A cold, wet spring saved by a beautiful summer

 

Growing season and vine development

After a cool, very wet winter and spring, the temperature rose to 30°C in the shade on the 17th of April. However, this was quickly forgotten when there was a frost alert on the 28th, with the thermometer reading just one small degree above freezing at daybreak… May and June were just as disastrous, and the vineyard soil was drenched. Flowering finally began on the 11th of June during cold, wet weather. It was obvious by this stage that the upcoming harvest would be delayed, as well as reduced due to millerandage (abnormal fruit set). The poor weather fortunately came to an end at the beginning of summer and the end of Vinexpo, coinciding with a preview inauguration of a sound and light show at the fortress. This was followed by three consecutive weeks with highs of 30°C, and the month of August was very sunny and dry (just 48 mm of precipitation over a 2-month period). The devastating storms in Bordeaux spared us, so we were able to make up for some of the lost time. Mi-véraison (the middle of colour change) took place on the 15th of August. Alternating cool and warm periods in September, with showers in the middle of the month, brought about the start of noble rot in the coolest plots.

The harvest began with a first pass in the vineyard on the 26th of September when it was 30° in the shade.

 

 

The 2013 Harvest

 

The beautiful warm weather continued, so a 2nd pass could soon begin. This finished on the 3rd of October just before a heavy evening storm disrupted the weather for several days.   Wine made from the first lots of grapes was very pure, fresh, and vivacious thanks to beautiful Sauvignon Blanc. Helped by a northerly wind (accompanied by drier, cooler weather), a small window of opportunity enabled picking to take place on the 9th, 11th and 13th, despite new showers on the 12th.

The Sémillon grapes contributed their full potential of candied fruit aromas, while retaining freshness and good acidity. A warm south wine arrived on the 18th. The harvest began again in earnest on the 21st and finished the next day. Wine made with the final lots of grapes was full-bodied and rich, although still quite fresh.

The Wine

 

These various passes called for draconian choices because the warm, wet weather in October left the door open for the wrong kind of rot to develop. In the end, nearly half the grapes were sacrificed to retain only those with pure noble rot.

This uneven crop, with a yield of less than 8 hectolitres per hectare, nevertheless produced a fine wine very typical of the estate with aromas and flavours of candied fruit, along with considerable vivacity. This vintage is not unlike 1999 or 2007 Château de Fargues.

 

The wine was fermented with indigenous yeast, and a third in new barrels.