by François Cazin.
This will have been my 40th vintage at Petit Chambord. Each year is of course different, but 2016 might hold a world record for "year of all excess":
-The worst will have been a long period of frost, from the 17th to the 27th of April
-A "monsoon" from mid-May to mid-June, culminating in over 200mm of rain.
-Mildew Pressure during flowering
-An incredibly dry July to September
-A heatwave in late August that burned grapes
At least we had good weather for the harvest, which took place from September 26th to October 10th. It took just 9 days to pick what nature left us, about 25% of a normal harvest. Fortunately, the quality is there, which very good maturities. The small rain on September 15th rejuvenated the vines a little, which was fortunate.
The results are a lovely Cheverny Rosé, 100% direct press, as the yields were too low to properly macerate and make reds. There will only be one cuvée of Cour-Cheverny, as the Romorantin particularly suffered from the frost (only 8 hl/h harvested.) The quality, however is very promising, with a lot of concentration thanks to the eastern winds in early October.
We ended up with a very pleasant fall, which we took advantage of to cultivate the vines and work the soils.
by Sophie Ilbert
What can we tell you about 2016? Quite frankly, it was a difficult pain in the ass here at Combel-la-Serre. To start, we had hail in early April during buding, something that has never happened here according to Julien's father Jean-Pierre! We were definitely affected but at that point it was impossible to quantify the damages.
From there, mother nature decided that to give us a rainy Spring, to the point where we thought the May and June downpours would never end. This led to a lot of coulure and many of the buds not flowering. This was followed by a hot summer, too hot even. It culminated with a 10 day heat wave in August.
By September, the vines were completely stressed and were like a deer in headlights: they were not maturing at all, with no evolution in the sugars or PH. The only thing that saved us was a nice after-season that let the plants get the their final cycle before harvest. In 2016, we averaged 22hl per hectare, when a good year in Cahors lets you get around 50...