"The most accomplished vintage of Château Fleur Cardinale".
CHÂTEAU FLEUR CARDINALE 2020
Vineyard before the 2020 harvest – Photo Caroline Decoster
23.1 hectares of surface area in production
Density of plantation between 6225 and 8000 vines/ha
Vines are on average 40 years old
Clay-limestone soils, divided into 6 different soils and sub-soils
Grape composition of 76% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon
2020, with its cold, rainy spring and a record dry summer, was a year of climatic contrasts.
Between March and June 2020, rainfall was double that of the same period of the year before and made mechanised work in the vineyard particularly tricky. The month of July saw no rain at all, while in August it rained just once. The weather at the end of summer was very hot, and temperatures only started to decrease as from the third week of September, when it finally rained again.
After 5 days of much-needed rain, which enabled the grapes to reach optimal ripeness, the signal was given for harvesting to start!
2020 harvest selection Château Fleur Cardinale – Photo Caroline Decoster
The first plots of young vines were harvested on 17th and 18th September 2020. We then paused to wait for a week of rainy weather to pass, before resuming and completing the picking from 28th September to 2nd October 2020, just a few hours before the arrival of Storm Alex.
The yield is 43 hL / ha.
Production is estimated at 105 000 bottles bottles of first wine and 25 000 bottles of second wine.
VINIFICATION & AGEING
The 2020 vintage was the first to be vinified and aged in its entirety in our new cellars, with micro-vinifications and the first trials of ageing in amphoras playing an ever-increasing part.
A NEW VAT ROOM DESIGNED FOR “HAUTE COUTURE” VINIFICATIONS
Vatroom Château Fleur Cardinale – Photo Studio Prigent
The vinifications were carried out for the second year running in our new vat room. The 2019 vintage had enabled us to pinpoint the final improvements that needed to be carried out in the cellar, in order to make it completely operational in 2020.
The number and capacities of our stainless steel tronco-conical vats were calculated to reflect the reality of our terroirs and our grape varieties and allow us to carry out plot-by-plot, haute couture vinifications. Each terroir is thus preserved separately until the final blend is chosen before bottling. Temperature-control (which is applied to the top two-thirds of the vats) and double walls on each vat provide us with even greater scope to ensure the precision and gentleness of the extractions while at the same time allowing us to make large energy savings.
Pre-fermentation cold soak lasting 4 to 5 days in order to achieve velvety tannins.
Alcoholic fermentation lasting around ten days.
Daily gravity-flow pump-overs, using the R’Pulse pumping-over system, which enables gentler, more even extractions.
Warm post-fermentation maceration lasting 3 weeks
Throughout the whole of the vinifications process, we carefully respect the fruit and the balances in the wine.
MICRO-VINIFICATIONS CARRIED OUT IN OUR TRIALS CELLAR
Trials cellar Château Fleur Cardinale – Photo Caroline Decoster
Our new cellars now include a trials cellar, which was also built in 2020. This space was conceived as a tool for the permanent enhancement of the quality of the estate’s wines.
Just before the harvest, twenty500-litre casks were installed in order to carry out micro-vinifications of grapes coming from 10 representative plots of the estate. Each of these 20 casks is equipped with an independent temperature-control system, as are 20 small 5-hectolitre vats. This equipment enables us to gain extreme precision in the management of the vinifications and to carry out new trials. The wines coming from these micro-vinifications should represent around 10% of the production of Château Fleur Cardinale 2020.
When the wine’s ageing process begins, this space becomes an extra, independent cellar, in which we can carry out malo-lactic fermentations in barrel and trial new degrees of barrel char or oak source in partnership with our coopers.
CAREFULLY-CONTROLLED AGEING IN ERGONOMIC CELLARS
Crédit photo – Arnaud Guichard
Our two barrel cellars were completed in 2020 and can now hold a total of 890 barrels and therefore potentially two vintages, depending on the ageing decisions made for each vintage. These cellars are kept at a constant temperature and humidity and offer much more comfortable working conditions for our team
We estimate an ageing time of 12 to 14 months for Château Fleur Cardinale 2020, depending on the different lots. This year, we are working with 11 different cooperages.
AMPHORA AGEING TRIAL
Crédit photo – Arnaud Guichard
In December 2020, we received two750-litre Tava amphoras in which we aged old-vine Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The 2020 vintage is therefore the first to benefit from this type of ageing, the aim of which is to perfect fruit precision and intensify the length of flavour in our wines. The first tastings we have done confirm that we are well on track and this will lead to an order for new amphoras next year.
“Château Fleur Cardinale 2020 displays a very bright, deep purple colour with purple-blue glints. The nose reveals multi-facetted fruit aromatics of great purity. In mouth, the entry is clean and dense and gives way to a majestic palate, in which the mid-palate is remarkably structured with precise fruit showing through, together with both controlled aromatic power and a lovely delicate mouth-feel. The subtlety in this vintage comes from the combined oak and amphora ageing, which comes through very discreetly, offering tannins of incredible quality and bringing great elegance to the whole. Both fleshy and of great finesse, the wine lingers long on the palate. This vintage offers superb ageing potential.” Ludovic Decoster
Potential alcoholic degree: 14.5° pH : 3,57 Total acidity: 3.4
THE YEAR 2020 ALSO MEANS …
The first year we were evaluated E-commitedCorporate Social Responsibility Label(R.S.E.). An evaluation based on reference standard ISO 26 000, which requires us to be a responsible business wishing to be economically viable, to commit to having a positive impact on society, to caring for the environment and also to working ethically and transparently with those people we come to meet in our daily business (suppliers, internal team, clients and stakeholders in the territory).
The first year we got involved with Reforest’Action, a social-purpose company, whose first mission is to create awareness of and act on behalf of the world’s forests. With them, we have therefore committed that, from the 2019 vintage onwards, each case sold will allow the planting of one tree, i.e. an average of 10,000 trees planted per year. This year, each case sold will allow the planting of one tree in the Peruvian Amazonian forest, as part of the involvement of the Chateau with Reforest’Action.
The year we had the pleasure to work with Souleymane Diamanka, Franco-Senegalese slam poet from Bordeaux, and passionate about words. The “Millésime après Millésime“ slam came about in the middle of lockdown and was built around telephone conversations between Souleymane and Caroline. It conveys in a poetical way our life as vignerons, with all its many uncertainties and hopes. Extracts from this slam will be exhibited on the walls of our cellars which are to open to the public in June 2021.