GRAPES: 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Chateau Malmaison, in the Moulis-en-Médoc appellation, is one of the oldest estates in the Medoc. Grapes have been grown here, thanks to a handful of different owners and a sizeable religious community, since the Middle Ages. This property, which adjoins Chateau Clarke, was purchased by Baron de Rothschild in 1978. Thanks to his impetus, the vineyard was restored to its former glory. He named the wine after his spouse, the elegant Baroness Nadine de Rothschild, who is also passionate about gardening. The vineyard now covers 33 hectares (81.54 acres) of clay limestone soil, which is ideal for Merlot, the predominant grape variety. Chateau Malmaison allies delicacy, suppleness and elegance with a rich and fruity bouquet.
VINTAGE REPORT: 2015 began with a very dry season that put the vines into hydric stress, stopping the veraison. Some rainfall in early August allowed the ripening process to carry on until harvest. September and October were rather sunny and dry, ideal for the grapes to reach their expected maturity.
HARVEST DATES: Merlot from September 21 to October 4; Cabernet Sauvignon from September 26 and 27.
VINIFICATION: The grapes are put into vats via gravity flow, followed by cold soaking and fermentation in both oak and stainless steel tanks. Moderate extraction adapted to each vat by pumping over and delestage (rack and return).
AGING: 16 months, 30% in new barrels, 70% in second fill barrels.
TASTING NOTES: Deep crimson colour. The nose is expressive and intense, with fresh fruit (black currant and plum) aromas, a touch of menthol, and delicate hints of oak. The wine starts out rich and full-bodied, going on to show considerable elegance and a fine balance between well-focused, velvety tannin and acidity that contributes freshness and length.