An unusual vintage This vintage is characterized by three major, highly contrasting periods and unusual weather conditions:
Rainfall was very low during the winter and spring – around 50% lower in the winter, which meant that reserves were not reconstituted. As rainfall had also been low in the autumn, this was very worrying, especially as temperatures during the winter and spring were very mild, encouraging plant growth to be 2 to 3 weeks in advance of normal. In addition, the evapotranspiration observed over the spring was at its highest level for the last 35 years, making us fear the worst for the growth of the vines and the development of the bunches.
We were fortunately saved by the summer, in which temperatures were cooler than usual: the heat balance for the summer was similar to that of spring, whereas it is normally 25 % higher. Secondly, rainfall was normal in terms of quantity and effective because it was fragmented. This meant that it was available for the vines and helped them to get through the summer despite the fact that reserves were at such a low level.
Early September was warm and dry, which helped the grapes to ripen. Also, the nights were cool, as in August, and this is very favourable to the colour of the juices and their aromatic expression.
In St-Chinian, the rain in the second fortnight was limited (whereas there were major storms further east) and this didn’t impede the end of the harvest. We had excellent conditions for bringing in the grapes.
Following on from this vintage in three acts, during which we went from considerable anxiety to relief, we were finally able to close the curtain with some trouble-free vinification. The wines are now superbly balanced and very elegant.
For the whites, the Sauvignon then the Piquepoul were harvested on 2 and 3 September. The wines are already fleshy with aromas that are quite present but full of finesse, which isn’t always the case at this stage in the maturing process. We believe they are promising and should deliver up more of their potential during the winter.
For the reds, the harvest began on 12 September with the Syrah on schistous soils and ended on the 26th with the Mourvèdre on the sandstone and clayey limestone. The grapes were in excellent health and of limited size and are now giving us wines that are highly elegant in terms of aromas, structure and balance. The maturing process will obviously bring out further expression.
Saint-Chinian, 22 November 2014