Loire Valley Wine, Count Henry d’Assay : « I decided not to bottle both cuvees 101 Rangs and Haute Densite in the 2009 vintage »

(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr) Loire Valley: Count Henry d'Assay, owner of Chateau de Tracy in Pouilly Fume, gave us an interview about the three consecutive vintages 2008, 2009 and 2010.

How would you define those three years in Pouilly Fume?

Count Henry d'Assay: "2008, 2009 and 2010 are three consecutive vintages with different and clearly identifiable characters. Of course, considering our two cuvees Haute Densite (100% limestone) and 101 Rangs (100% flint), 2008 and 2010 are the wines that I love for their purity, focus and outstanding aging potential. As I considered not to have reached this exceptional achievement in 2009, I decided not to produce those two cuvees. The Grand Vin du Chateau de Tracy has the great privilege to benefit from these rare cuvees for the final assemblage of the 2009 vintage."

Let's come back to 2010. How would you define 2010 at Chateau de Tracy?

"The 2010 vintage is a great balance between concentration and distinction. A concentration both in terms of structure and aromas. For the structure, mature grapes gave us a good alcohol level together with a fine and long acidity. It gave to the wines a lot of freshness and a very long finish. Regarding aromas, from the beginning when we started harvesting, grapes were very tasty with aromas of exotic fruits. The juices, straight from the press, were already full of strong aromas of guava and mango. After fermentation, the elegance, the power and the precision of those wines were very evident. We are particularly impressed to have a high level of quality on both terroirs, I mean chalk and silex soils. Chalk soils are showing wines with a rich and round structure. The acidity gives them, in 2010, a supplementary hint of light, I would say. Silex soils show particularly expressive aromas this year. Tense and powerful, the wines tend to express themselves like in any great year. Ageing potential will not be a problem at all for those wines."

Why did you decide not to bottle your two cuvees in 2009?

"Definitely Haute Densite, our wine made from high-density planted vines on chalk soils, and 101 Rangs, our very limited wine made from old vines planted on a spectacular silex soil, always show the impressive potential we can get at Chateau de Tracy. But my expectations for those two cuvees are very high. And in 2009, after long tastings and discussions, I decided to have them in the final assemblage of our Grand Vin and not to bottle them separately. Regarding 2008 and 2010, I really consider both cuvees exceptional."

2008, 2009 and 2010...What vintage do you prefer?

"It is really difficult to say...The 2010s are focused, aromatic, classic, fresh and rich at the same time. The 2009s are big, silky and creamy. I am particularly amazed by the great differences between these three vintages. And 2008 is currently showing the great potential we could notice from the beginning. Since we harvested, we understood we had an impressive power in these wines. They are full bodied and at the same time very fresh. Some aromas like truffle remind me of the great 1996s we are serving now at the chateau. In 2008, ageing potential for both Haute Densite and 101 Rangs is impressive. There is always a specific tension in Chateau de Tracy and 101 Rangs which makes the wines very long and pure. so it is difficult for me to choose a favourite one between those three vintages. But 2010 reinforces our conviction that blending both grapes coming from chalk and silex soils is a great opportunity to make powerful, complex, elegant and long ageing wines with a lot of distinction."