by Arianna Occhipinti.Harvest began on September 18th with a good team. They had great energy, which is vital in such moments. We had to pick everything in 15 days, as the rains during the summer have become desired in past years. We tried to collect everything at the ideal time. We only had one day of rain, which slowed the work and fortunately gave us a little breathing time.
This year, I preferred to work on a maceration of about 15 days for the two SP68's, with light pump-overs and punchdowns on all wines. For th Frappato and Siccagno Nero d'Avola, we did a longer maceration of 25 days. It's amazing to note that the more the organic substance in our soils goes on, the more these grapes give the wines more balance. The balance that I feel is when tannins, alcohol, minerality, acidity and freshness, regardless of the vintage, work well together.
Vittoria surprises me more and more, and I notice that this unique combination of calcareous soils, red sands and the Monti Iblei in front our little secret for these the wines of the south.
I wish you to drink a lot of it!
This vintage is marked by fairly normal weather patterns. It was characterized by a mild winter, followed by an equally mild spring with some initial pressure of powdery mildew (which did require a lot of attention). The summer was absent of rainfall but fortunately not too hot, allowing the plant to remain healthy. The veraison was very slow, especially for the Frappato this year.
SP68 Bianco, SP68 Rosso, Il Frappato, Siccagno, Grotte Alte, Passo Nero
by Francesca Padovani.
Here in Montalcino we experienced a very mild winter without snow or frost. As a result the vines budded early which caused us some concern for a late frost. As it turned out the frost never came but the rain did.
Throughout the summer months we had light rain interspersed with the occasional downpour. Sunny hot days were in very short supply. We spent twice as much time in the vineyard tending to the grapes than we normally would have this year. The wet weather and sporadic warmth brought the risk of mold so we spent a lot more time and energy with the vines. It was a blessing in disguise, giving us the opportunity to nurture each and every vine in the same way that we did when we planted 15 years ago.
We harvested in a series of stages. Instead of having a green harvest in July and August (where the immature grapes are removed from the vines) we normally begin harvesting in early September for our Rosato and Pettirosso. This year we began the 15th of September, allowing the remaining grapes additional time to ripen. We finally harvested the grapes we’ll use for our 2014 Brunello in mid-October.
Given the mild, wet summer year we’ve decided to produce more Rosato and Pettirosso than usual and slightly less Rosso and Brunello, reserving the last harvest for these two signature Montalcino wines.
Natural fermentation began quickly this year and finished quickly as well.
Earlier this year we welcomed two new additions to our family. Margherita married John McNamara of Berkeley CA and gave birth to their first child, Isola Rose McNamara in the spring. To celebrate we decided to produce a 100% Trebbiano white wine from 50 year old vines in honor of little Isola Rose.
We’re looking forward to the winter and helping our wines develop. Every year has something unique to offer. The challenge for us as wine producers is to identify that uniqueness and allow it to come to life in the vintage. 2014 looks to be a very promising year in many ways.
by Francis Boulard.
We got through 2014 unscathed! The grapes were in exceptional sanitary state, with potentials between 10,5 and 11. We are so happy, and expect an exceptional vintage.
by Vasja Çotar, November 11th, 2014
The year 2014 in Karst was full of rain, because we started a little later in the middle of September. Either way, the quality of some grapes was good. We began with the Malvazija and continued with Vitovska.
For the end we picked the red grapes. First we started with Merlot, then Teran. Our last day of picking was October 5th for the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Here you have a some pictures....
By Agnès Mosse.
by Rita Busch, November 24th, 2014.
It is unusually quiet for this time of year at the winery. Normally we’re busy with the harvest right through the middle of November. This year everything is different.
Bud break began unusually early in 2014, and as a result of warm early summer
temperatures, flowering was nearly complete by the end of May. This early development
continued right into August. We expected an above-average number of bunches—it seemed
nothing could go wrong. But it’s not for nothing that winemakers are careful with early
Too much rain in September, combined with continued high temperatures, threw
a wrench into winemakers’ plans this year. Grape skins were extremely thin, botrytis and acid
rot spread, and by the fourth week in September—practically overnight—we were forced to
get going with the harvest. At first only rotten grapes were picked out, but then everything
had to move quite quickly, because the weather stayed warm and humid. For our team that meant four weeks of incredibly focused work. Every bunch had to be assessed and sorted, rotten grapes had to be kept out of our buckets (and therefore our wines!) at all costs. In certain parcels well over half of the grapes were thrown away. Every winemaker’s heart breaks at such moments.
In the meantime, we have managed to recover somewhat from the trials and tribulations of
the harvest. Even if the yields are not particularly large, many barrels were filled with must. Oechsle levels were, on the whole, good-to-very-good, and flavor-wise we have a very good feeling. Despite everything, we are quite pleased. The harvest last year was also quite difficult, and expectations about the wines were initially quite low. But once again Riesling taught us a lesson, and the wines that emerged are elegant and full of finesse, with good acidity. They remind us a bit of the wines from 2008, which are showing beautifully at the moment. (Maybe you can still find a bottle in your cellar!?)
by François Cazin, October 12th, 2014
Our team of 23 harvesters brought in the first parcel of Chardonnay on Monday, September 22nd. Like so many others, we took advantage of the unexpected indian summer that helped balance the three prior months, which were quite capricious. For the first two weeks, we were harvesting Chardonnay and Sauvignon in straw hats!
Everything was in a perfect sanitary state, with beautiful maturities and present acidity. We were a little disappointed in the Chardonnay yields, which were in the order of 20hl/ha. The Sauvignons, on the other hand, came out to a correct 40hl/h. Fermentations have been going smoothly and should last about 2 weeks, since the sugars are in some cases above 13°.
We are very happy with the reds as well: excellent Pinot Noirs, decent yields (30hl/h), very ripe, nice color... We'll be be doing the décuvage of the first vat next week. We brought in the last parcel of Pinot on October 6th. These being our oldest vines of red, the concentration was impressive and it will be vinified separately. Everything is good for the Gamay as well, which as always is vinified whole cluster. The most fragile parcels were harvested before the Pinots.
After a week break due to rain, we harvested 2 parcels of young vine Romorantin planted from our own massale selections. In the end, we are incredibly satisfied with this vintage, which (for the time being) I compare to 2002 and 2008. Because the old vine Romorantin is in great shape, we will wait out this nice weather to pick for a Cuvée Renaissance, which is exciting and long overdue!
by Elisabetta Foradori.I was thinking at a different way to see the harvest: people who helped me and not pictures of grapes and vineyards. Hope you enjoy!
by Vesna Clai, November 10th, 2014.
Fortunately, 2014 finished early. This year we worked 100% more to have 50% less grapes. As a result, what we have seems to meet our quality standard. The harvest ran from September 15th (Pino Grigio) until the 8th of October for the Refosco. I think we will be able to make all the cuvées (Sveti Jakov, Ottocento Rosso, Ottocento Bianco and a sparkling). The Malvasia is still macerating and I believe it will be good.
Here are some photos to you that will give an idea of our work:
by Francesca Sfrondini, November 11th, 2014.This was the year of a lot of rain and very little sun. No summer really, late mildew and very slow ripening.
The mildew was under control, thanks in part to the assistance of a nettle/horsetail (equisetum) decoction in conjunction with the normal bordeaux mix. We only had to do one more treatment than usual. The more important problem was the cool temperatures and heavy rain that hit us in gusts from July onwards. There were also 2 hailstorms early in the summer.
The harvest started pretty late by our standards: the second week of September to finish on 20th of October.
The more coastal varieties like Aleatico and Malvasia Nera did not finish so well and this year there is no passito of Aleatico -- already in July the grapes were splitting from too much water. Both will go with a bit of Merlot into the Rosato.
The grapes of medium maturation like Merlot, Sangiovese, Malvasia di Candia were the best grapes for us this vintage, and the Cabernet has skins so tough a cannon wouldn't scratch them. We harvested the Alicante very late because it took so long to ripen.
For the white, it's a "saga" year. The late varieties like Vermentino were not ripening well, so we removed leaves to give more sun and then harvested in 3 triages, taking advantage of the fine, dry weather of the first week of October. There was a big difference in the fruit of the passes because meanwhile some rot set in on a part of the grapes. We dried some of the Malvasia Bianca and then we put in together with the rest of the must to reach a satisfactory degree of alcohol... Ultimately a really nice wine, but a strange way of getting there for sure!
It took lots of patience and imagination this year... Only a strict selection on the vine allowed us to have good wines in the cellar. Still, we lost about half of the crop...
That's our adventure in 2014 !!
by Alberto Masini, November 10th, 2014
High rainfall in August, rain every 2/4 days.
Low sunlight and temperatures below the seasonal average.
High humidity made it difficult to defend the vines against disease.
Ripeness of the grapes:
The harvest began with the aromatic white grapes Malvasia and Moscato on August 21st. Alchohol levels were below average. The red grapes struggled with phenolic maturation, it was really slow. However, it was a great year for primary aromas (or varietal aromas) and optimal for the aromas and acidity of the white grapes. Alcohol content provided below the average.
Vinification of the grapes:
Our ongoing selection of healthy grapes in the vineyard proved very important in the cellar.
The spontaneous fermentations showed great aromatic complexity.
The wines are now maturing on their lees. The temperatures of the season are not yet low enough for their natural clarification. We expect them do so by early December.
photos by Daniela Di Grutolla.
By Jean Manciat, October 14th, 2014.
Harvest has been over for 3 weeks now and it's taken me a while to write back to you due to the tumultuous nature of the last month. You will understand the urgency to take care of the wine after reading this report.
The first thing I'd like to note is that is was a very particular year weather wise, with seasons of rain and dryness following each other as if this were a normal cycle. Winter 2013-2014 was mild and rainy (with the exception of a small frost in early December), then March to June was very dry and cold with no rain (a bit of frost around easter). The soils were so dry that working them proved impossible! However, due to the weather grass was not growing and this proved to be less detrimental than it could have been.
Flowering went much smoother than 2013, even though the vines were a bit pale and clearly suffering from the brisk North winds. On the other-hand, the grapes were in excellent shape with no illnesses, meaning we didn't have to spray any treatments.
And then, another heavy period of rain in July and August. So heavy we set a record in the first two weeks of August! It was absolutely impossible to enter the vines during that period, and the grass was growing so fast that the whole landscape began resembling a jungle! Fortunately, the grapes were already fully formed and were able to avoid illness, save for a bit of rot. The result was a loss of any precocity gained in the Spring, and we were already thinking to ourselves "Jamais 2 sans 3." (note:French expression, "never 2 without 3"), meaning that after 2 years of heavy rot, here came the third!
Well nope! Like a miracle, September arrived. Its radiant sun swept away all those negative thoughts and permitted the grapes to reach full, optimal maturity. In such, we find ourselves in front of a very promising vintage, making vinification a less stressful ordeal. Chardonnay is a tricky variety in that beautiful grapes don't necessarily mean the wine will be excellent, but I am confident we are working with a solid foundation. And look at least year: all that rot and we still produced excellent wine!
The wines are honest, clear, with slight citrus notes and balanced acidities. Alcohol has remained at stable, harmonious levels (everything at 13°) and yields are more generous than the last 2 vintages. Fermentations began rather quickly in the initial heat of harvest (25 to 28°), but the following months have been cooler, giving us the slow fermentations we like.
We'll have to confirm all this is the near future. As I like to say: "It's only when the wine has been drunk that we can comment on it!"
by Alessandra Zantedeschi, November 12th, 2014
November 6th, 2014.Harvest began under the sun on September 15th...
In the Vallée du Cher, the morning mist eats up the horizon.
The first press of the Sauvignons taste delicious:
Then we must remove the grape pomace multiple times a day. Jéremy, Kévin and Padle have to dispose and re-dispose of it...
Fortunately, our favorite importers (LDM of course!) asked us for a picture of a "dangerous farmer" for their portfolio tasting. So while harvesting, the team has ample time to think of what to do. In the end, the jury of harvesters settles on this one during décuvage.
Let's not forget the extremely important participation of our friends Viandox, Django (who we all call Jean Claude), Inox and Vadrouille:
By Nadia Verrua, November 11th, 2014
by Olivier de Moor, November 10th, 2014
In my mind, 2014 was supposed to be a year of appeasement, canceling out our very bad 2013 harvest. This was the end game, and it wasn't obvious because of a major problem weakening our vines: esca. For me, this is the most symbolic parameter of the aging of the Chablisien, resulting first and foremost from a lack of rigor in a global comprehension of vegetal life. We are finding ourselves in heap of trouble due to the "maintenance" of the vines (like a dentist taking car of teeth) and re-grafting.
2013's weak yields were due to both a large amount of coulure and rot. We therefore had to cross our fingers in 2014 and hope for the best. And that's what happened.
Winter 2013-2014 was incredibly mild. Only on very rare nights did temperatures dip into the minuses. I don't have the exact records to confirm it, but I believe this winter was record setting. The consequence was a very precocious budding that made us fear Spring frost, since the vines now had so much extra time to be exposed to it. To make the risk even more real, March 2014 was amongst the hottest ever registered, with four times less water than usual. Temperatures were extremely variable throughout the day: cold in the morning, hot in the afternoon. April was also very dry and rather warm.
May was fairly normal, with two periods of rain that gave us 60mm. June was marked with periods of intense heat, and the vines started flowering during one of them, around the 6th and the 7th. Flowering was fast and homogenous for all our grapes. June was also very dry, with only 22mm of rain. This first half of the year seemed easy and made us anticipate an early harvest.
But of course the following months would push us to our limits. July is drenched, twice as much rain as usual. And the similarities in temperature between day and night made for sad, cold weather. August is a caricature of July: 140 to 170 mm of water in these same, gloomy conditions. August 13th is the most rainy day of the year: 60 to 80mm of water in one day, like winter in the middle of summer.
Good weather came back starting August 26th (on the new moon) and continued right through harvest. And we are happy that it did! September is three times LESS rainy than usual: 16 to 19 mm. Another record for one of the least rainy Septembers in history. And temperatures were warm and maximal for the period.
Harvest took place from September 22nd to October 3rd. The weather was magnificent and void of rain. The grapes were in perfect sanitary conditions with a little bit of millerandage. Yields were abundant, reaching quantities similar to 2011 at about 40hl/h. The juices seem balanced between sugar and acidity, and the fermentations were quick and without any difficulties.
by Matthieu Baudry, November 10th, 2014All hail September!
Winter was particularly mild, with a lot of rain and temperatures never sinking into the minuses; a rather rare occurrence here despite our moderate climate. Fortunately, the cold didn't decide to show up in Spring during the very stressful débourrement of the vines. Unlike 2012 and 2013, we suffered from no frost this year.
Spring was also quite mellow, with little rain except for May. This meant fast, homogenous flowering. Most "clairvoyants" gave us the green light to expect a comfortable harvest with good quantities and healthy grapes. A very hot June permitted the vines to advance their development and prepare beautiful fruit.
But then, July and August were drenched. As summer progressed, mildew pressure became more and more of a threat, and we were obliged to treat on an almost weekly basis. An anticyclone never came, meaning constant rains and cool temperatures. By late August, morale was rather low because it was looking like a repeat of the humid 2013 vintage.
But in the end, a miracle produced itself early September with incredible weather that lasted through the harvest. In fact, there was almost no rain all month and the sunshine was exceptional. We began harvesting on September 29th in a much better context than 2013, with clean grapes rich in sugar.
With the fermentations done, the wines have proven very seductive. They have the richness of 2009 but with better acidity and more vibrant color. We are extremely satisfied but also relieved after such a mediocre summer and the low volume of the last two vintages. Yields were quite generous, and hovered around 40hl/ha, the usual we except in a "normal" vintage.
Thank you September! 2014 should prove to be a very beautiful vintage!