Hot and stormy year: the hail of July 15
PROFILE OF THE VINTAGE
The year began in the mildness and under the rain. Apart from February, which was very cold due to the north wind, the whole winter was very mild and very rainy. The vines were slow to bud, but the growth was spectacular in mid-April thanks to summer temperatures.
The "Saints of Ice" in May made us fear the worst, fortunately the heat returned very quickly with its procession of storms and violent precipitations. The flowering began timidly at the end of the month while the parasitic pressure of the mildew was increasing. Its virulence reached levels never seen for a long time with the stormy rains of June. Damage on bunches was finally limited to 10 - 15% By mid-June we were already at three-quarters of the average annual rainfall.
The first two weeks of July were hot and stormy and ended on the 15th with a devastating hail storm. The first two weeks of July were hot and stormy and ended on the 15th with a devastating hail storm. All the plots were affected, foliage, shredded bunches, shoots and vines were lacerated.
The loss of harvest is estimated between 80 and 100% depending on the plots. Temperatures then continued to rise, July ended up being the hottest since 2006 and 2013. August continued with a beginning of the month close to the heat wave. The storms returned, reactivating the mildew on this puny foliage which struggled to overcome the stress of the hail. The grapes did not get any better and the ripening did not really start until the beginning of September.
Cool at night, hot and dry during the day, this climate was not very favorable to the development of noble rot.
On September 27th, the grape-pickers were called to mobilize the troop and to pick some grapes. With this autumn drought, when it had rained so much this year, the situation did not progress. The small rainy episode of October 14 finally launched botrytis and barely eight days later, rot had done its work. We will have to act quickly because this concentration has reached a ceiling. From the 23rd to the 26th, our faithful cutters did a hard work of sorting out the grapes that had survived the hail but were also often damaged on their western side. On the 30th, the harvest was completed with a total of 27 barrels, of which it was already certain that nearly two thirds would have to be downgraded to generic wine.
Vinified and aged in one year old barrels, the wine expresses a great freshness with dominant notes of fresh flowers and stems. Then come notes of lemon, grapefruit, pineapple and mango. Apricot concludes with its sweet bitterness. This Fargues vintage will not be remembered for its power but rather for its balance, its freshness, its subtle simplicity of access, in a style reminiscent of the 2002s or the 1999s or even of wines from the end of the last century. If the hail damage of July 15 obviously reduced the harvest to a mere thimbleful per vine, the quality of the grapes was very difficult to obtain. It was a challenge for the whole team and these few barrels are a nice reward to our obstinacy. It was a challenge for the whole team and these few barrels are a great reward for our persistence.
NOTES ET CRITIQUES DÉGUSTATION>
This has a bit more than most of the pack in 2018, with layers of warmed coconut, mango, peach, apricot and macadamia nut flavors, all framed by a lightly singed almond note.James Molesworth – April 2019