2012 at Domaine de Marcoux
Autumn 2011 was very mild, so we were able to clean the vines up before winter. We “clawed” the soil to let the cold in and do its cleaning work, and broke it up.
January was also very mild, and we made good progress with pruning.
Then suddenly, in early February, an icy front swept in from Siberia.
Temperatures dropped to -7°C and even -10°C, but the big feature was a very strong Mistral, gusting up to 110 km/h. Given that wind blowing at 10 km/ h means a perceived temperature of –1°C, it felt like -17°C to -20C.
We were frozen stiff – and we could never wear enough clothes!
We stopped pruning because the cold was damaging the wood of the spur, but above all, it was unbearable for our pruners, Vincent, Patrick, Romuald, and Mouad, who had recently joined the team. The pipework in the houses, and poorly protected water meters, sustained damage. We stayed busy in the cellar and workshop, but most importantly, we stayed inside.
On 13 February the wind died down and pruning could resume.
Winter was very dry: between 11 November 2011 and 4 April 2012, not a single drop of rain fell. The soils’ water reserves were lower than low.
After 30 mm of rainfall in early April, the cold returned; it was milder than February of course, but still cold for the season.
The vegetation lagged behind previous years.
Summer was generally dry, with a few showers providing the vines with the bare minimum to avoid any hydric stress.
Given the dry, windy weather, disease was not a problem: no downy or powdery mildew. The crop wasn’t very large, with well ventilated and very healthy bunches.
We began harvesting on 6 September, the usual date for our Roussanne grapes.
Then came the Syrah and, from 17 September, the Grenache.
On 24 September, a huge storm broke. In the space of a few hours, about 100 mm of rain fell. We were very anxious, of course, but fortunately the grapes were unaffected and, as our pebble-rich soils can support quite a weight, we were able to keep harvesting smoothly. We finished picking on 10 October with the Lirac.
The crop was small but the resulting wines were very good: attractive colours; balanced; rounded yet fruity; and good cellaring potential.