Pessac-Léognan
Château La Garde rouge, 2012

We bought Château la Garde in June 1990, totally seduced by the exceptional quality of the terroir, which is quite possibly one of the finest gravel outcrops in the Pessac-Léognan appellation.

Motivated by this ambitious project, worthy of this magnificent terroir, considerable time and finances have been invested and have been rewarded with the increasingly frequent production of delicate, elegant and appealing fine Pessac-Léognan wines.

Grape

52% Cabernet Sauvignon – 48% Merlot

Vineyard & Vinification Note

Château La Garde was one of the first properties to introduce integrated viticulture, an approach that produces premium quality grapes with total respect for the environment and for mankind. Studies carried out on the estate have analysed the correlation between grape ripening and the quality of the soil and subsoil, particularly in relation to its water retention capacity. This has resulted in a highly detailed mapping of the vineyard, identifying individual rows or micro-plots within each parcel which reach full ripeness at the same rate. As a result of trials previously undertaken on test plots, coupled with our in-depth knowledge of the vineyard, our teams can now tailor and fine-tune viticultural practices in each zone accordingly. Carefully considered soil management techniques – tailored ploughing methods and green fertilizer – and an environmentally conscious approach to protecting the vineyard (reducing inputs, sexual confusion to combat pests, machine weeding, manual canopy management and yield control) promote harmony in the vine. These painstaking, rigorous techniques play an important role in controlling yields and plant vigour and result in optimised grape ripeness. Severe pruning for example promotes even budburst, while bud stripping, secondary shoot removal, desuckering and leaf stripping improve the circulation of air around the grapes and guarantee healthy fruit. The grapes are harvested selectively on a row-by-row basis, and with meticulous care, ensuring that only perfectly ripe grapes of uniform ripeness enter the tanks.

Pre-fermentation cold maceration.

Alcoholic fermentation, with very few manipulations (pumping-over, pigeage). Malolactic fermentation partially in barrels. Ageing in barrels takes place in an arched underground cellar with air-conditioning for 12-14 months. Cooperage savoir-faire and oak selection are combined when choosing the barrels so that they are best suited to the characteristics and style of Château La Garde wines

Vintage 2012:

This vintage really kept us waiting! Fine weather in August and September fortuitously reduced the significant delay at the start of the summer, but still required drastic selection in both the reds and whites, resulting in a significant reduction in volumes at la Garde. We delayed picking for as long as possible for the red grapes to reach optimum maturity, until October 5th. While unsettled weather at the start of harvesting fortunately did not affect the health of the vineyard, the Merlot and Cabernets had to be picked in rapid succession to avoid any risk

Harvest:

Merlot: 5th to 13th October – Cabernet Sauvignon: 8th to 12th October

Bottled in June 2014

Tasting Note

Deep and concentrated in appearance. A seductive bouquet emitting aromas of ripe fruits, liquorice and a smoky character often found in the terroirs of Pessac-Leognan. On the palate, the power of the delicate, rounded tannins is accompanied by generous rich character and volume. The wine’s harmonious presence culminates in a long, well-balanced finish, with well-integrated oak character. Frédéric Bonnaffous, Dourthe Estates Director

James Suckling Tasting Note

Bright and clean with pretty berry and cherry character. Medium body and a firm-textured finish. Pretty wine. Drink and hold. 90 Points, February 2015

Tasting Note

Solid and direct, with a graphite-edged core of plum, anise and blackberry coulis flavors, backed by a light juniper echo on the finish. Not big, but shows good focus and definition. Drink now through 2019. 11,165 cases made. 89 Points, James Molesworth, 2015

Food Pairing

Very good match with game, red and white meat, cheese.

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