Each vintage has its specific characteristics and it is difficult to compare one to the other. But we do compare them in order to define them. The task is hard for 2014.
It all started with a very wet winter especially in January and February that are usually drier. The water reserves were very abundant then, even more so since the natural, living soil was hardly plowed. This was very useful because after 35 mm of rain in March, it only rained twice significantly – 22 mm in May and 21 mm in August. The latter did a lot of good to the vines...
So during the spring months, some areas remained very moist. The lack of heat plus the Mistral wind didn’t dry up the atmosphere. We therefore had to fight some mildew at the beginning of the season, later powdery mildew, but these diseases were not too developed to be serious.
Due to the lack of heat, we expected a late grape harvest with a rather long staggered picking period depending on soil depth.. That impression was reinforced by a fine growth of grapes, especially the Grenache variety – offsetting the previous year – and we were hoping for a high volume.
Then came September – the hottest month of the summer. Everything speeded up and we started harvesting Grenache rosés on September 1st. As of the 15th, the heat was accompanied by an eastern wind bringing a heavy wet atmosphere and rain. The grapes ripened fast and we picked them quickly, also because the weather was uncertain and there were forecasts of rainy periods. On September 19tha heavy storm broke out with hail.
We observed the damage on 4 hectares which were not yet harvested - two of them were seriously damaged. We harvested them immediately in rosé to avoid any problem. The wood of the branches for next year was not damaged. We decided to risk waiting to harvest the least ripe areas, but not too long due to the uncertain weather.
We finished the harvest on Saturday, September 27th.
Finally at the beginning of October, as all the red wines were still macerating and the rosés were fermenting, we could say that despite difficult conditions at the end of the harvest, we feel we will nevertheless obtain a little more volume than expected, and some wines will probably have less alcohol, but look concentrated and balanced.
To be continued…
Daniel Ravier - October 2014