now that the wines have achieved fermenting the last residual sugars, and we have decently celebrated the end of harvest at the Domaine de l’Arjolle, we may try a first review of the 2012 harvest.
We picked the first Sauvignon grapes at the Arjolle early in the morning on 22nd of August, followed by the other grapes for our white wines, Chardonnay, Viognier and Muscat Petits Grains a few days later. Favourable weather conditions during this first part of harvest, allowed us to pick grapes at optimum ripeness. As a result, we have very nice and aromatic white wines with crispy acidity in our cellars.
Syrah and Cabernet Franc for our rosé Méridienne were picked in the beginning of September: fermentation was totally done in casks, to favour integration of oaky characters. The period of “bâtonnage” (stirring the lees back up into the wine) to enhance aromatics is over now and you may already fully appreciate the complexity of the fruit and the velvety taste of the wine… Summer will be hot!
September 24th: Beginning of harvest for the red wines with Merlot and Syrah. The good weather does not last and intermittent rains towards the end of September increase pressure at the winery. We decide to wait for full ripeness of Cabernet sauvignon, which imposes a strict selection of the grapes before vatting them. And already now – which fruit and how smooth those tannins are!
This period, when we choose to cut the umbilical cord of the grapes is very delicate and every vintage is different, although there may be similarities. All along this period of hard work, care and attention for every detail are the key to success of a vintage.
For the reds some more patience will be needed: Malolactic fermentation needs to be finished, to reveal the entire mellowness of the wines. In a couple of months 2012 will be in the heart of your feasts.