Ballade de La Pointe
Vintage : 2016
Production : 19 000 bottles
Merlot 91% – Cabernet Franc 9%
Alcohol content : 14°
Appellation : Pomerol. Area : Right Bank. Region : Bordeaux.
Vineyard and soil type: 23 hectares on small gravel and pebble soils of the Isle river terrace, clayey-gravel and sandy soils over clay or gravel sub-soils.
Vinification and ageing: traditional Bordeaux methods.
Distribution : through wine merchants of the Place de Bordeaux.
Owner : SCE Château La Pointe.
General Manager : Eric Monneret.
Vine and Wine Consultant : Hubert de Boüard de Laforest.
Unbelievable and unpredictable weather conditions for a truly great vintage :
The winter and spring were very wet. 700 mm, the usual equivalent of 12 months’ rainfall, fell on our vineyard from the beginning of January to mid-June. Thanks to the excellent drainage work carried out in 2008 and the deep roots of our vines, the water circulated well through the soils and brought a good, even supply.
The long, dull and wet weeks meant we needed to be vigilant about the risk of mildew. Each intervention required anticipation and precision to ensure a good ventilation of the fruit-bearing zone, thus limiting the risk of disease. Colossal and painstaking manual work was determinant for the quality of the vintage.
Miraculously, the rain stopped for around ten days at the beginning of June, allowing an even and abundant flowering during this sunny interlude, then the rain resumed.
The beautiful weather luckily returned, and for good, at the end of June. It was then hot (but not excessively) and very dry. Whereas there are generally one or two storms to wet the Gironde soil, in 2016 there was literally not a drop of rain during July and August. This had not been seen for over thirty-five years. The youngest vines, whose roots are less deep, suffered from the drought but finally this phenomenon was observed only on a very few sectors. Despite the mainly gravelly nature of the terroirs, the drought was surprisingly well controlled by the soils and the plants remained healthy. The positive aspect was that the considerable hydric stress brought a high tannic potential, and the constant cool summer nights maintained a good acidity in the berries along with an excellent expression of the fruity aromas.
September arrived, and the summery weather continued, with temperatures nearing 30° C. In mid-September, the forecast of a storm over the Bordeaux vineyard caused worry, which quickly turned to relief as the storm brought only welcome rain. 34 mm of water breathed a new energy into the vines. The beautiful weather soon returned, allowing a slow, steady ripening through to the harvest, which was finally not early as we had expected.
The plots of vines selected for the second wine were picked between 3rd and 6th October. For the first wine, the Merlots were picked from 7th October and we finished harvesting with Cabernet Francs on 17th and 18th October.
The harvest was calm and serene, each plot picked at optimum ripeness, the key for the making of a great vintage ; the 2016 reveals itself to be rich yet not excessively so, as it also possesses a lovely freshness.
To drink or to keep?
The 2016 vintage is an exceptional one.
Ballade de La Pointe can be enjoyed very young but will develop over 10 years or more.
To air, decant or just enjoy?
With Ballade de La Pointe the best approach is never to ritualize the tasting, you simply choose a vintage, open the bottle, pour delicately and take your time to enjoy. Allow the wine to tell you its own story as it evolves in the glass over the evening…