2019, Structure, colour, healthy grapes : A superb vintage
2019 witnessed a normal rainy spring, after an exceptionally rainy spring in 2018.
The autumn and winter rainfalls (460 mm) launched the vegetative period and provided the soils with good water reserves. April and May were moderately cold, marked by fast -and then suddenly slow- growing periods. This phenomenon can trigger coulure (= failure of the fruit to set. The growing season was very with only 158 mm total rainfall (against 530 mm in 2018 and 185 mm in 2017). It was also very hot, with 7 every 10 days exceeding 30°C (86°F) between 1st June and 15th September. At the end of June, a heat wave hit the region, peaking at 44.3°C (111.2°F) on 28th June.
In the face of these extreme weather conditions, the foliage did rather well. The water shortage however impacted the size of the berries that remained comparatively small. By harvest time, the grapes were showing a beautiful sanitary state albeit a low yield in juice. The 15 mm rainfall on 18 September was rather welcome and allowed the grenache grapes to reach phenolic maturity. The yield is slightly up from average, compared to the last few years.
2018, Ripeness and balance
One must go back several decades to find such a rainy spring. Fortunately, we were spared the traditional September equinox rain , thus allowing the wine growers to harvest in total peace of mind until late autumn. The 2018 Châteauneuf-du-Pape reds and whites have been produced from grapes that presented excellent sanitary conditions, they are characterised by optimal ripeness and a nice length on the palate.
With a total rainfall of 520 mm during the growing season and the sum of temperatures -base 10°C -reaching 2252 over the period from 1st March to 30th September, this year witnessed outbreaks of mildew, among the most important in the last few years. Fortunately, the high summer temperatures and the mild September nights contributed to excellent quality grapes. Early maturation and thick skins characterized the red varietals, and particularly grenache; these were vinified in a continued effort to respect aromatic potentials during extraction.