Discover the feelings and comments of our winemakers over the vintages
A vintage awaited with serenity: despite the summer which began in May, the new practices in the vineyard do not seem to have an impact on the yield. Mechanical desuckering, grassing under the developed row and stopping plowing reveal a new satisfactory cleanliness, where nature is freely beautiful.
Following the beautiful exit of the bunch, the grapes are present and healthy. They gradually took on volume despite the lack of water. Water stress and summer temperatures at an early stage accelerate the phenological stages, we imagined having at least a week ahead of the start of the harvest.
The rains of mid-August allowed the grapes to finish their ripening cycle, and to refresh the team a little, who had not imagined starting the harvest so early: the start was on Friday August 12, the same week when a colony of storks came to stop on the estate, 10 days in advance, too.
The sun quickly returned to shine our new harvesting machine which delighted the team of drivers. Every morning during the harvest, we taste the juices. The fermenting vats reveal fresh fruit on the first juices harvested. Despite the hot summer, we don't have hard, green tannins like we had in 2013, another hot year. An atypical vintage, with balanced wines, whose harvest was spread over 40 days.
The first vats in the middle of extraction reveal silky tannins with a refreshing varietal hint. Conclusion: a not-so-sunny vintage!
2021 will remain marked by this terrible frost of April 8. This episode was destructive for two reasons: first, it arrived late, at a time when the first grape varieties had moved (Chardonnay, Grenache, Merlot). Then we faced a black frost which, unlike white frosts, conveyed a temperature of -5 to -7°C over large areas and for several hours. The consequences of frost are above all economic, the loss of harvest is substantial: between 30 to 40%. The frozen vines have seen counter-buds re-bloom and produce fruits that ripen out of step with the others.
After April, we witnessed an astonishing vintage with the regularity of the rains which accompanied the development of the vine. And we have seen mildew this year! The first maturity checks showed grapes with very good acidity and very nice fresh fruit. We are based on a northern vintage!
It is an "oenologist's vintage" as we like to say: a technical year with healthy grapes, great fruity potential and tannins that will have to be extracted with precision. The delay in the harvest due to the April frost gave us great heterogeneity of grapes per plot. But we managed to harvest as late as possible to obtain ripe, rich and silky wines.
The wet spring gave some cold sweats when in full confinement it was necessary to treat against mildew. Fortunately for us, the vines took advantage of the water without being affected by the fungus and the rains at budburst allowed vegetation to get off to a good start. This wet spring was life-saving because since mid-May there has been hardly any rain. The soil and the vines have had the necessary to allow a good functioning of the soil and therefore a good nutrition of the plant.
The vine is doing very well to date and is benefiting from fairly strong heat which should maintain the 7 to 10 days ahead of schedule that we have over a normal year. We will certainly harvest the chardonnay after August 15 and the rosé will follow at the end of August. The indicators are green as we write these few lines but anything can happen until then, we have learned to be careful with forecasts.
Following very favorable conditions in spring and summer, we noted a week to 10 days ahead of maturities. September was very hot: up to 35°C. This reinforced this shift compared to previous years. Record earliness for the whites: start of the harvest on August 19. All the grape varieties kept this lead, the last Cabernet Sauvignon were harvested on September 24th. In general we finish around October 1st.
The vine had no water stress which resulted in larger than normal berries. The fermentations are going without a hitch: the extractability is very good, the color is impressive and the tannins are already very melted. Our yields are higher and despite this the wines seem to us as concentrated as last year.
The year of all surprises. Southern and Northern Hemispheres are facing unprecedented phenomena: it freezes over the vineyards of Australia, and heat waves roast the grapes in the South of France a month before harvest. "I've never seen that," says Bruno Le Breton. Corridors of hot wind take shape on the plots seen from the sky, toasted leaves stand out in the heart of the greenery as veraison begins.
The excitement of the harvest is therefore tinged with a little stress. Hail, frost, and strong incessant summer heat play on human and technological impotence. The accomplishment of teamwork will not be rewarded by quantity, but by quality: nature offers us the best.
Once in the cellar, the 2019 vintage surprises with the freshness of its fruit given the high temperatures observed in June. The very mild weather in the late autumn allowed us to wait and reach optimum maturity. If we add to this the low yields of the vintage, we can only admit that the cellar master had ideal vinification conditions. However, he had to be vigilant about the extraction, as the tannic potential could be significant. The wines are solid because built on mature and stable polyphenols, this means that the color and the tannins are of high quality and that we can talk about keeping 5 to 10 years for this vintage. Indeed, the tannins of the skins were not impacted by heat stress and we can say that the wines do not at all resemble the famous 2003 vintage which was also marked by a long episode of heat wave.
The wines are now cold, clarifying. The style of our wines will be respected, roundness, richness, fresh fruit and spices will be present. It is a beautiful vintage atypical by its climatic conditions which gave birth to very balanced, concentrated and fresh wines.
The vineyard was covered with snow at the beginning of March 2018. It had been a long time since we had seen that: 40cm fell on the Mosson valley, leaving traces for a week. The weather station recorded 635mm during the winter.
Once spring arrived, the heat set in. Here is the return of good conditions for the vine to feel good.
During the month of September, we walk the vines to observe and bite into the grape seeds. When they have lost their green tint on sight and their bitterness on the palate, it is then time to harvest.
The harvest will remain in our memories: the team harvested the grapes day after day under a bright sun, in perfect conditions. This will be felt in our wines, the vintage could be close to the greatest of the last century.
This year, we were spared the frost. However, yields are very low. The vines suffered the blow of these very dry vintages and the terroir was put to the test. At the end of June, we had ten days when the night temperature remained above 20°C, considerably tiring the vines.
The 2017 vintage is ultimately very original in its earliness.
We will have to get used to considering shorter vine cycles with, however, real maturity. More than ever, it is the phenolic maturity that guides us, the optimal maturity is found in the tannins and anthocyanins!
After a very mild winter, the vines woke up. The spring remained rather cool and slowed the development of the vine.
The element that marked this vintage is the low amount of rainfall. We are beginning to see the effects of climate change. Long periods with little rain in the face of violent local phenomena. Thus on August 17, 15 km from Montlobre, the Pic Saint Loup was devastated by a hailstorm. Fortunately for us, the storm passed by: it did not even rain a drop!
In these extreme conditions, the quality of the terroir is essential. Drip is very insufficient to compensate for water deficits and if the plant is supplied with water, it is the soil that needs to “live” in its entirety to mineralize the organic matter and nourish the vine.
We are not looking for high yields, the average over the last 20 years is around 45Hl/Ha. Above all, this allows the grapes produced to be able to ripen in these conditions of extreme drought. The good vegetal/fruit/deep soil balance allowed us to get through this very dry vintage.
We observed with great pleasure the very good resistance of the vine and its adaptation to these conditions are all ideal for producing concentrated grapes.
In the end, 2016 is a very good year, rather sunny with ripe fruit and spices and a good concentration. If these conditions are very favorable to quality, this is not the case for quantity. The tannin structure balance is therefore important to follow so as not to over-extract, it is also necessary to keep the freshness of the fruit, which was the case in 2016.
Avant de vous servir un verre, découvrez la Charte de Dégustation Responsable pour vous guider dans cette expérience de plaisir et de partage
La dégustation de vin est une expérience à part qui revêt une dimension toute particulière : elle est un moment de découverte, de partage et de plaisir. Pour bien découvrir ou redécouvrir un vin, il faut être bien préparé, réunir quelques conditions matérielles et bien comprendre ce à quoi nous allons participer !