2013 is an eighties vintage!

The vineyards of Chateauneuf-du-Pape gave us a 2013 vintage marked by late maturity, which, in many respects is not unlike that of the vintages of the 80’s. Though saved from the worst effects of the climactic conditions that affected many regions (notably hail stones), it is characterized by low yields and an atypical balance in which the fruit outweighs the potency.

The spring of 2013 was undeniably the coldest of the last few years (-1 on average compared to 2012, and -4.4° for the lowest temperatures in the months of April, May, and June). It was also one of the most humid ( 217 mm rainfall in April against 165 mm in the previous year, 17 mm in 2011 and 107 mm in 2010).

This combination of cold and wet weather resulted in a delay in the vegetative cycle of the vines, and provoked a heavy loss of harvest due to ‘flower abortion’ principally with the Grenache vines, a variety which is sensitive to this phenomena, and which is also in a majority of the vine varieties of the AOC Chateauneuf-du-Pape (75% of the surface of vines).

With the event of a welcome storm at the end of July, the hottest month of the last few years, the weather conditions of the summer 2013 were good, but not sufficient to rectify the delays of the spring. The 2013 vintage was therefore the latest vintage of the last few years. It was also the lowest in quantity, with an average yield in the ‘appellation’ which was just barely 26hl per hectare. The specifications allow up to 35hl per hectare.

The harvest started during the second half of September and continued in good conditions. The alcoholic and malolactic fermentations happened quickly, opening the way for red wines which are well balanced like those of the mid-eighties. They have good acidity, moderately alcoholic in degree and Grenache in their fruitiness. The Syrah and Mourvèdre gave strong wines, with good colour and concentration. These previously mentioned varieties were not affected by the ‘flower abortion’ and are proportionately more present in the 2013 vintage than they normally are in the other vintages.

Regarding the white wines, they exhibit a lovely aromatic and gustatory freshness (citrus, white flowers, exotic fruits). Due to their physico-chemical balance they have a very good laying down potential. Like with the red wines, the white Grenache will be proportionately less present in the blending; ‘Clairette’ and ‘Roussanne’ will be more evident, and will express their aromatic potential.

A summary of the 2013 vintage in a few numbers:

334 harvests declared
82,000 hl of wine of which 5.300 hl is white
230 private wine cellars which produce 94% of the overall production
1 co-operative cellar

Les premières cuvées sont déjà marquées du sceau des grands millésimes, couleurs intenses, arômes de fruits fins et généreux, structure prometteuse d’un bon vieillissement.

Ce millésime sera sans doute un millésime de longue garde à l’image des 1945 et 1961.