With the effervescence of the harvest just behind us, I have to learn more about the newborn vintage that is growing in the shelter of the cellars. Follow me, this is the Marquis de Terme, your special envoy to the heart of the vineyards!
I lived through all the phases of this vintage from the inside, as involved at the time of pruning as at the appearance of the first buds, even going so far as to lend a hand once the harvest came, sunglasses on the nose and wig always well in place.
So do you think, with all my paternal devotion and abnegation, I wasn’t going to stop abruptly following the growth of this child who is also a little mine!
To understand the ins and outs of this 2019, who better to talk to than the very kind and educational head of culture David Houdet?
No doubt that, with the grapes now back in the cellar, he has a few minutes to quench my thirst for knowledge. As I decide to set off in search of my shock interviewee, I just see him heading towards the winery.
“My dear David!” I hailed him across the courtyard of the castle. Immersed in his thoughts, surprised to be called out in this way, he stops dead in his tracks before seeing me and says a friendly hello with his hand, accompanied by a broad smile.
I signal him to come closer. With an alert step, he hurriedly walks towards me, and asks me, looking circumspect: “what’s going on Marquis, is there a problem?”
I immediately reassured him of the reason for my interception.
“Don’t worry, my dear, I would just like to ask for some information – which I know in advance is of the highest quality – about the vintage.”
Always caring, he encourages me to go on. So I begin to question him:
« “I must confess to you, my dear David, that the very hot summer temperatures have me auntie worried about the fate of the beautiful berries of this 2019.
Were my fears well-founded? »
«Everything was looking up under the most normal springtime auspices, as you can imagine, Marquis. We had enough water, the temperatures were perfect, there were no particular worries.»
I am holding my breath, for I have a good feeling that it was later that Mother Nature gave some cold and hot sweats, worthy of the most stubborn flu, to the poor crop manager.
He gives me the details of the case.
«We then did the emotional lift of the climatology during this vintage», he concedes.
In front of my questioning air, he explains:
«June was too humid and cool, even cooler than January, you can imagine, Marquis! The vine grew slowly, the appearance of the flower was slow and spread out over time. Then, July was very hot and dry, and on our very filtering soils, some plots of land suffered from mid-July, with a delay in the veraison, this change in the colour of the berries signalling the maturity and the approach of the harvest.»
So it was with an ounce of anxiety that poor David Houdet went on holiday at the beginning of August, barely having begun to change colour, crossing his toes and hands to get things moving. It wasn’t until September that the rains that saved the berries started to grow again.
«We had planned to harvest at the end of September, but before 20 September, the weather forecast predicted heavy rainfall, risking interrupting the harvest. It scared a lot of people, but here, we remained calm and we harvested on the dates set in June.»
Ah, what strength of character, what a resolute man, this David Houdet! The harvest began peacefully on September 24th, to save the berries of the few Merlot vines most affected by water stress from perishing, and continued the following week “with gentleness and kindness, without any haste”, David Houdet tells me.
«We tasted our grapes to see if they were ready, and we waited for the maximum of what the terroir could offer us. We really had an optimal sanitary state, with yields on time, which is all the more pleasing as this is our first year without any anti-botrytis treatment!»
It is therefore quite naturally with a more than optimistic morale that the harvest ended on October 17th.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, how I love this kind of happy ending, like in fairy tales, where everything ends well! Now, the relay goes to the winery for the continuation of this very promising 2019.
What a great teamwork that is the birth of a vintage, I’m all moved!