October 31 2016
October 28, 2016
Vineyard phenology was mixed in 2016, prey to the various changes in our climate; the mild winter provoked early budding, a cool, wet spring resulted in flowering eight days later than in 2015 and the hot, dry and windy summer that followed promised a crop modest in volume but of high quality in terms of health and berry concentration.
Our vineyards, for the most part farmed using biodynamic methods, escaped the perils such as frost, hail and mildew that hit many French regions this year.
Harvesting began early (on August 26 with the Chardonnay at Domaine Cigalus) and finished late (on October 28 in the AOC Malepere appellation and the IGP Cité de Carcassonne, with plots of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon). In other words it took more than 60 days – a record - to complete the harvest, which passed without any major hitch.
2016 is a late ripening vintage, marked by significant drought; a lack of rain in both winter and summer was confounded by severe evaporation caused by hot, windy conditions with practically no precipitation from mid-June onwards.
Managing yields, controlling the health of the grapes, monitoring the evolution of ripening by tasting berries at intra-parcel level and hand-picking each individual parcel at optimum maturity; these are the principles upon which our pursuit of quality and the expression of our terroirs are based. And it is these that enabled us to harvest each terroir, each grape variety and each parcel in flawless health and at perfect maturity.
The few days of rain in September relieved the vines of severe water stress and allowed them to unblock their phenolic ripeness, essential for making great wines.
The quantities harvested in 2016 are inferior to previous years due to the absence of rain since the spring, notably in the vineyards in the coastal areas which were more heavily affected by low water reserves.
It is a vintage that highlights the specificities of each terroir and accentuates the differences of expression between the various Crus of the Languedoc, from Limoux to the Terrasses du Larzac, taking in the terroirs of Cabrieres, La Clape, La Livinière, Boutenac, Malepere and the Cité de Carcassonne.
Careful analysis of weather forecasts, extreme patience and the ability to resist the temptation to bring in the grapes to protect them from bad weather, a good knowledge of our terroirs and the daily presence in the vineyards of our technical staff (who supervised the painstaking work of our 150 grape pickers) were once again essential factors in the success of this vintage.
We can predict a vintage of enormous potential, with immediate aromatic expression in the whites and rosés which are showing delicious balance. The reds are coloured, fruity and intense, and promise great ageing potential.