Just in time for the 2009 Bordeaux vintage, Chateau Rol Valentin in St. Emilion was sold to the daughter of Leclerc’s chief wine buyer, Jean-Luc Roché and her husband Nicolas Robin, who is the nephew of the famous Robin sisters who previously owned the legendary, Chateau Lafleur and Chateau Le Gay in Pomerol. The new owners manage two Right Bank properties; Chateau Clos Vieux Taillefer in Pomerol and Chateau Rol Valentin.
Rol Valentin owns vines on two separate and distinct terroirs. Close to 40% of their vines are located on sandy terroir that is not far from La Gomerie. The rest of their vines are planted on cooler, clay and limestone soils on the eastern side of St. Emilion, that is close to Valandraud and Chateau Fleur Cardinale.
With two different terroirs and a difficult 2011 Bordeaux harvest, we asked Nicolas Robin about the vintage at Chateau Rol Valentin and Chateau Clos Vieux Taillefer.
JL: What are your early thoughts on the 2011 Bordeaux vintage?
Robin: “It’s a winemaker vintage. If we did a good job in the vineyards and the cellars, that’s ok!”
JL: What date did you start your 2011 Rol Valentin harvest?
Robin: “We started to harvest the 2011 Rol Valentin September 21 and we finished October 3”.
JL: Do you think your 2011 Rol Valentin reminds you of any previous vintage?
Robin: “It’s an elegant vintage which is very similar to 2004, for Château Rol Valentin”.
JL: With two estates, what was the 2011 Rol Valentin growing season like for you?
Robins: “The first part of the 2011 Rol Valentin growing was very hot. The summer was hot too. In August, the
weather was bad. This changed in September. The weather became good. With our clay and limestone soils, the vineyards were in good shape. At the end of the harvest, if we controlled the yield and do a good job in the cellar, the results will allow us to make a good wine”.
JL: Did you add new equipment or make changes or improvements to your wine making facilities this year?
Robin: “Yes, we added air sorting. This will help sort and extract berries attacked by botrytis”.
JL: With the 2011 Bordeaux vintage needing a lot of sorting, what yields do you expect this year from your Right Bank estates?
Robin: “We will have 30 hl/ha for Chateau Rol Valentin in St. Emilion and 35 hl/ha for Clos Vieux Taillefer in Pomerol”.
JL: What are your potential alcohol levels and pH numbers?
Robin: “Alcohol is close to 13° and the pH is around 3.5”.