At last, a great vintage ending in a 7 ! (in the Languedoc)
The year was particularly atypical and contrasting from the weather point of view. The winter was very dry and mild, and was then followed by an exceptionally warm, quite wet spring in April and May. This led to a very early budburst, followed by rapid leaf and branch growth. Added to this were a number of occasions when the “Tramontane” blew very strongly, causing considerable breakage in certain parcels and therefore a loss of harvest (mainly on the whites for us). The summer then saw a the climate change to very dry (unlike the rest of France) and cool for the season. This led to a welcome slowing in growth and helped to avoid a harvest that looked at one point as if it could start on a historically early date. The weather also meant that the grapes remained in excellent health.
Overall, 2007 was the driest year since 2000, with temperature levels close to those of 2001 and 2005 (an interesting comparison!). Another feature of the year was the coolness of the nights, a factor that encourages polyphenol synthesis (colour and tannins) and aromas synthesis. In the cellars, the wine clearly confirms these observations.
From a wine-growing point of view, 2007 was also a good year for those who are keen to limit the amount of spraying. By taking a few calculated risks in spring, we did not have to spray at all for mildew. The wind took care of part of the work, while thinning (sucker removal, careful trellising and leaf thinning) also helped a great deal. Only two treatments were needed to deal with oidium, while only the Carignan needed an extra dose of sulphur. You can’t do much better than that.
This year was also one in which the wine-maker and his ‘terroir’ worked closely together. Those parcels where the roots are able to burrow deep down to find a source of water – i.e. mainly the slopes – suffered little or no hydric stress, especially as the soils are worked in such a way as to encourage the roots to go deep (ploughing, winter grassing, etc.). We also note that our yields were comparable to those of previous years (apart from the breakage caused by the wind).
Against this background, we were able to pick the grapes with some peace of mind as they reached maturity. The harvest was completed quite quickly as the late-ripening varieties (Carignan and Mourvèdre) matured earlier than usual compared to the Syrah and Grenache. The white was harvested on 30 and 31 August, and the reds between 12 and 27 September.
The quality of the 2007 vintage is already surprisingly convincing, even though malolactic fermentation has only just finished. The white wines are rich and concentrated, and pleasantly fresh, with elegant aromas. The only major problem is the small quantity due to a rather low level of blossoming followed by the heavy breakage caused by the wind. The reds are well-rounded, highly coloured and concentrated, but have remained fresh and harmonious, with fine, complex aromas dominated by notes of smoke and ripe fruit. Our initial tastings have reminded us of the 2001 reds at this stage. St-Chinian, 2/11/07