2009: A hot, dry year that favoured aromatic expression and produced concentrated wines.
Winter 2009 gave us temperatures that were close to normal. Rainfall was low and did not allow the soil to build up reserves to any great extent.
April was extremely wet, with rainfall double that of a normal year. This damp weather favoured rapid growth in the vines, but it also favoured the development of fungal diseases. The weather then turned dry and hot, with May being the hottest for 50 years and August the hottest on record after 2003; temperatures were often over 35 °C throughout the month. The average temperature for the period April to September was 19.6 °C, i.e. 1.5 ° higher than average. Another important and characteristic aspect of the vintage was the coolness of the nights during the ripening period. This was very favourable to aromatic expression and phenol potential in the wines (colour and tannins). The nights were cool in August and September, particularly so in mid-September. Towards the end of the ripening period, hydric stress appeared in some of the more sensitive parcels. Weather conditions for the 2009 vintage offered the potential for high-quality wines for those who were able to cope with the problems caused by the damp weather in April, and where reasonable yields, combined with good rooting systems on the vines, were able to counteract the hydric stress that occurred towards the end of the ripening period. The influence of the rootstocks and types of soils also led to disparities. Yields were low overall as the grapes were unable to swell to any great extent. The harvest started early and took place in ideal weather conditions. As far as La Madura is concerned, we are currently very pleased with the quality of the vintage. The whites harvested on 26 and 27 August are fresh; at this stage, the aromas are not as powerful as usual and are more oriented towards elegance. The reds were harvested between the 10 and 25 September; the vintage is full-bodied, delicious and concentrated. The only negative factor is the yields, which are even lower than usual and equivalent to those of 2003 (21 hl/ha for the reds this year).
Saint-Chinian, 5 february 2010