Making the right choices
Sometimes a vintage will lead us to believe that whatever we do, whatever our decisions, it is Mother Nature that decides the quality of our wines. In other years, our intuitions, our experience, our gambles allow us to still believe that we, passionate winemakers, still have the power to influence the course of events. 2013 is one of these years: if in a complicated year the wines are excellent, it is because we never give up, because we fought throughout the season to reverse the course of events, which seemed to lead us to a disastrous year.
Obviously, this requires a little luck. In general, we rely on the God of Provencal winemakers: the Mistral wind, that sweeps away the bleak perspectives of a wet year. But during this late maturing vintage, the Mistral decided to disappear with the swallows in late September.
Luckily the grapes were incredibly strong. Despite the humidity and mild temperatures, and thanks to all the work done, they decided to stay beautiful and healthy, botrytis was never able to settle and we were able to harvest in very good conditions, while waiting for the very late ripening of Grenache.
Overall the year was late ripening, the latest in 30 years, but this is not exceptional when we compare to what our parents experienced.
The harvest began on September 11 and ended on October 12.
Rosés and whites are beautiful, fragrant and fresh, while the reds are fruity, round, with beautiful substance and very balanced: a good year.
Now let's talk about what annoys and despairs us: the low quantity, which was quite impressively low.
Crop loss varies between 30 and 50 % depending on the appellation. This is unheard of.
This obviously puts us in a difficult position, after the winter frosts in the vineyard in 2010 and 2012, that's a lot to deal with.
So what happened?
After a cold winter, spring was very cool and rainy until the end of June, thus triggering a coulure* that was unimaginable on Grenache; in some plots, coulure was up to 80 % of the harvest, worse than what frost or hail could achieve.
The other grape varieties were also affected, but much less.
Then the summer was beautiful, with some rain at the right time and without excess heat, but this did not compensate for the 3 week delay in the growing season, due to the cold spring.
It was at this time that we continued our relentless work methodically, because knowing that the harvest would be late-September to mid-October, we were under the threat of the rains that usually occur at equinox, around September 20 .
* coulure: also known as shattering, describes when the flowers remain sterile
We therefore took care of leaf thinning, in order to aerate the bunches, and left grass in the most sensitive plots to absorb any rain. We worked tirelessly until the day of harvest.
And we won our bet; fortunately it rained little, but the atmosphere was damp. However, thanks to our ultra-careful preparation, everything went perfectly and we were able to complete our meager harvest at full maturity.
2013 is a different vintage, with much less Grenache .
But does different mean lesser quality ?
No, absolutely not. The character of the red wines is certainly unusual, however, it remains remarkable, because the lack of Grenache is offset by an exceptional quality of other varietals, notably the Syrah, definitely the best in 20 years, and curiously the Mourvèdre that, despite the late maturing year, are amazing.
2013 was a tough year, one that never let us take a break; thankfully the quality of the wine is remarkable.
In conclusion, the wines are great, but will be extremely rare.
The 2012 wines after aging are consistent with our expectations: one of our favorite vintages, one of our Top 5 .
The wines are harmonious, balanced, suave and fresh, and at the same time incredibly fragrant with a rare aromatic complexity and a subtle blend of floral and fruity aromas, a great vintage notable for its charm rather than for its power, one that makes you fall in love as soon as you taste it: a beautiful vintage.
Finally, 2013 is our first certified organic harvest, with the exception of a plot of Tavel that we acquired this year, which will be bottled separately.
We are happy and proud to finally officially claim what has always seemed to us essential: organic farming, respectful and in love with terroir.
Looking forward to the pleasure of seeing you in our cellars in Tavel,