While the 2012 harvest was generally low in terms of quantity, there was no shortage of quality and the wines should be a pleasure to drink!
Sylvain Jean, oenologist at Louis Bernard, November 2012: “The weather was almost spring-like as we finished the 2012 harvests on Thursday, 18 October. Most areas were finished around the 10th, but the Mourvèdres had to be harvested later. This grape variety is often at its best when it is almost over-ripe.”
In the Northern Rhône Valley, the white wines are in the process of being matured in barrels. The Viogniers are very expressive: some batches have distinct notes of apricot, while others offer white flowers, or honeyed notes. It is difficult to talk about the red wines at the end of October, because most of them are still macerating (Saint Joseph, Côte Rôtie, Hermitage, etc.) But the overall impression is very good. The Syrahs are presenting notes of pepper, violet and liquorice, with supple tannins. The Saint Joseph wines have an aroma of blackcurrants and pepper.
In the Southern Rhône Valley, on September 20th, the majority of the Syrah in our Côtes du Rhône had been picked because the skins were becoming very thin, and we had reached real ripeness. Strong winds had been forecasted, so we preferred to harvest the Syrah in order to avoid losing significant quantities. We have magnificent, strong colours, with aromas of blackcurrant and tapenade becoming increasingly powerful and filling the cellars. We began harvesting the Cinsault and the Grenache in mid-September.
Generally, the harvest has been smaller than last year, but from a qualitative point of view, we have excellent concentration and silky tannins!
By the end of the year, we will determine the final blends for the Côtes-du-Rhône whites and rosés, with a view to bottling them quickly, so as to respect the wines’ “primary” flavours and protect the colour of the rosés.
“At the end of November, the whites are even more flavourful than in 2011!” explains Sylvain. “The reds from the Southern Rhône Valley are voluptuous, crunchy and fresh, with silky tannins. This vintage’s wines will be ready to drink as soon as they are bottled. And thanks to their excellent concentration, they will keep for several years.”
At Château Noël Saint Laurent, Château de Domazan , Domaine de la Crau des Papes:
For these properties, we made some changes in the picking times in order to produce very well-rounded, silky wines. For some wines, we made “cocottes” (immersion of the solids in the vats at the end of fermentation so that they come in contact with the liquid), while for others we carried out traditional macerations (the solids are not submerged). At the end of October, the Châteauneuf du Pape whites at Domaine Souco Papale had finished their fermentation in vats and barrels. They are proving to be elegant and slightly spicy. We delayed picking the grapes until they were riper at the Château de Domazan and noted greater concentration in the Grenache, which is very well-rounded and rich.