In 2013 the precocity of the Sauvignon was a more determining asset than usual, because the grapes were able to achieve full maturity before the botrytis started to develop seriously. The low vigour of the vines, linked to their age (35 years) and the terroir as well as to the low yield, equally contributed to preventing the rot from spreading quickly, although Sauvignon is usually prone to it. Previously the cool and very dry August, greatly contributed to the success of this vintage by enabling the grapes to ripen stress-free, and under conditions that preserved both their acidity and their aromatic expression.
2013 has benefitted from the great changes that have been introduced to the vinification process over the last five years, the aim of which is to produce a white wine that is more complex and richer, but also fresher and lower in alcohol. Success in this great challenge will be attained by a lot of effort and a drastic selection… The Pavillon Blanc consists of less than 40% of the harvest.
Pavillon Blanc 2013 is probably as great a success as 2012 or 2011, with a slightly lower quantity.
The particularly cool temperatures at the end of winter and into spring delayed the shooting and then the flowering by a good ten days compared to the average. And as it also rained a lot during this period, the flowering was slow and the formation of the grapes difficult which caused a generalised “millerandage” and a bad problem of “coulure” - falling of underdeveloped fruit - in the Merlots. This latter phenomenon turned out to be more moderate for the Cabernets. Straightaway, we knew that the 2013 vintage wouldn’t be plentiful…
Fortunately, the summer drought enabled the grapes to catch up some of their lateness: at the moment of changing colour, we didn’t find the same heterogeneity as at the moment of flowering. It is also possible that their low quantity accentuated the catching up. At the beginning of September hope was growing for a harvest, certainly small, but that seemed to be ripening under excellent conditions.
September was paradoxical, relatively dry, but damp at the same time. Frequent small bursts of rain, in fact, maintained a raised ambient humidity without causing too much precipitation. So there was everything to play for until the end of the month when a sudden development of Botrytis led us to a quick start of the harvest ; in the end, the grapes would lose just a few days’ ripening, enough to dash the hopes of a great vintage, not enough to take away all its promises.
The harvest of the whites took place from the 19th to the 27th of September, and that of the reds, from the 30th of September to the 11th of October.