage was marked by problematic weather conditions, including drought,high temperatures, hail and excess water in August. Solid vineyard management,however, such as the right pruning strategy, regulated leaf removal, and carefulthinning out on certain parcels, enabled us to obtain good maturity and meet thequality targets we had set ourselves.Since the beginning of October 2010, average rainfall in the Gironde had been amere 660 mm. In spite of heavy rains, there was an overall deficit exceeding 250mmcompared to the thirty-year average.The exceptionally mild spring, with April temperatures averaging 15.5°C, encouragedrapid, early growth. The first leaves emerged in April, roughly ten days earlierthan in recent years. The first flowers in early May, as well as initial verasionat the beginning of July, confirmed that we were 2 to 3 weeks ahead of schedule.July and August weather, however, slowed veraison. Recorded rainfall during thesetwo months proved higher than the seasonal average, with temperatures remainingcool. Summer changed things and the vintage was not as early as might have beenpredicted. A summer-like spring and a spring-like summer made this vintageviticulturally very distinctive indeed.For David Houdet, Vineyard Manager, “This year’s weather made vineyard monitoringcomplicated. Hail did not spare the vines when it hit on May 9th, ripping someleaves in early flowering, then again on June 4th, causing much more damage to thewhole property. We also observed significant coulure on the Merlots and Cabernets,probably due to cool nights and very hot days (2 to 3° higher than average).Lack of water produced a small yield, particularly for the Cabernet. From Julyto September there was more rain and less sun. The success of this vintage wasdown to the excellent condition of the grapes, which enabled us to wait for theoptimal time to harvest: September 15th.”The threat of grey rot remained serious following the August rains and it wasimportant to take calculated risks between the balance of maturity and thedevelopment of grey rot already present in late August.2011 5
  6. 6. We began harvesting the Merlot on September 20th, continuing until the afternoonof the 22nd in fine sunshine.We stopped for a full week and began once again on Friday, September 30th for thePetit Verdot. On October 3rd we turned our attention to the Cabernet Sauvignon;this way we were able to take a good break after the Merlot harvest to wait foroptimal maturity that was crucial for the Cabernet Sauvignon in 2011. We wererewarded with fine smooth tannins.The week of the 26th to the 30th September saw the return of summer-liketemperatures, (ranging from 23°C to 30°C), which blocked all progress of greyrot and completed the ripening process.The Cabernet Sauvignon harvest from October 3rd to the 6th took place in perfecttemperatures, enabling us to obtain excellent maturity.For Julien Brahmi, Cellar Master, “Our sorting system, based on densityand putin place in 2009, fully demonstrated its role this year, particularly on theMerlot. Most were fully matured but the ripening was uneven, so we were ableto eliminate some pink berries immediately. More than ever, the harvestingstrategy, as well as perfect control over state-of-the-art techniques, producedbeautiful, colourful wines with good structure and mature tannins. 2011 was asomewhat complicated yet promising vintage.”For Ludovic David, General Manager, “2011 once again proved that terroir qualityis key in these atypical years. The team effort at Château Marquis de Terme,coupled with the patience required to obtain full maturity, places this vintagein line with its older brothers, 2009 and 2010.”With its excellent fruit and balance, the 2011 should provide very enjoyabledrinking over the years to come, joining other great Margaux wines with longageing potential.2011 6
  7. 7. Vincent Bache-Gabrielsen,Technical Manager of Chateau PédesclauxGrand Cru Classé en 1855 - Pauillac2011, A technicAl chAllengeGeneral Characteristics of the 2011 VintageExtremes of weather and rare early development characterised the 2011 vintage.An exceptionally hot, dry spring (the warmest on record for the past 50 years)enabled the first flowers to make their appearance four weeks ahead of schedule.Vineyard growth, however, slowed until mid July due to water stress, requiringflexibility during green operations when the work had to be staggered andrepeated.Scorching hot days were a feature of 2011 (maximum highs of 39°C on June 26thand 27th), which led to light scorching of some of the Cabernet Sauvignon. Julyand August brought mixed weather, July being cool and rainy, whereas August washot and sunny, bringing with it gradual maturation.Vineyard ManagementKey Word: adapt.The unstable weather meant we had to keep constant watch over the vineyard, withdecisions changing from day-to-day on how best to manage the canopy.Special vigilance also had to be maintained regarding botrytis; because of extremegrape sensitivity, we began leave removal on the second side in August.Heavy rainfall on September 1st was followed by moderate temperatures that leadto good skin and pip maturation, as well as the development of intense, complexaromas. At that point, technical ripeness (sugar/acid ratio) was then close tophenolic ripeness.2011 7
  8. 8. HarvestFavourable weather conditions throughout the campaign meant that the 2011 vintageproved exceptionally early and we started harvesting 15 to 17 days earlier thanusual.We picked the Merlot from September 12th through to September 21st, the CabernetFranc from September 14th to 22nd and, finally, the Cabernet Sauvignon fromSeptember 21st until September 27th.The aim was to pick as quickly as possible, sequencing from one variety toanother. It was essential to take advantage of the small window of opportunitybetween perfect maturity and the arrival of botrytis. Huge stress for a veryencouraging result!New for 2012: tailored harvesting. On one plot we actually harvested the middlebefore the sides. Moreover, following the pedological study we carried out in2010, we selected each type of soil and zoned the areas based on vine growth.Following the excellent results of recent years, we again harvested by hand,using shallow 8kg crates, and then put the grapes into cool storage for 24 hrsto reduce and even out the temperature.We then had the crop carefully sorted (before and after soft de-stemming) by ateam of 40 people. This eliminated every green berry that had not ripened due tothe extreme heat, which blocks the ripening process.VinificationThis year, we maintained gravity vatting without crushing the grapes. We beganthis method in 2009 to avoid grape trituration, enhance the fruit and obtain softtannins by gentle, progressive extraction. We also ran off the vats and punchedthe cap during fermentation.In 2011, we wanted to go further with the gravity system, so we also funneled2011100% of the wines into barrel by gravity. 8
  9. 9. MaturingFor the 2011 vintage we used 60% of new barrels and 40% of barrels already usedfor one wine. We work with 7 different barrel makers which, in turn, will alsocontribute to enhancing the fruit.2011, A New Level of Quality AttainedIn 2009, the technical team began laying the groundwork with a massive programme ofwork in the vineyard. But it is only when the vintage is technically challenging,as in 2011, that we can really measure what the current team has achieved. ForPedesclaux, the 2011 has kept its promise: the result of our work transcends thevintage.Although 2009 and 2010 were unanimously acclaimed, 2011 is denser and morepowerful. The high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in theblend has enabled us to obtain more power and intensity, thus enhancing the fruitand the finesse of the tannins, so characteristic Pédesclaux’s terroir.The qualitative revolution at Pédesclaux is thus well under way. The 2011, ismore accomplished than 2009 and 2010 and stands up to comparison brilliantly.Wine CharacteristicsChâteau Pédesclaux: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet FrancFleur de Pédesclaux: 100% MerlotProportion: 60% of the harvest went into the Grand Vin and 40% into the secondwine.Le Haut-Médoc de Pédesclaux: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot2011 9
  10. 10. Christian HosteinVineyard Manager of Château Talbot,Grand Cru Classé en 1855 - Saint-Julien de BeychevelleThe vines’ extraordinarily early phenologic state, in particular thedate of mid-flowering (May 12th), is closely linked to the atypicalspring that we experienced in 2011.Between April and May there were 61 days of fine, dry weather, and thevines took full advantage of them to develop!Subsequently, in the key month of June, vegetation slowed and July andAugust took its toll on vines that had shallow root systems or were onshallow terroirs.Fortunately, after growth had fallen back in June, fine autumn-like rainprovided deep soils with humidity. In certain cases the vines were ableto renew their growth cycles.We had to adapt our methods by constantly monitoring and adapting workin the vineyard in particular, cutting back the intense growth thatwould be detrimental to quality - at least that is what we tried todo!On a beautiful, sunny September 23rd we picked the Petits Verdots, whichwere at their peak; the fine Cabernets on the plateau would be ready thefollowing week.Yesterday, at the first “official” tastings of the Merlots we had aglimpse of good things to come (fullness, fat and opulence from oldMerlot vines, reminiscent of 2005).In short, 2011 was heavily influenced by the break in the weather inJune. Between April and May our wine-growing operations (leaf-thinning)responded to an almost Mediterranean type of development in the vines,whereas the months of July and August, with very typical maritime weatherconditions were more in line with what we are used to in Bordeaux. Talbot, Friday 23rd September 20112011 10
  11. 11. As the year ends, it is time to assess the 2011 vintage and draw someconclusions.In early December, we were happy to see beneficial rains and southwesterlywinds had returned to the Médoc. These are so necessary to the vines’health and are the link between the forest-covered dunes and vineyardsalong the estuary. The year closes, however, with a significant shortfallin precipitation (approximately 500 mm) and we predict a rainy winterto refill the water table.January: 26 mm May: 26 mm September: 42 mmFebruary: 50 mm June: 32 mm October: 41 mmMarch: 36 mm July: 59 mm November: 24 mmApril: 11 mm August: 72 mm December: 50 mm to dateN.B: July and August were the most ‘generous’ months!The harvest was completed on September 28th, with nicely ripe CabernetSauvignon on the plateau. The yield was limited by the year’s specificclimatic constraints: spring drought putting significant stress on thevines, early flowering followed by a heat wave that sometimes causedscorching (June 26th: 40°C).The wines are now in new barrels that are housed in our brand newcellars.Blendings are planned for January and unless we get advice from ourconsultant oenologists to the contrary, things seem quite defined, withthe noble terroirs seeming to have performed better than lesser plots, as2011’s exceptional weather highlighted water management as an essentialelement in great vineyards.2011 11
  12. 12. Harvest Dates:7th – 8th – 9th September: Harvest of Merlot plots and trials of a newreception machine with automatic bin-flipping capability.12th – 13th – 14th – 15th – 16th September: Picking of best Merlots andCabernet Sauvignons.20th – 21st – 22nd – 23rd: Cabernet Sauvignon harvested around the Talbotplateau.26th – 27th –28th: Cabernet Sauvignon on the plateau were harvested. Talbot, Tuesday 20th December 20112011 12
  13. 13. Isabelle MulliezManager of Château Belle-Vue, Cru Bourgeois - Haut-Médoc,Château de Gironville, Cru Bourgeois - Haut-Médoc,Château Bolaire, Bordeaux Supérieur,Jean-Michel Marle, Operations Director,Vincent Bache-Gabrielsen, Technical manager2011, A demAnding vintAge!Exceptional weather2011 was marked by an outstanding hot and dry spring, which led to afast and early growth of the vine. First buds appeared more than fourweeks in advance, compared with average year.Nevertheless, the important hydric restrictions slowed down the vine’sgrowth and from May the vegetation began stagnating. Hence operationsduring the vine’s growth were tactful, with repeated and laid tying-up.The heat wave during 26th & 27th of June (+39°C) had an impact onMacau’s soils with a scald on Cabernet Sauvignon (Dryness of berriesand several stalks).July and August were contrasted with a decrease of earliness. Veraisonwas fast for Cabernets Sauvignons but certain berries, blocked, didn’tripen.Berries’ sensitivity to Botrytis (skin with a sign of high membranouspermeability) plus rainy days (1st of September) led to a strong localpressure on certain plots.Thanks to high minimal temperatures during the early fifteen days ofSeptember, skin’s maturation was fast: technologic maturity of berrieswas closer to phenolic maturity than in 2009 and 2010 (gap of a fewdays).The precocity of 2011 vintage was assessed 15 to 17 days, compared toyear 2010 (harvest dates).2011 13
  14. 14. Dense harvest, varieties coming in a pretty close agendaFrom September 10th to 26th, Merlots Noirs were harvested, then CabernetsSauvignons from Sept 22nd to 1st of October, finally Petits Verdots fromSept 26th to 1st of October.Due to berries’ sensitivity to botrytis, we had to manage risks realtime, anticipating, reacting quickly and harvesting between the stateof willing maturity and the sanitary damage of grapes. Pretty stressfulfor a promising result!2011 was favorable to Cabernets Sauvignons and Petits Verdots whichenjoyed good weather in September and endured well the exceptionalhydric constraints. Some Merlot may suffer hydric stress before reachingfull maturity.At cellar, we did a drastic selection to eliminate green berries (du toheat wave). Wine making is long with cold pre-ferment maceration, (<5°Cduring more than 3 weeks). Then, alcoholic fermentation is exclusivelymanaged by gravity release (no pumping-over). Final phase, a long postferment maceration around 25 days at 28°C.Everything was done to value and express the full potential of berries.Total maceration in vats is around 8 to 9 weeks, ensuring wine stabilityand high quality of tannins.Our capacity to make audacious choices is worth again. Wines showsuperb tannins concentration and density. Thanks to the power and highproportion of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, these wines arepromising to be among the best wines in the area.ReportVariable climatology along 2011 led to a dynamic vineyard management.Thanks to a perfect control of each step, wines’ potential was expressed.A new year with great achievement.Wines with a deep personality, flavored and sweet, in the three properties.2011A true class which perpetuates the excellence goal left by VincentMulliez. 14
  15. 15. Vincent Bache-Gabrielsen,Technical Manager of Château Lilian LadouysCru Bourgeois – Saint-Estèphe2011, A rock’n roll vintAgeGeneral Characteristics of the 2011 VintageThe 2011 vintage, which turned out to be the hottest year in Francesince 1900,will be remembered for its extremes of weather.Spring proved hot, dry and sunny, leading to very quick, early vinegrowth to the extent that flowering occurred 4 weeks earlier thanusual.At the beginning of May, significant hydric stress slowed growth.Consequently, we had to be extra careful regarding ‘green’ operations,repeating and staging the work.Due to very contrasting weather in July and August, veraison occurred intwo phases but from July 20th, thanks to favorable weather conditions,it was quick and consistent for the Cabernet Sauvignon.In the vineyardThroughout the 2011 vintage, we had to work fast and be vigilant.Because of the mild weather, any green operation sparked off debate:should we remove leaves or not? On both sides? Or only one? Everyday threw our decisions into question. We also had to contend withthe presence of botrytis and the skins’ particular sensitivity to itrequired special care.Hail and heavy rains hit the south and east sectors of the Saint Estèpheappellation on September 1st. As our plots are fragmented, we managed tolimit the impact of the damage and although there was some berry burstamong the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon on certain plots, which led to2011smaller yields, fortunately they were not downgraded. 15
  16. 16. We decided, however, to begin harvesting on September 3rd, to bring inthe slightly damaged Merlot – something that required a rapid responsefrom the technical team, because we had to complete preparation of thecellars within 36 hours and call in all the teams to be able to harvestas of the weekend of September 3rd and 4th.HarvestThus, we began harvesting the Merlot from September 3rd, 2011 until the16th, the Cabernet Franc on September 13th and 14th and, finally, theCabernet Sauvignon from September 13th to 23rd.The challenge was to harvest each variety in as short time a time aspossible, obtaining desired maturity but getting the grapes in beforethey could be spoiled. Careful sorting was necessary, however, beforeand after destalking.VinificationWork, speed and investment were the year’s leitmotifs!We had to bleed the tanks several times to obtain high quality wines.The more mature Merlot turned out to be very good in this particularvintage but the best was the Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested during thesecond half of September, which provided truly excellent wines.AgeingThis year we are using 35% new barrels, which should improve our wines.We have had such remarkable results with Burgundy coopers, such asFrançois Frères or Cadus, that we contracted some of them for the 2011vintage.2011 16
  17. 17. 2011: when flexibility rhymes with successAbove all, 2011 emphasised team work and know-how; by adapting thevinification process, the wines gained power and concentration whilepreserving fruit. With deep colour, intense aromas and very pleasantbalance on the palate, Lilian Ladouys 2011 is a wonderful achievement.Wine CharacteristicsChâteau Lilian Ladouys 2011: 70% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon,Devise de Lilian 2011: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% MerlotProportion: 60% of harvest made into Grand Vin and 40% into the secondwine2011 17
  18. 18. Frédéric de Luze,Owner of Château Paveil de Luze,Cru Bourgeois - Margauxand Pont Rouge du Paveil, BordeauxSpring and summer weather proved unpredictable.In June we took the tail end of the hailstorm that devastated part of theMargaux appellation. It was only two weeks later that we were able to estimatethe true damage, which turned out to be greater than initial assessments.The severe drought, combined with record temperatures (+ 38°C) had us thinkingwe were in for an early year, like 2003, and the high temperatures had causedsome scorching of berries that were unprotected by foliage.Since there were so few grapes, we decided not to thin out and do only a lightgreen harvest on a few Merlot plots.In late July, very heavy rainfall caused rapid swelling in the grapes and the humidweather, with below normal seasonal temperatures, then slowed development.Around September 10th we began preparing the cellars for harvest.On August 24th, while I was in China with a delegation from the Médoc CrusBourgeois, where we successfully presented the 2008 vintage, we harvested oursmall plot of Sauvignon Blanc. We obtained a single barrel!On September 6th Stéphane Derenoncourt and Simon Blanchard visited us for a firstlook at the Merlots. We needed to wait and decided to begin picking on September19th. The gravely soil plots had suffered and the signs were that this was goingto be a very small vintage.13 long days of hot, stormy weather ensued, and we trembled with each peal ofthunder. We had to calm the worried teams, as all around us the region was infull harvest. It is more than likely that our surprise guest, botrytis, had arole to play in this unrest!We finally did begin picking on September 19th, though at a snail’s pace and notfor long each day. There was a sense of unease with the threat of botrytis ever2011present, despite the drying wind. 18
  19. 19. But then, as in 2010, we enjoyed magnificent weather. It was summer again, with30°C temperatures and the nights not even cool; fortunately our refrigeratingunits proved efficient enough to cool the harvest.On September 24th we harvested the Cabernet Franc and stopped picking on Sunday25th.After running-off for a while, the first vats quickly began fermentation andwhen we began pumping-over, beautiful colour and very attractive aromas wereimmediately in evidence.From the 26th we moved on to the Cabernet Sauvignon, a real jewel, with highlyconcentrated juice. It had been worth the wait.Harvesting ended Saturday, October 1st.Work in the cellar began in earnest, with ‘raw material’ that suggesteda surprising Paveil de Luze 2011! Fermentations started very quickly, withfrequent but short pumping-over for soft extraction.We obtained slightly less extract than last year but not dramatically so, sincethe objective had been to bring the grapes to proper maturity and to extractas thoroughly as possible since the skins were quite thick.We macerated at high temperatures to obtain fat to coat the tannins during post-fermentary maceration.The new wine was rich and fat, and the daily tastings allowed us to extendvatting time: our Cabernet Sauvignon remained in vats for 28 days!Tasting prior to barreling:Merlot Grand Vin: crimson with shades of bright ruby. Cherry fruit on the noseand redcurrant with smoky notes so characteristic of good gravel terroir.Mellow palate, plump and round with good tannic structure and a fresh finish.2011 19
  20. 20. Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Vin: crimson colour with tints of purple. Complex noseof smoky blackcurrant and rose aromas. Fresh, clean front palate. Round andstructured with a long finish. Very good quality Cabernet, bringing a classictouch to the ensemble.2011 HARVEST DATESAugust 24th : Sauvignon BlancSeptember 19th to 26th : MerlotSeptember 24th : Cabernet FrancSeptember 26th to October 1st : Cabernet Sauvignon2011 20
  21. 21. Marie-Hélène and Pierre-Gilles Gromand d’Evry,Château de Lamarque,Haut-MédocA consultant at Lamarque from 1963 to 1987, Professor Emile Peynaud, Bordeaux’sfather of modern oenology, constantly repeated, ‘It is with good grapes thatone makes good wine.’ It is a phrase one should never tire of repeating.‘Good grapes’ are perfectly healthy and mature, resulting from a not too largeyield (relative to the number of plants per hectare). This provides the fruitwith the taste and flavours the wine grower requires before launching harvestoperations.To obtain this ideal result, the weather must be in accord with the life of thegrape: in simplified terms, from pruning to harvest. The weather, however, canbe capricious, unexpected (despite weather forecasts) and totally independentof the winegrower’s wishes. He must adapt and find solutions.All this serves as a reminder that the 2011 vintage will be remembered as acontinual game of ‘hide and seek’ between the weather and the winegrower. Inother words, the weather often played an antagonistic role in the variousstages of the vine’s growth and the development of the grapes. 2011 was aboveall a ‘winegrower’s vintage’. Experience, knowledge constant surveillance andfinding technical solutions to bring his grapes to harvest safely made all thedifference.All this meant adapting work in the vineyard to the terroir’s structure (air,nutriment and water circulation), proper grape-positioning (well-exposed andproperly oxygenated); limited but precise protective intervention (no preventivetreatments).In the end, because the vines were in very good condition, we were able to waitfor full maturity to begin harvesting.The harvest weather proved very favourable! We were able to start on Tuesday,September 20th with the Merlot, then picked the old Merlot, our small quantityof Cabernet Franc, and the Cabernet Sauvignon. We interrupted picking beforewe brought in the Petit Verdot and returned, once again, for the last CabernetSauvignon. We finished on Wednesday, October 5th with a couple of breaks and no2011weekend work. In short, we took our time. The yield was 35hl/ha. 21
  22. 22. The easy pace of the harvest enabled us to perfectly sort the grapes, after de-stemming, on our new vibrating sorting table. Vinification was easy (alcoholicand malolactic fermentations being relatively quick). Pressing, one spinningand one press.Vintage characteristics:Average alcohol: 13 degreesAverage IPT: 72Acidity: 3.4 g/lIn short, a good balance.Blending, with enologists Jacques and Eric Boissenot, has produced a breakdown of70% ‘first wine’ (Château de Lamarque) and 30% ‘second wine’ (D de Lamarque).As for previous vintages, the blend consists of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45%Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot. The Cabernet Franc can be found with the youngerMerlot in D of Lamarque.The wines were all in barrel by mid December 2011. 100% of the harvest goes intobarrels from five French barrel makers. We use average toasting and a mixtureof 45% new oak, 40% of barrels already used for one wine and 15% already usedfor two wines).As of January 19th the 2011 vintage of Château de Lamarque shows: dark, dense,garnet-red colour. Brilliant and clear. Nose still slightly dominated by oak,although notes of vanilla and black fruit (blueberry and blackcurrant) arealready showing through. The palate is well balanced and has good structure;it is intense, pleasant, very round and fruity, with a long finish.If the 2009 and 2010 will remain unequalled for many years, the 2011 should bewell-ranked among the 2000 vintages, perhaps between 2006 and 2008.2011 22
  23. 23. Eric Perrin,Owner of Château Carbonnieux,Grand Cru Classé - GravesThe most striking thing about the 2011 vintage was that it was so early; westarted harvesting the Sauvignon Blanc on August 18th!Cool conditions in July provided pleasant acidity – a sign of typicity andquality in white grapes – and overall the quality is very even. 2011 willcertainly be considered a great vintage for white wines.Regarding the reds, we obtained very fruity Merlot, mainly on the cool, clayish-chalky soils and also very concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon, which complementeach other nicely and have produced powerful, yet fine, elegant wines.In spite of the atypical conditions, we made a classic vintage in 2011, in thepure Bordeaux tradition.2011 23
  24. 24. Jean-Christophe Barron,Technical Manager of Château de Rouillac,Pessac-Léognan2011 vintAge: historicAl!The exceptionally hot, dry spring lead to early budburst, flowering andvegetative growth. In 2011 each spring day was a new page in history: wesaw the first Merlot buds on May 6th (unheard of); we contented ourselveswith 3 mm of rainfall in three months and at the end of spring the vineswere virtually a month ahead of where they are in a normal year.Summer restored some order to this profusion of heat and drought. July,in particular, proved one of the coldest in the past 50 years, comparableto 1993, 1977 (ouch!!), but also to 1961 and 2000 (phew - there may stillbe hope!)In August, we even enjoyed an unexpected harvest of cep mushrooms fromthe woods around Rouillac. While the cooks may well have rejoiced, thewinegrowers worried, all too aware of the threat of rot. We redoubledour vigilance, using effective prophylactic treatments: systematicleaf-removal on both sides of the vine plants and airing of compactedbunches...On August 25th, we began harvesting the white varieties, using a team of20 harvesters who finished on September 1st.September marked the beginning of an exceptionally mild Indian summer.Picking of the red varieties, by 30 pickers, kicked-off on September 8th,ending on the 22nd. Sorting proved crucial and each bunch underwent closeexamination prior to continuing its path towards excellence.For the 2011 vintage, the new mechanical cap-punching system wasprovidential, with polyphenol extraction proving exceedingly soft,perfect for the 2011 crop.Meantime, in the woods mushroom gatherers filled whole baskets, buckets,wheelbarrows, trailers, freezers, trucks, boats… it was the harvest ofthe millennium (the harvest of the century was in 2006).2011 24
  25. 25. In the end 2011 proved a close call and we felt a mixture of feelingsduring blending. It will be a difficult year to compare, as it hassomething of 2006 about it, but also of ’76, ’85 and ’88.Once again, the patient, painstaking labour of the wine grower whoknows how to adapt his methods to the whims of the weather, followed byrespect for the grapes in the cellar, provided a vintage with character,generosity and aroma - much like our mushroom harvest.2011 25
  26. 26. Claire Thomas ChenardOperations Director and Enologist at Château Soutard,Saint-Emilion Grand Cru ClasséThe end of winter and the beginning of spring showed a significant deficitin rainfall.Average temperatures for April and May were particularly high.In the vineyard, these climatic conditions translated into:- an early vintage- significant symptoms of hydric stress and lack of minerals (particularlypotassium) apparent from very early in the year.The heat wave of 26th and 27th June (temperatures reaching 40°C) led toscorching that caused a reduction of 20 to 30% in yields (our assessmentat Soutard confirmed this). A second heat wave on August 20th and 21st hadno noticeable consequences, however.The 20 mm of rainfall in July and 15 mm in August contributed to revivingthe vines’ metabolism and accelerated veraison. The lack of potassium,however, was still observable.Odium was present throughout this vintage but was kept in check withperiodic spraying.There was more botrytis than in previous vintages. Certain plots wereaffected around September 15th and we picked these early. After this,the weather thankfully became drier and on the whole the grapes were ingood condition when they arrived at the cellar; the fine weather in lateSeptember greatly contributed to this.Soutard: 38 hl/ha2011 26
  27. 27. Jean-François Quenin,Owner of Château de Pressac,Saint-Emilion Grand Cru2011 was a year of extremes and heterogeneity. It was also hot and dry,two essential factors for making quality wine.A very warm spring started the vine cycle early. Temperatures peakedaround June 25th and 26th, damaging plots already weakened by water stress.There was significant scorching on these plots and, consequently, reducedyields.The weather in July proved mediocre but hot, dry conditions returned inAugust.In September, there were some restorative showers but also, and moreworryingly, thunderstorms with hail, which caused significant damage incertain vineyards. Pressac, thankfully, was not affected. There was asingle, large thunderstorm without hail, but this still weakened theberries and botrytis was certainly lying dormant.Harvesting was early (we started in Pressac in the week of September19th i.e. about 10 days earlier than usual). In addition to the dangersof botrytis, the main difficulty was uneven ripeness. The late June heatappeared to have left traces, having damaged certain sap channels in thegrape clusters. We had to remove grapes that had not reached peak maturity(green or rose-tinted). The optical sorting machine (acquired in 2009)worked wonders here in 2011 – that and as one of our consultants remarked‘the obsessive nature of sorting at Pressac in 2011.’Vinification was trouble-free. Due to high level of alcohol on the one handand risk of heterogeneity in tannin maturity on the other, we extractedgently (extraction primarily occurred early in the vinification process)and did not macerate for too long.As in 2010, we obtained opulent wines, where acidity is balanced withtannic and alcoholic richness; these wines have everything needed for longageing.2011 January 15th 2012 27
  28. 28. Edouard Labruyère,Owner of Château Rouget,PomerolAfter early budburst in March, the vines suffered from dry weather andhigh temperatures throughout spring. Vegetation was therefore significantlyadvanced by early June, first with the leaves, then the berries, whichdeveloped and turned colour quickly.At the end of June the vines were three weeks ahead of where theynormally are at this time of the year. July and August slowed things downconsiderably, as repeated rainfall decelerated the cycle by more than aweek. As is often the case, the weather became summerlike at the end ofAugust and through much of September, which allowed us to harvest underoptimal conditions.The precocious vintage, combined with a dry spring, forced the vines togo deep to obtain the best of their terroir and nourish the fruit. Summerrainfall swelled the berries without causing them to split or be attackedby botrytis. But this was only the case if the vineyard was under constantsurveillance and care. Never had we had so many vineyard hands on deck!On the other hand, because of the dry weather the vines had to draw deeplyon their resources, thus weakening leaves and wood. Such weather meantthere was no room for error when it came to treating the vines: not tooearly and staggered when the weather was dry and very sustained when theweather turned wet in order to fight off disease. With temperatures almostreaching 40°C, too much groundwork could have endangered the harvest. Wehad to be ultra-careful not to intervene too much.Because Rouget vinifies in small vats, we harvest plot by plot and then goon to intra-plot harvesting, based on grape maturity levels within thatplot.Picking was extended from September 19th for the young vines to October4th for the latest ripening plots. Rouget is not a Sauternes but in thelargest plots, up to 6 pickings were required to ensure we had picked atpeak maturity.2011 28
  29. 29. Ultimately, winegrowers found themselves with a vintage where there wasgood maturity, if and only if they had delayed picking in order to obtainalcoholic and phenolic maturity. The weather has resulted in higheracidity than in 2009 or 2010 and the tannins are less opulent than inthose two vintages. The finesse of the wines, however, as well as the veryfine tannins will make it a favorite with connoisseurs. It is undoubtedlya vintage for mature markets and for certain export markets; those who arelooking for hyper concentration will be disappointed. No recent vintageis comparable to 2011, because none combines the levels of acidity andmaturity we had last year.At Rouget, we are proud of our 2011, probably because the vineyard teamhad to give it so much care, in extreme and unusual conditions. If youcompared it to a birth, I suppose you would say that we had to use theforceps during delivery. 2011 will not show its charm immediately but willage well, provided we demonstrate a little more patience than we had todo with the 2009s and 2010s.2011 29
  30. 30. Bruno MottetOwner of Château La France,Bordeaux SuperiorThe 2011 vintage was affected by unusual, inconsistent weather, whichmodified the vine growth cycle and consequently the work of the men andwomen looking after the vines.DroughtTo talk about the 2011 vintage, we need to go back an entire year as, sinceOctober 2010, the vine cycle was characterised by a lack of water. Lackof rain lead to vine stress as early as the end of May 2011?. We observedsignificant leaf drop and it was clear that the plants were suffering. Thisshortage in rainfall not only led to a lack of water for the plants butalso to poor mineralisation of organic material in the soils.Unbridled Growth CycleFrom the onset, spring 2011 put fast-paced pressure on growth in the vines.Early, but above all exceptionally hot and dry, the spring forced us toplay catch-up with Mother Nature and manage the vineyard in ways that wouldproduce proper vine development.One growth cycle followed another at break-neck pace. As early as thefirst half of April, the first leaves appeared, followed by flowering in midMay, with clusters closing around mid-June and the first berries turningat beginning July. Veraison seemed imminent. All this confirmed that theharvest would begin 2 or 3 weeks earlier than usual. We had to getorganised...A cool, rainy month of JulyCool, rainy July weather, however, slowed things down. The vine cyclestruggled to re-balance. The plants recovered, drawing in the water theyneeded. Now we had to wait for veraison… In early August it was completeand we awaited perfect grape maturity. We closely followed the sugar andacid balance, tasting the berries to assess aromatic maturity.Waiting for harvest…2011 30
  31. 31. On the afternoon of September 1st, the sky suddenly darkened, and heavyrain began falling. The massive black clouds mercifully passed us by, withthe hail falling a few kilometers further on, around the villages of Branneand Grézillac. For some, an entire year’s work was reduced to nothing bya hailstorm; Mother Nature certainly knows how to bring us back to basics,teaching us to put things in perspective.The HarvestHarvesting took place over the period of a month under friendly skies.On August 29th we began harvesting the white varieties, beginning withthe Sauvignon. One week later we picked the Sémillon, which by then hadmatured beautifully.We began to bring in the red varieties on September 13th, starting withthe young Merlot plots. Three weeks later, on October 4th, we finished thelast plot of Cabernet.First Impressions of the winesThe whites are pleasantly fresh, naturally sweet and have volume. Aromasare already intense. White flowers and citrus fruit dominate.The reds are vivid and intense, the nose dominated by very ripe, blackfruit aromas. They are round on the front palate with pleasant structureand lots of black fruit flavours. The balanced tannins, sometimes a littlefirm on the finish, will round down with time.2011 31
  32. 32. Xavier Planty,Manager of Château GuiraudGrand Cru Classé en 1855 – SauternesSpring 2011 was warm and dry. Early flowering led us to believe the harvestwould be 3 weeks early. However, cool weather in July slowed growth downsomewhat, and this was followed a wet, hot month ofAugust.In the end, the harvest started 2 weeks ahead of time. The first day ofpicking was on Thursday, 25 August for the dry white wine.The month of September was ideal, with warm, sunny days and cool nights.Conditions were optimum for the spread of botrytis, which concentratedaromas while retaining good acidity.Thanks to a north-easterly wind, this concentration was very rapid, andwe were able to start first and second passes in the vineyard as of the2nd of September. The latter produced extremely fine grappes and was soonfollowed by a 3rd and even a 4th and 5th pass in certain plots until 10October, the last day of the harvest at Château Guiraud.Picking took place for a total of 25 days (for the Sauternes) and was doneby nearly 100 people. The crop was small – barely 9 hl/ha this year – butof superb quality. A hail storm on Easter Monday (25 April at 6 pm) ledto the estimated loss of 40% of the crop, and as much as 80% in certainparts of the vineyard...All the wine has finished fermenting by the 20th of October. Everythingwent very quickly this year, incredibly quickly! The cool night-timetemperatures are beginning to clarify the wines. They already tasteremarkably good: concentrated, aromatic, and complex. The speed with whichthe grapes became concentrated preserved magnificent vivaciousness. Thewines are truly brilliant. My neighbours are saying “it’s like 2001”...but this remains to be seen.An initial tasting with the associate owners will be held on Monday, 24October2011 Xavier Planty, 21 October 2011 32
  33. 33. Key figuresBeginning of the the harvest of «G», Château Guiraud’s dry white Bordeaux:Thursday 25 August 2011Beginning of the Sauternes harvest: Friday 2 September 2011End of the harvest: Monday 10 October 2011Number of days of picking: total = 31 (uniquely Sauternes = 25)Average number of pickers each day of the harvest: 97Yield of Sauternes: 9 hectolitres per hectare2011 33
  34. 34. Miren de LorgerilLorgeril Vineyards,Languedoc RoussillonSummary of the 2011 Growth CycleAt last! The return of normal rainfall enabled the vines to recover,remain balanced throughout the vegetation and maturation cycles andrebuild soil reserves. In our region, the most humid years are goodyears!The vines developed well and vegetation was very well balanced untilthe eve of harvest, even if the bunches were not very large and resultedin no more than average yields.Summer proved pleasant without excess; there were no heat waves althoughwe did get our three ‘traditional’ thunderstorms. During the harvestthe weather was exceptional, with heavy rainfall in late September thatcooled things down, bringing clear skies, warm afternoons and thus easymaturation. Subsequent day-night temperature differentials affordedfavorable aroma development.Harvest Dates and ProgressIn Cabardès, we started harvesting the rosé early (on September 20th)and the Merlot at the end of September – again rather early.The Syrah were next on all the estates. As in 2010, early ripening inwhat are traditionally later varieties (Cabernet, Grenache, Mourvèdre)led to a quick harvest in perfect weather conditions.Harvest volumes were surprising: in Cabardès, despite an increase ingrape weight, juice quantities were as low as in 2010. On the otherhand, in the Roussillon, Minervois, Faugères and Saint-Chinian, wereturned to normal production figures with around 20% more than in 2010,a tragically small year.2011 34
  35. 35. What are the year’s characteristics?The very ripe grapes yielded their aromas, colours and tannins readily,making it easier for us to vinify with a light hand. More than lastyear then, the wines are fruit-driven, fresh and elegant, but with goodstructure and mellow tannins. In particular, we feel we have progressedin Ciffre, in Roussillon and at La Livinière, with beautiful, expressiveintensity, preserved by very soft extraction. Fermentation was veryeven, with no halts or acceleration.2011 35
  36. 36. Nicolas Perolini,Operations Director at Château Lauzade,Côtes de ProvenceDue to an extremely mild spring at the beginning of the vegetative cycle,the vines had an advance of approximately 10 days on the 2010 vintage,heralding an early year. This tendency could be observed throughout thevegetative cycle, right up until flowering. Flowering occurred withoutincident, with no coulure, even on the Grenache.June and July were particularly cool, slowing the growth cycle, which meantre-adjusting the projected harvest date, bringing it more in line withrecent vintages.Both vines and grapes were healthy. Initial samples indicated a harvestdate in early September, around the 5th or 6th. However, this did not takeinto account the sharp rise in temperatures that occurred in mid-August.Sugar concentrations rose and consequently we had to bring the harvestforward to August 31st.Positive and Sensitive AspectsIn late July we had good rainfall that was beneficial to the vines, as hydricstress would have been detrimental to harvest quality. We began pickingearly and regularly and were thus able to anticipate a sudden accelerationin maturity. The cellars were ready.Harvest Date and ProceduresWe started harvesting on August 31st with the Sémillon followed by the Rolle.We then brought in the Grenache for the rosé. To obtain maximum maturity,we kept the Syrah, destined for our reds under surveillance, while keepinga close eye on the weather (rainfall at this stage of maturity could leadto catastrophic consequences).We harvested the Syrah at the end of the first half of September, then theCinsault (for the rosé). We only harvested the Cabernet Sauvignon in early2011October. 36
  37. 37. Year’s CharacteristicsAll in all, we obtained very fat wines with pleasant fruit, vivid, intensecolours, with no oxidative characteristics. The reds have mellow tanninswith a long finish.Vintage SpecificityRound and rich (no rain during the harvest!).Vintage resembling 20112009: early harvest producing big, round wines.2011 ReportVery good vintage, though in the back of our minds the thought of what itcould have been without the August drought! No rain during the harvestallowed us to pick everything quickly.2011 37
  38. 38. 2011 Vintage in BurgundyPLEASURE FIRST AND FOREMOST2011 will remain etched in our memories, not just because it was anearly year, but because of its unique weather conditions. Whilst theworld’s wine enthusiasts are getting ready to discover this new vintage,the first impressions are already being made. This year, elegance andindulgence, in particular, are enhancing the mosaic of Burgundy’s«Terroirs». These wines are accessible, providing an ideal way ofdiscovering the wealth and diversity of Burgundy wines.The Burgundy winegrowers know how to trust their instincts. Before thearrival of summer, they remained cautious, even though the particularlyhot, dry spring gave the vines the potential for excellent quality.The rainfall in July helped reconstitute the water reserves in thesoil and provide the vines with a new lease of life. The stormyweather in August, which was very difficult to anticipate, encouragedthe winegrowers to follow their plots inch by inch. They were fullyaware that they would need both humility and intuition to determine thedate of the harvest: between maturity and the health of the vineyard,nature has an important role to play. To wait or not to wait? This isthe crucial question that the Burgundy winegrowers asked themselves inthe last weeks of August, particularly for Pinot Noir, which is reputedfor its delicacy and complexity.The harvest was spread out across several weeks, with the winegrowersharvesting the plots according to their maturity. The sunshine andlack of rain in September were the rewards for their patience. Carefulselection was carried out, on the vines and in the cellars. Only thevery best grapes were vinified. BIVB, 15 November 20112011 38
  39. 39. Jacques Lardière,Maison Louis Jadot,BurgundyEarly budburst at the beginning of April was the logical consequenceof a summer-like spring that encouraged the vines to literally burstinto life.High temperatures and exceptionally dry air meant that flowering wasrapid and so early that were 3 weeks ahead of our 2010 calendar.By late May, flowering had taken place on soils where water reserveswere decreasing rapidly and, in such conditions, we witnessed theformation of small berries on the new bunches (in particular on thePinot Noir).This summer-like weather became less so during the post-flowering periodand the actual summer months were even worse. While early in thevegetative season our winegrowers could `garden’ in their vineyards,late June and the early veraison period were marked by thunderstorms,at times accompanied by hail that dealt a blow to the potential harvest.The Côte Chalonnaise between Rully and Mercurey was particularly badlyaffected.Cool, humid weather delayed full maturity until very late August,reawakening cryptogamic parasites in the vines and apprehension in thewinegrowing community.The first day of September heralded the first day of picking in idealweather that lasted until the final bunches had been cut.White wines: Fermentation was fast and furious. Interesting sugar/acidity balance that promises very pure wines.Red wines: Powerful polyphenolic potential. Sorting the grapes hadobviously resulted in quality and purity of flavour. Acidity levelswere tempered by high temperatures in late summer, resulting in winesthat have fullness and ripe fruit on the palate with pleasant, suppletannins.2011There will be very some fine surprises in store, following what was anastonishing vintage. 39
  40. 40. Eric Kohler,Barons de Rothschild Estates (Lafite)Technical Manager of Domaine d’Aussières, Corbièresand of Barons de Rothschild Estates outside FranceDOMAINE D’AUSSIèRES, WINES : CHâTEAU D’AUSSIèRES, BLASON D’AUSSIèRES,AUSSIèRES RED AND AUSSIèRES WHITEAs elsewhere in France, the weather last year proved altogether atypical.Much of spring was exceptionally warm and summer rather cool, withmoderate rainfall until the end of August.Due to high temperatures the vegetative cycle accelerated quickly inspring before slowing considerably in summer.Fortunately, September was ideal, with good sunshine and cool nightsthat compensated for the relatively chilly summer and enabled us toawait optimum maturity.In the end, the trouble-free harvest began at the usual dates atAussières: September 7th for the whites and from September 15th for thereds.2011 was a generous year. The wines will be less concentrated than in2010 but certainly pleasant, with finesse and fruit.CHILE - VIñA LOS VASCOSIn 2011 we had the second consecutive atypical climatic year at Viña LosVascos, with climatic conditions in the Colchagua valley much resemblingthose of 2010.Throughout the year the weather remained relatively cool, with belownormal temperatures and little rainfall. Flowering was disrupted, whichobviously led to reduced yields.Moderate temperatures during summer and autumn favoured slow maturity,in particular for late varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon andCarmenère.2011 40
  41. 41. Again, the harvest occurred very late, especially for the white varietiesthat grow near the Pacific; we harvested the last grapes here in earlyMay.Overall, phenolic maturity is well-balanced, as is the sugar / acidityratio. Once again it will be a fine year for Los Vascos with the winesdisplaying quite a lot of ‘Bordeaux’ character.ARGENTINA - BODEGAS CAROAn extremely rare attack of frost during the flowering on certain plotsmarked the year in Argentina. Luckily conditions were excellent fromthen on, with good temperatures that provided good, relatively evenripening.As in Chile, temperatures were rather cool in late summer, with the lateharvest finishing early in May.The wines will be excellent this year, with Malbec at the fore.2011 41
  42. 42. Stéphane DerenoncourtConsultant for Château MarsyasLebanonIn 2011, the Lebanon experienced a cool spring. Budburst and floweringwere late and the vines had a long vegetative cycle, which resulted inmuch greater aromatic complexity.Summer was fine and hot, though not excessively so, with relativelycool nights. There were significant differences between day and nighttemperatures – a thermal shock that is crucial for the skins to hardenproperly during the phenolic maturation process.Luckily, although the growing period was long, there were no hot windsthat often dehydrate grapes at the approach of harvest and which canlead to ‘candy’ notes in the wines as well as concentrated alcohol anddry tannins.All in all, 2011 is a great vintage of fresh fruit, bursting withflavours, backed up by a full and well-defined structure that combinespower and great finesse.2011 42