2016 at Domaine de Marcoux
Autumn 2015 and winter 2016 were very mild, even hot. It was truly exceptional: we saw almond trees blossoming in late December. The number of freezing days could be counted on the fingers of one hand…
In late February, we noticed already-plump buds: this frightened us, and we stopped pruning for about 10 days to delay the onset of the new vegetative growth. Thankfully, March was cold, and so was early April.
The vegetative growth calmed down, and by the end of April we were only a week ahead of 2015 – so we could finish pruning with peace of mind!
Our big winter job, besides pruning, was to plant 2,000 Grenache vines on our Pradel plot. It was so stony that we had to add two shovels’ worth of soil in each hole to help their roots grow!
Spring was dry: it rained on 11 and 27 May (approx. 30 mm), then nothing except a few drops here and there – it wasn’t even damp under the pebbles.
In July, we couldn’t escape the Mistral. The Tour de France cycling race couldn’t finish its 14 July stage because of winds gusting up to 140 km/h.
Summer was averagely hot, with no heatwave and cool nights: perfect for grape quality. Health-wise, they were just about perfect.
The vines didn’t really suffer from drought, but we had to water several times the vines planted last winter, as their roots weren’t deep enough to withstand the lack of water… In late August we had some very hot days, but the nights stayed cool – which the vines love!
The first ripeness sampling took place on 18 August. The œnologists reported a lag of 5-10 days versus 2014. Then, in the space of a week, the grapes began maturing fast, and we stepped up our harvest preparations.
We picked the Roussanne on 1 September: then, on the 5th, moved on to the Syrah, the variety that had suffered most from the drought.
The Grenache’s alcohol levels were rising… and Sophie and Vincent were concerned about the winemaking phase. Fortunately, on the night of 14-15 September, almost 50 mm of rain fell. It did the vines a great deal of good, and the grapes enjoyed it too, The Mistral got up and, with the sunshine, quickly corrected the grapes’ slight dilution caused by the rain.
The entire harvest went ahead in lovely sunshine. Vincent ran the vineyard team and the harvest operation; Sophie was in the cellar; and Catherine, who was gradually handing over the reins, was in the office or at the sorting table.
In the end, the outstanding weather allowed an equally outstanding vintage: the wines had powerful, crisp aromatics and complexity. The colours were dense and dark; and on the palate, vinous flavours were enhanced by a delightful freshness, with smooth silky tannins. Just fabulous!