2021: a winegrowers’ vintage. There were various weather challenges, with downy mildew and periods of frost. 2021 was a difficult year, but thanks to the team’s hard work and perseverance, the results are very satisfying.
The winter of 2020 was very mild, especially February, which was unusually warm. These conditions heated the soil. Bud break took place at the end of March/beginning of April. This was followed by a series of frosts in early April that affected the Sauvignon Blanc by the Pigeonnier plot and the plots bordering the lake.
The frosts weakened the vines, making them more susceptible to disease during the growth cycle, and resulting in heterogeneous shoots.
At the end of May/beginning of June, temperatures rose sharply, giving rise to rapid growth in the early plots. Flowering had to compete with this active growth and there was some coulure in the Merlot.
The stormy, rainy spells in June meant that overall there was 40% more rain than usual between 16 and 26 June.
July and August were relatively cool. This cool weather slowed down the ripening process, resulting in more acidic grapes.
The growth cycle was particularly long and required more treatments than in previous years (14 compared to an average of 12).
Infusions of horsetail, nettles, camomile and comfrey helped the vines to withstand the vagaries of the capricious weather, as well as stimulating their natural defences.
The vintage was more challenging for the Merlot than for the Cabernet Franc, as the former is more susceptible to mildew and ripens earlier. The Cabernets benefited from the warm, sunny weather at the beginning of October.
There was also unevenness in terms of yields and the impact of the weather conditions.
This was a complicated vintage in terms of both the health of the vines and work in the vineyard. All the canopy management tasks were carried out as quickly as possible, thereby preventing the spread of downy mildew.
Harvest dates for dry white and rosé wines
Night of 21 and 22/09/2021: harvest of the Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon from the Pigeonnier plot to preserve aromatic freshness.
Night of 22 to 23 September 2021: harvest of the Sémillon from the Château d’eau plots, again at 3am, with a little Cabernet Franc and some of the Merlot for our rosé.
24/09/2020: manual harvest of the old Sémillon and a few rows of Muscadelle for our Grand Vin which is barrel-aged.
Daytime 14/10/2021: manual harvest of the Sémillon from the La Tour plots and Muscadelle for our Saussignac.
Harvest dates for red wines
Night of 3 to 4/10/2021: Merlot harvest.
04/10/2021: continuation of the Merlot with the La Tour plots.
Night of 4 to 5/10/2021: harvest of the Malbec and Merlot.
Night of 11 to 12/10/2021: harvest of the Cabernet Franc from the La Tour plot.
12/10/2021: manual harvest of the Cabernet Franc from the La Tour and Château d’eau plots.
It should be noted that the red grapes were picked in October, unlike the 2020 vintage (when the harvest was in the first half of September).
Characteristics of the 2021 vintage
2021: freshness amidst a host of sunny vintages!
The wines’ structure is reminiscent of the 1980s with lower alcohol levels resulting from cooler, often overcast weather in the spring and summer, with relatively little heat and light. Fortunately, a fine autumn helped the berries and the skins to ripen; this is a vintage whose characteristics will be largely determined by the winegrower’s choices!
The whites offer good aromatic expression, with citrus and floral notes. The palate is long and refined, with a pleasant, lingering crispness on the finish.
As for the reds, they are more focused on fruit than tannins. On the palate, they are less explosive and less intense than other recent vintages.