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2012 Vintage

Unusual weather conditions that helped to produce a rich, pleasing vintage for those who were able to control it. The weather in 2012 was marked by an unusual winter. It was, first of all, exceptionally dry with a historic lack of rainfall (the driest winter since rainfall statistics were first collected). Secondly, early February was particularly cold (the coldest since 1985), while the latter part of the month was very warm. Fortunately, rainfall levels returned to normal from then on and were spread evenly through the growing period, apart from a bout of slight hydric stress in early August, accompanied by very high temperatures. Storms arrived at exactly the right moment in late August to provide a less stressful end of season. Temperatures were higher than average (+10%) throughout the growing cycle; early August was particularly hot. These weather conditions set the scene for a high-quality harvest. In terms of plant health, the year was more complicated than usual, with significant pressure from oidium throughout the cycle. Pressure from mildew increased during the season to a peak in mid-summer with a considerable presence of mosaic mildew that had to be contained. As far as La Madura was concerned, our high level of preventive work (plenty of leaf and bunch thinning) meant that we kept the vines in good health with 2 oidium treatments (3 for the Carignan). We don’t usually treat for mildew but this year had to do a leaf-spraying treatment in late July to combat mosaic mildew. After this busy period, we enjoyed a harvest free of complications, with superb grapes and fine weather. We harvested the whites on 4 and 5 September. We then left the reds until 20 September, starting with the Syrah planted on shale and ending on 8 October with the Mourvèdre, for which we had to wait some time before it reached its ideal phenolic maturity (that’s where the winegrower’s experience is important). We had not harvested so late since 2004. We completed de-vatting this week, so we can now make an initial assessment. The whites: the wines are now very pleasing, expressive and fresh, with a delightful fullness. We enjoyed good yields of 41 hl per ha. The reds: it’s too soon to make a final judgement, but they are already showing good structure, with smooth tannins and deep colours. Aromas are already quite expressive, typical and fruity. The yield for our reds was 29 hl per ha, which is about average for us. To summarise, everything points to an excellent 2012 vintage. This will certainly not be the case in every region. We therefore hope that opinion leaders will take on board the fact that we don’t have the same climate as other regions. Unfortunately, it’s quite common to lump all the regions together when it comes to talking about the quality of a vintage. This is often unfair to us, as we are fortunate to enjoy a generally milder climate and are therefore less subject to fluctuations between one vintage and another. For those who have ears to hear…

Saint-Chinian, 10 november 2012.


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