October 28th, 2013
Comparing 2013 to past vintages
« The year was late due to a cold and wet spring and a flowering that was almost 15 days behind a normal year. This was followed by a dry summer that gave way to a beautiful sunny September with cool nights: a perfect recipe for deeply colored grapes that maintained acidity into maturity. Spring rains and thunderstorms in September gave the vineyards moderate amounts of water and permitted them to mature fully. The whites and rosés are wonderfully fresh and aromatic and although many of our reds are not yet finished at this stage, the tannins are velvety and the wines are already approachable. »
What I wrote 3 years ago for the 2010 vintage corresponds totally with this 2013 vintage. While the press has gone bonkers over the catastrophes that hit certain vineyards (hail, minimalistic yields, and excessive rainfall) our little corner of paradise was spared and we’ve just finished the harvest with enormous smiles. In fact, 2010 is considered by most wine journalists as the vintage of past 20 years and I’m foolish enough to believe in the enormous potential of our 2013 vintage. Once again, here’s a vintage that surprised us and took some time and observation to understand it:
- We had a lot of variation with respect to the late ripening (the Grenache behaved totally differently that the Syrah, for example) and we even with varietals, plots that behaved differently. Picking dates changed (sometimes twice in the same day) and we ended up with white and red grapes coming in at the same time – creating quite a peak in activity and organization in the winery!
- The impact of the load on the advancement of ripening was particularly important this year: we saw significant delays for vines with higher loads but much less delays for vines with more moderate loads.
- Veraison was delayed and heterogeneous for the Grenache because of the presence of lateral shoot clusters. Indeed, early on the vineyards experienced an incredible vigours growth due to a wet spring – the result was a bunch of lateral shoots that flowered a full month after the principal grapes. In August we were back in the parcels taking down these shoots and their tiny grape bunches.
- Beautiful acidity is present in this vintage due to September’s cool nights and the absence of exaggerated hydric stress. Laboratory analysis shows a particularly high presence of malic acid, which brings lots of freshness to our whites and rosés but does not disturb the balance of our reds because it disappears with malolactic fermentation.
- The skins were very hard and continued to be somewhat vegetal until rather late. However, I don’t think I have ever had a vintage where the three measures of maturity (physiological, aromatic, and phenological ) have converged so nicely . You had to be in the vineyard every day since switching to the tipping point to full maturity came brutally sudden. The tannic structure in the reds seems to be important but of high quality.
- Finally, the qualitative homogeneity of our various parcels has to be highlighted. Of course, all the work in the vineyards was essential but nature has been very kind to us this year.
What delights me most about these wines that are still finishing and which we taste each day, is the incredible balance and elegance they transmit, on top of an amazing concentration.