Vintage 2021: Retrospective and perspectives in Châteaux and Domaines Gérard Bertrand

Millésime 2021 : Rétrospective et perspectives dans les Châteaux et Domaines Gérard Bertrand

Richard Planas, director of Châteaux et Domaines Gérard Bertrand, discusses the 2021 vintage in detail.

The essentials

  • A dry year with marked and very nuanced thermal amplitudes locally.
  • A vintage in which the “vinegrower” work bears fruit to approach the harvest with well-balanced and healthy vines.
  • Balanced load, freshness in the wines, good acidity : the ingredients of a vintage that will stand the test of time.
  • A vintage with a typically Mediterranean profile, with localized climatic and water nuances - particularly in spring and early summer - which will certainly highlight the specificities of each of our terroirs: from the borders of the Pyrenees ( Domaine de l'Aigle, Château la Soujeole, Domaine de l'Estagnère), up to the coastal areas (Châteaux L'Hospitalet, Château des Karantes, Domaine de Tarailhan) passing through the foothills of Larzac (Château La Sauvageonne, the Clos du Temple, Château des Deux Rocs), from the Montagne Noire (Clos d'Ora and Château Laville Bertrou) and Corbières (Château de Villemajou and Cigalus).

The harvest began on August 26, 2021, with the Sauvignon and Chardonnay from Cigalus, on a beautiful sunny day without excessive heat.

At all the Châteaux et Domaines Gérard Bertrand, the sanitary state of the vineyard is excellent with a very good balance between grapes and leaf area : the ideal conditions to let the maturities progress until the end of the harvest.

The acidities are high, which promises fully aromatic and balanced whites and reds with superior aging potential.

Progress of the 2021 wine campaign

From a general point of view out of our 16 Châteaux and Estates, with low rainfall (-30 to -50% compared to 2020), 2021 joins the driest years.Everywhere it rained mainly in autumn and early winter; in the spring, the approach is nuanced according to the territories: the precipitation was stronger inland than on the coast and the Corbières before a general and marked "summer trough".

Wn winter mild and relatively dry resulted in early budburst of the vine. We worked on green manures by seeding every other row in the fall.

In spring, we will remember the night of April 7-8 2021 when a mass of cold air from northern Europe hit Languedoc when the vines had started their vegetative cycle. We have protected the most exposed plots at the bottom of the hills by lighting night braziers, thus mitigating the effect of this spring frost on the upcoming harvest.

When they were affected by this episode, our vines were in very good health. They crossed it valiantly, accompanied with biodynamic treatments. We were able to see a few weeks later that we had succeeded in preserving the harvest potential in line with our quality requirements on all of our Châteaux & Domaines by limiting losses to 20% of the harvest.

The following weeks, flowering took place without excessive heat.It took its time The spring rains, few in number overall, fell at the right time, to take over from the Autumn rains and beginning of Winter, and guarantee good mineral nutrition, essential for growth and building up the leaf surface (photosynthetic engine of maturation) .

We prepared the soil by regular work according to the principle "one hoeing is worth two waterings": a technique that promotes the proper functioning of the soil by limiting competition between vines and natural grass and stimulates nutrition through

t13>input of organic matter into the soil. This also promotes soil mineralization and the assimilation of naturally present minerals to allow harmonious development of the vine.

We have associated this active presence with the applications of foliar biodynamic preparations (dung and horn silica, herbal teas and essential oils) and the balanced supply of manure organic to allow vegetative development consistent with the load.

Summer was temperate, with seasonal sunny periods alternating with cooler periods. But, syears rain, water management was an essential issue for the management of the vineyard. We therefore anticipated the destruction of plant cover to limit competition.

The wine yield is established over 2 years, the previous vintage having been generous in water, the floral initiation took place in optimal conditions. Very early on, we notice a fairly generous release of bunches. The precise monitoring work of our tailors has favored the right number of buds on each strain in line with our ultra-premium objectives for our wines.

We approach the harvest with a well-calibrated "load and leaf area" balance and a functional foliage to ensure the ripening of the grapes in the best conditions.

The end of the season looms with the famous "Indian summer" ensuring an exceptional sanitary condition of the grapes so that they are gorged of sun before vatting.

This year in particular the applications of biodynamic preparations have played a particularly important role in supporting the harmonious development of the vegetation, and stimulating natural defenses against climatic aggressions (water stress) or parasites.

They followed one another according to the rhythm of the seasons and planetary alignments: Maria Thun dung compost in the fall, Horn Dung in the spring and Horn Silica during the plant growth phases of the vine...

Biodynamic applications (based on herbal tease, fermented plant extracts) played a stimulating role in leaf vitality. This year, depending on the estate, yarrow, nettle and oak bark have enabled our vines to adapt to high temperatures, dry periods or maritime humidity.

The sanitary condition of the vineyard is excellent, at the cost, as every year, of vigilance and daily attention to accompany each vine stock of the vine until the harvest, surveying each plot.

The harvest has only just begun and we are putting all our energy into this final stretch to bring the grapes to their optimum maturity and reveal all the aromas of an exceptional vintage

Follow our harvest, domain by domain:

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