By Guy Collins
Chateau Quintus, the Saint Emilion Wine estate developed by Domaine Clarence Dillon, expects its 2019 wines to show great homogeneity and overall good quality following an exceptionally hot summer and particularly warm September, according to Estate Manager Francois Capdemourlin.
After a cold spring, when burners had to be lit in the vineyard to ward off frost, there was a “very hot summer for weeks and weeks,” with temperatures rising above 40 degrees Celsius, according to Capdemourlin. A wetter period in August was followed by scorching September temperatures, which climbed above 30 degrees Celsius and which dried out the grapes, prior to rains on Sept. 22.
“It was a Sunday” in late September when the rain finally came, he recalled at a London tasting of wines on Nov. 27 dating back through the nine-year history of the estate. “We had a big smile. All the berries were losing their juice.”
Quintus achieved yields off between 36 and 37 hectolitres per hectare in 2019, with no disease during the year in the vineyard, according to Capdemourlin.
The unusual heat drove alcohol levels higher, while the late September rains helped to bring them down again to more manageable levels. “We have to adapt to the climate,” Capdemourlin said.
The average age of vines at Quintus is 29 years, with the oldest over 50 years old.
Domaine Clarence Dillon, which owns Chateau Haut-Brion and Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, bought part of what is now Chateau Quintus in 2011 and then added a second neighboring vineyard in 2013 to enlarge the estate.
Quintus cover 28 hectares (70 acres) spread across the limestone ridge near Chateau Angelus and Chateau Canon, with slopes down to the valley giving the vineyard clay and sandy soils as well.
Quintus produces on average 35,000 bottles a year of its main wine, plus another 40,000 bottles a year of its second wine Dragon.
That compares with the 100,000 bottles of first wine Haut-Brion produces from its 50 hectares, and 50,000 bottles of La Mission produced from its 25 hectares.