The rich, packed nose opens on aromas of blackberry and marzipan. With airing, the initial fruit is complemented by an array of spice and dark chocolate notes.
The powerful and well-structured attack reveals peppery and slightly minty flavours, leading into a mid-palate underpinned by elegant and dense tannins on roasted coffee-bean and liquorice notes. A long and smooth finish rounds off a remarkably harmonious wine.
The first half of 2018 was marked by heavy rainfall and severe hailstorms during the winter, followed by a much milder spring. Cool temperatures in March were followed by a warm spell in April which favoured vegetation growth and brought the vines into flower slightly earlier than usual. This trend was confirmed from June onwards as hot and sunny weather resulted in the vine cycle being 5 days ahead of average. In July, high humidity coupled with the summer heat made it difficult to keep the vines healthy, but constant care from our growers ensured that all the qualities of the vineyard were preserved. Fortunately, hot and dry weather then set in for three months, with temperatures sometimes reaching more than 30°C, ending the mildew attacks. Although conditions in the first half of the year did not herald a great harvest, the record-breaking temperatures, low rainfall and relative drought that followed in the summer months rectified the situation. The grapes were small but outstandingly rich in sugar and tannins. The advance in the vine cycle and the hot, dry summer meant that the harvest began in late August for the white grapes and early September for the red grapes.
At Château d’Armailhac, picking started with the Merlot on 12 September and ended with the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot on 3 October.
The wines are intensely coloured and have excellent tannic structures. They are remarkably dense and smooth, with a rare concentration of aroma and flavour. Yields were smaller because of the drought, but the vintage can already be reckoned one of the great successes.
The wine has a deep colour with a garnet hue.