A superb, well-balanced, expressive vintage Despite causing a lot of tension during the year, the vintage turned out to be a success in the end and was saved and transcended by the weather conditions in August and September. After a wet November 2014, with a Mediterranean episode that built up water reserves, the winter did not provide its normal amount of rain. May, June and July were then very hot and dry, causing some concern, with considerable hydric stress on some terroirs, particularly the shale. Fortunately, the rains came in August (more than normal) along with reasonable temperatures, and the grapes were able to ripen properly. Conditions remained favourable in September, with light rain and cooler temperatures than normal. This all meant that the vintage ripened more slowly than expected after a historically early flowering and colour change (approximately 2 weeks in advance). During the growing period (April to September), rainfall was 10 to 20 % down on normal, while temperatures were 15 % higher than average (among the highest in the last 10 years). Other climate effects had a major influence on the quality of the grapes we harvested. There were significant temperature ranges in August and September, with cool nights. This helps develop the wines’ aromatic expression and colour. As a result of the weather, we ended up picking some very fine grapes, as the work done in the vineyards had kept them in good health (the wine-grower’s work made the difference). The harvest was not as early as anticipated and we had to wait a little longer than expected to obtain peak maturity.
At Domaine La Madura, the whites (Sauvignon and Piquepoul) were harvested between 27 and 31 August to maintain sufficient freshness, while the reds were harvested from 15 September, starting with the Grenache and Syrah, soon followed by the Carignan and Mourvèdre, and ending on 30 September. The late-ripening varieties (Carignan and Mourvèdre) reached maturity quickly and are of remarkable quality. Our initial tastings of the wines have confirmed our impressions of the harvest. The whites are expressive and well balanced. The reds are already pleasing to the nose and have a rich, elegant structure for such young wines. We now look forward to tasting the wines after the winter to get a clearer idea of the profile of the vintage, but there’s no doubt about the quality. Saint-Chinian, 4 December 2015