2011 at Domaine de Marcoux

Winter 2011 was “normal”, with no excesses.
Before we began pruning we took care of our old vines: straightening them, cutting off dead branches, replanting a post at the foot of each vine to consolidate them for when the plough – and especially the under-vine weeder – go past in spring.
We started pruning in early January and finished in late March.
Spring was very hot. The heat started on 9 April, surprising us greatly. 
April and May were very hot, and it didn’t rain.
The vines were a fortnight further ahead than in 2010, and that really disrupted our work schedule – we had our hands full, and then some!
Finally, in early June, we had a decent downpour (55 mm). Then nothing: the rest of June and early July were very dry and windy. The vines began to suffer from the drought, especially those we had planted that winter; we began to water them.
Fortunately, it rained twice in a week, and the vines lapped it up.
We started to see the first berries undergoing véraison on 4 July, which is very early: normally the berries change colour in late July or early August. A technician from the Chamber of Agriculture told us he had even seen such berries on 28 June – which was a first for him!

There was some rainfall in early August, and a very hot second half of the month, up to 38°C. As a result, we brought forward our holidays slightly, so we could start back on 22 August and prepare properly for the harvest.
We began picking the Roussanne on 30 August with a small team. Two days later, we harvested the Syrah, then paused until 12 September.
The crop was handsome and large. Between 1-12 September, with our permanent staff, we moved through plenty of plots to remove the bunches we felt weren’t ripe enough. We also thinned the leaf cover to let the sunshine in.
This was the first harvest at Domaine de Marcoux for Vincent, Sophie’s son.
We resumed picking in super sunshine and serious heat, finishing on 27 September in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and on 3 October in Lirac. The harvest stretched from 30 August to 3 October – even though we stopped for several days – and felt interminable!

The grapes were of very high quality, but required great care; we had to sort them very stringently. The quality of the vintage was due to the quality of our sorting…

We have been farming our vines organically since 1991