Vendanges 24 septembre
Au contact de la nature, les années se suivent… et ne se ressemblent pas ! Ce nouveau millésime – plus que prometteur – nous a tenu sur le qui-vive de janvier à octobre. En un mot, c’est tout simple : « Le 2007, c’est tout le contraire du 2006 ! »
Après un repos hivernal perturbé par le soleil et des températures presque estivales, la vigne a démarré son cycle végétatif au début du mois d’avril, soit une avance de trois semaines par rapport aux dates habituelles.
Puis les pluies fréquentes de mai, juin et juillet ont considérablement augmenté les risques de développement du mildiou, champignon microscopique qui se propage sous les feuilles lorsqu’il fait chaud et humide. Mais nous avons pu échapper à ces maux sans trahir la culture biodynamique, avec nos traitements doux et respectueux, souvent à base de plantes.
Et alors que nous nous préparions à une récolte précoce et précipitée, est arrivé l’inespéré : un automne exceptionnel, avec du soleil, un temps sec, et surtout, la bise qui a séché les baies ! A partir de début septembre, nous avons pu modifier complètement le scénario et retarder le début des vendanges de 15 jours : des conditions rêvées pour ne pas se presser, attendre que chaque terroir, chaque cépage, arrive à sa pleine maturité, afin de cueillir des raisins dorés et bien sucrés.
Tout est bien qui finit bien ! Ou plutôt, qui commence bien : avec une récolte aussi saine, les conditions de vinification ont été quasi idéales, les fermentations lentes étant encore favorisées par la relative fraîcheur de la fin de l’année. Au rendez-vous, des expressions de terroir encore discrètes, mais aux caractères bien affirmés et solides.
Bref… Tout nous laisse penser que les 2007 seront des vins charnus, racés, avec un bel équilibre entre fruit et structure…
Vendanges 10 octobre
Quel privilège d’accompagner la nature ! Le millésime 2008 laissera des traces dans les mémoires vigneronnes, non pour ses crises bancaires, mais pour les émois que le climat a suscités.
A défaut d’indices et d’index boursiers, voici donc quelques-unes de nos émotions climatiques, après tout, chacun son métier !
- Début avril, la neige s’attarde, et la vigne prend son temps pour débourrer et montrer ses premières pousses
- Le mois de mai apporte heureusement la chaleur qui manquait jusque-là. Un mois qui sera sec, le plus sec de toute la phase végétative, avec le mois de juin.
- Les grappes fleurissent autour du 20 juin, en retard sur la moyenne des dix dernières années…
- Ensuite, malgré un temps changeant, la période de forte croissance de la vigne se caractérise par des quantités de pluie inférieures à la norme saisonnière, excepté durant juillet. Contrairement à l’impression qu’il peut laisser, l’été se montre plus chaud et sec que la référence. Mais, en raison de l’alternance de pluie et de soleil, le danger de maladie de la vigne demeure bien réel !
- Début septembre, les averses font craindre le pire. Par bonheur, dès le milieu du mois, s’installe un temps sec accompagné d’une forte bise, procurant aux ceps les conditions idéales à la formation des arômes des sucres, des acides et des tanins.
Nous décidons finalement de prendre le risque de commencer les vendanges plus tard qu’à l’ordinaire ; six jours plus tard !
- L’automne se révèle être un véritable été indien, qui tient jusqu’à début novembre… Un vrai cadeau du ciel.
Et voici qu’aujourd’hui, en cave, les vins du millésime 2008 se montrent particulièrement fruités, friands et racés. La finesse et la complexité aromatique sont remarquables et impressionnent immédiatement le dégustateur.
Harvest 22nd September
2009’s record-breaking vintage will remain etched in our memories forever. The amount of sugar in the grapes was well above average thanks to the magnificent weather we enjoyed and which many of you may well also remember.
After a cold and snowy winter, spring came quickly in 2009 thanks to relatively mild, even summery, temperatures. The first buds were visible on the vine around April 13, which is to say about a week earlier than the norm. Flowering came early too, around June 9, thanks to a month of May during which temperatures often soared past 30°C (86° F). The summer was hot and dry, albeit not spectacularly so, and there was less rain than usual except during July. This eased problems with mildew and oidium, and, since vegetative growth stopped naturally earlier on, it also increased sugar levels at the end of the cycle. Harvesting began on September 22, and ended on October 5, without a single day of rain!
And now, we are happy to say that we are looking at a beautiful year – wines with a remarkable constitution that have a welcome freshness to them thanks to the simple, natural winemaking methods we opted for in an attempt not to lose any of the balance, tension, class and generosity inherent to the vintage.
Harvest 5th October
We are delighted to present our 2010 vintage. Like the 2009 vintage, it benefitted from magnificent weather conditions albeit very differently.
- By comparison to 2009, the first shoots in 2010 made their appearance several days later.
- The month of May, while not beating any records for high temperatures, nevertheless saw very harmonious vegetal development in the vineyards.
- In June, the weather took a turn for the worse. It rained nearly every day, and this delayed and disturbed flowering. The fruit set was not completed and the grape bunches had a sparseness about them that indicated that the 2010 harvest would be smaller than the previous year’s.
- Fortunately, a heat wave in July had a very beneficial effect on the vines and any dryness was slowed by rains at the beginning of August.
- It was hot and dry in September, when the vine trunks stopped developing—this stimulated the accumulation of sugar in the grapes.
- We began harvesting on October 5, late by comparison with 2009. However, because of the lower yields, the grapes showed excellent levels of maturity. The skies were sunny and blue during the whole harvest period, offering textbook conditions for the old saying ‘’vigneron bronzé, signe de qualité’’—a tanned winegrower is a sign of a good year.
You’ll find the result of our meteorological and viticultural adventures in your wine glass, with fruity, lively, dynamic whites that will cellar-age well, and structured, full, spicy reds with refined, well-integrated tannins. As always, our main focus throughout the entire wine making process was maintaining the right balance of all those rich components that distinguish the very finest pure, light, wines.
Harvest 19th September
We are delighted to present our 2011 vintage, which is marked by last winter’s abnormally mild weather – weather that carried over into the rest of the season.
- The first shoots appeared nearly two weeks earlier than they would have in a normal year. This was the earliest bud break in the last 25 years.
- This significant advance became even more marked during April and May, when summer-like weather conditions prevailed.
- The hot spring fuelled an extravagant growth of vegetation – the vine runners grew as much as 5 cm (1.96 in.) or more in a day. Sometimes it seemed as if they were growing in front of our eyes!
- Rain in the month of July checked the proliferation of growth somewhat and was overall beneficial as the vines were beginning to get thirsty.
- Due to the exceptional summer, the grapes reached beautiful maturity early on, which meant we could begin harvesting on September 19. Harvesting was completed on October 10.
As for raising the wine – we let nature take its course, so that our terroirs and grape varieties have free reign to fully express their personalities. Already, we’re seeing Chasselas characterized by minerality, yet fruity and fresh; complex, graceful Pinot Gris; subtle, elegant Pinot Noir…
Harvest 4th October
Let’s take a closer look at the 2012 vintage:
- The frigid temperatures during February, while not very kind to winegrowers’ hands (!), did not damage the vines.
- After a normal bud break mid-April, and a fairly warm May, June weather was gloomy.
- Flowering was disturbed by this unstable weather – and the result was lower yields for most varieties.
- After a short dry spell in July, grape maturation was optimal thanks to a return to favorable weather.
- During the summer months, downy and powdery mildews are virulent, but happily our vines are very resistant thanks to being treated for the 12th year in a row with natural products that have proven remarkably effective.
- There was some rain during the harvest, but temperatures remained brisk which calmed out fears – and the grapes were beautifully healthy.
Crucial during the winemaking phase is preserving the essence of what the soil gives us: not being afraid of taking risks, trusting to instinct, while respecting the grape must and guiding its natural processes as delicately as possible.
Harvest 14th October
In our entire experience of winegrowing our vineyards have rarely been subject to as intense environmental pressure as they were in 2013.
But the picture is far from black – thanks to constant care and attention the vines found the resources they needed to counter the vagaries of climate.
- Winter conditions persisted for much of the spring, and the weather remained bad until June. This disturbed the flowering of the vines and the resulting shatter and millerandage meant a smaller harvest. That could also be considered a piece of luck, however, as what grapes there were subsequently had an easier time maturing on the vine.
- Summer weather conditions were not serene, mainly because of two hail showers. Thankfully, only a few parcels suffered damage (of 20% to 30%) – one of the advantages of an estate made up of vineyards dotted here and there…
- August, which looked as if it would be a quiet month with mild temperatures, didn’t turn out that way. This was a shame, since the stock had nearly caught up with the lateness it had suffered due to poor spring weather conditions.
- Fall conditions were erratic, alternating between rain and hot and cold spells.
- We started harvesting on October 14 and – urged on by the fact that the grape skins were undergoing rapid change — grape-picked virtually non-stop until October 28.
What can be said about the 2013 vintage except that the small yields, weaker levels of alcohol and well-supported acidity presage crystalline wines that are very much in line with what we aim to produce.
Our biodynamic cultivation method paid off with mature grape seeds and deliciously fruity must. Right now, the wines are very sensuous, clear and pure. Factors that the 2013 vintage has in common with older vintages such as 1995 or 1998 make it possible to affirm that this vintage will offer stimulatingly fresh and powerfully mineral wines that appeal to true wine lovers and connoisseurs.
Harvest on 29th September
After more than thirty vintages vinified at the Domaine, the situations are always new: to adapt is a pleasure and a need renewed every year.
Let’s look at what were the characteristics of the 2014 vintage:
- A mild spring encouraged bud burst, showing its first leaves 10 days ahead of average.
- Fairly cool, May and June do not favor flowering: we know that the vine does not affect the climatic extremes. The advance is only three days!
- July, very wet, forced us to be very vigilant. But our experience of 15 years in biodynamics allowed us to pass the course without damage.
- Finally, in August, at veraison (when the grains become translucent and start to have sugar) the health of our vines is perfect and the evolution of the maturation very promising.
- Despite the Drosophila “suzukii” which gave us more fear than harm, we were able to start the grape harvest without any problems on September 29th, and finish on October 15th. Either quite average dates, and more advance at all!
This mild weather in spring, difficult in summer, and sunny in autumn is well suited to the vine and allows us to obtain remarkable wines by their crystalline freshness, their aromatic complexity, and their mineral structure. Keeping most of what nature gives us is a philosophy that is important to us and that we like to share.
Harvest on 18th September
How to tell you about the 2015 vintage without having stars in your eyes?
Such a year represents the dream of every winemaker! And this dream began, logically, in the natural dynamics that developed in the vineyards …
Around April 20, the buds burst. A little late. But the delay is quickly caught up, thanks to four consecutive months of heat, above the average of the last ten years. July is even the hottest month since 1864!
At the moment when the growth reaches its paroxysm, the branches grow by 7 cm per day … At this rate (5 mm per hour) an attentive observer could see the vine grow!
Then … everything is calm. The drought is starting to be felt, especially in young vines where the root system is not yet deep enough.
But on arrival, the health of the grapes is perfect! Maturation is ahead, and idyllic harvesting can begin on September 18, ending in early October.
In the vineyard, the conditions were simply ideal. And our approach, which consists of listening to and respecting the natural biodynamics of soils, plants and human labor, has proved particularly fruitful. So stay … the work in the cellar!
With magnificent grapes, which deserve reflection, attention, respect. So we took risks and worked … to do nothing! That is to say: not to intervene, inadvertently, in what nature had delivered us. Concretely, it has asked us to trust the natural yeasts already present in the environment, to let them express the full potential of the soil – by adding a strict minimum of sulfur, only in the spring, and leaving the wine to rest for a long time on its fermentation lees …
And the least we can say is that nature has given us this confidence in a particularly generous way: the wines are marked by solar aromas, with a high purity of expression, carried by suave and dynamic structures.
Harvest on 5th October
2016 will be remembered for its very contrasting conditions.
The first leaves showed the tip of their nose around mid-April with a mild and rainy spring. A return of the cold early May made us fear frost. Fortunately, Lake Geneva played a good role as a regulator and saved our harvest. The rains of May and June forced us to constant surveillance and slight but repeated interventions.
Thanks to our biodynamic care for 17 years, our vines resist better to difficult conditions. Our living soils, with a diversified fauna, have well absorbed abundant and unusual showers.
High temperatures in July favored rapid plant growth and vigorous growth. In August and September, heatwave and drought filled the gap of the first weeks of the season and were conducive to the good maturation of the different grape varieties. The harvest began under the best auspices on October 5th. The positive experiences of previous years have allowed us to trust our grapes. Concretely, we remained minimalist in our interventions in the cellar: a slow pressing, no sulfur, then yeasts taken from several plots of the Estate that gradually turn sugars into alcohol. Wine can express all the magic of the place where he was born. This magic, we feel in the fruity, juicy, generous, natural and fresh expression of our wines.
Harvest on 12th September
The vine woke up particularly early in 2017, so the first leaves were very sensitive to spring frost and many wine regions were affected. Thank you lake, we escaped this disaster.
The rest of the wine year has given new life to the winemakers. Little rain, so little humidity and pressure of fungal diseases, without however that the vine lacks water and is stressed.
The picking was early, from September 12th. The maturity of the berries was therefore made on long days, unlike last year when we started almost a month later! Photosynthesis is more important, therefore, the sugar level is higher. In itself, a reasonable harvest, a beautiful maturity, and freshness.
Harvest on 10th September
The budding date predicted a normal year, with harvest in October, as usual in our region. But the time until the flowering has rarely been so short: only 49 days against 62.5 days on average thanks to hot and sunny weather!
So we started picking on September 10, with grapes of absolutely irreproachable quality and temperatures still frying 30 degrees. It was one of the nicest and longest summers ever recorded.
The fermentations went well. The last sugars turned into alcohol. Crucial stage, revealing the subtleties of the grape. Out of respect for work in the vineyard, we vinify in the same state of mind. In particular, by the use of native yeasts or the absence of sulfur, which makes us live adventures sometimes surprising … The tasting is daily. We monitor the wines with curiosity and interest, which allows us to gently guide each tank through temperature controls or transvases.
We are looking forward to seeing you again at our cellar to taste this 2018 vintage, which offers wines with body and very nice concentrations of aromas.
Flowering was normal, around 20 June 2019, very soon after the women’s strike. Spring was somewhat humid, but beautiful weather in August and September encouraged perfect ripening of the grapes.
In the higher areas of Féchy, 15% of the vines suffered hail damage, but luckily before the veraison so the berries dried and fell. The grapes thus remained very healthy.
We took a long time tasting the grapes in the vineyard in order to choose the best possible picking time for every grape variety on each of our 38 vine parcels. We began harvesting 23 September, making this pretty much a classic growing season.
The grapes went through two selections, once while on the vines, then on the sorting table, to make sure they were perfect. And then it was up to us, in the cellar, to know how to interpret, as best we can, what they have given us. Without sulphur, without added yeast, with no additions at all, we need to taste virtually every day to ensure that the wine undergoes a gentle yet precision-driven development.
A vintage with lovely balance between body and structure.
A vintage very much up to the high standard of the Fête des Vignerons that was celebrated during the summer.