by Alain Girard, January 2nd 2019.
Our year in the vines:
It was a morose winter with a timid sun and abundant rain. After a drenched December, January beat all records with almost double the usual rain fall in this period. February was very cold, with an abnormal drop on the 26th to the 28th. March was quite cool, bordering on cold. Then April was abnormally warm. Such temperatures proved ideal for the budding of the vines which took place around mid-April.
These record breaking temperatures precipitated the vegetation's evolution: growth was dynamic and the phenological stages followed each other in quick succession. Starting mid-April, temperatures started to plummet. The painful memories of 2016 and 2017's April frosts prepared us for the worst. But we would see no frost 2018; a critical stage of the year had been passed.
May was on the warmer and humid side, though this fluctuated dramatically throughout the month. The result: phases of accelerated growth of the shoots followed by a slowdown. We also started to get more rain around this time. With the humidity this made the vines vulnerable to mildew. We began treating the vines to combat it in late May and had to stay active and vigilant through June, sometimes unable to do so due to the weather.
Flowering began in the first days of June under good weather: the rain stopped right when we needed it to. Flowering was very quick, making us understand early on that 2018 will be a precocious vintage. Starting mid-June, temperatures start rising dramatically: hot with the occasional heat-wave. A new season is officially upon us. June and July prove to be exceptionally hot.
The grapes maturation took place under significant heat. The water reserves from the winter's rain permitted this period to go smoothly, save a few sectors that drain rapidly or where the vines' roots cannot dive very deep into the mother rock. In the end, the rain we were cursing in May ended up being beneficial.
Still, the extreme heat did degrade malic acid in the grapes. This will also guarantee a lack of any vegetal aromas or flavors. Sugars, on the other hand, progressed at a good rhythm. We can already see what the wines are going to end up like.
A nice September kept the qualitative potential of the harvest intact. It permitted us to wait for optimal maturity in each parcel. Though the harvest was announced as precocious, we began on September 10th. It remained sunny throughout.
Our First Impressions of the Wine:
The whites are still a bit timid. Notes of pear and mandarine are clearly distinguishable. On the palate, the wine is subtle and bright, oscillating between roundness and freshness. The aromatic precision is there. The texture still needs to find its way but the current state is very promising.