2013 at Domaine de Marcoux
Autumn 2012 was devoted to our old vines, which had suffered the most in the severe cold of February. Many vines had frozen; we pulled up the dead ones and tried to rescue the survivors with a shoot growing from the trunk. We cut away the deadwood and trained the cane that was growing back. We did this heavy work chiefly in our Charbonnière plot of old vines, which were worst hit (nearly 10% died). It felt like a piece of our heritage had been taken away, as the oldest vines suffered most.
Winter settled in for the long haul: no severe cold but no warmth either.
It rained a lot: 434 mm between September 2012 and March 2013. Winter rain doesn’t bother us: we lagged behind with pruning (finishing on 26 March) but it wasn’t a big deal, and the water tables were nice and high at the beginning of spring!
Even so, we were 12-14 days behind compared to the previous year, and we would never catch up – in fact, the gap widened. Spring was a shocker: still cold, and in late May many local homes still had their heating on, which is very unusual round here!
It rained constantly, and the Mistral blew intermittently – on 4 June, gusts exceeded 100 km/h.
Huge clusters of inflorescences formed, and the vines were covered in flowers, but very few developed fruit: coulure had struck, and it could make you weep! Only a few berries per vine remained, and some had none left at all!
The coulure only struck our Grenache; the other varieties, such as Mourvèdre and Syrah weren’t affected at all.
The heat only began in early July. August was hot, but not excessively so. In early September there was some rainfall, followed by sunshine and Mistral. We were three weeks behind the previous year’s calendar. We would harvest in autumn rather than summer (as in previous years), like our fathers and grandfathers used to.
We picked our Roussanne grapes on 20 September and the Syrah on the 25th, with a small team. We proceeded slowly, so the grapes could concentrate as far as possible. The harvest ended on 17 October.
The 2013 vintage was among the latest of recent years, with an average year across the appellation of just 26 hl/ha, whereas our AOC allows up to 35 hl/ha. And at Domaine de Marcoux, yields were even lower!
The red wines had a balance reminiscent of the ‘80s, with moderate alcohol levels and appealing acidity, and all the fruitiness of our Grenache grapes.