A complicated 2021 harvest
The harvest started at Domaine des Peyre on Tuesday 7th September at 5am, and ended 4 weeks later on Tuesday 28th September.
Roughly the same dates as in 2020, except that we were not at all in the same state of mind as the previous year! If in 2020, we had a “positive attitude” as never before, noting our very good yields and the health of the vineyard, in 2021, we were more worried. Indeed, like most winegrowers in France, we had been hit by frost at the beginning of April! I still remember the early morning of April 8th when, as the damage was discovered in our various plots, my estimates of the loss of harvest were climbing…
No question of giving up, Loïc, our technical manager, and Victor, our vineyard advisor, were determined to be positive! As the weeks went by, the damage became more visible: the late grape varieties or those pruned in March (the first leaves had not yet come out at the beginning of April) had not really suffered from the frost and were showing very beautiful, green and healthy shoots. At the same time, the plots that had been most affected still allowed us to hope for between 40 and 60% of the production. We continued to work our vines, with even more care, mechanically eliminating all the weeds in the rows, pulling up the branches and tying them up so that the foliage protects the bunches from the sun, rain…
If the weather had not done us any favours at the beginning of April, it nevertheless helped us to save the harvest afterwards: rain when it was necessary to feed the vines, to make the berries grow… and just after the rain, the mistral wind to dry out and prevent diseases from developing! Temperatures judged a little low by the tourists around the pool but so nice for our grapes: cooler nights, no heat wave… just great! On September 7th, our grapes were perfectly healthy, full of juice and the ripeness announced the harvest for the whites first, followed by the rosés and finally the reds. Two rainy episodes were even beneficial for the reds, which took advantage of them to give us a little more juice.
So of course, the volumes of this 2021 vintage are not up to what we had hoped for; if we are going to succeed in making very honourable volumes compared to 2020, it is mainly because we had planted new vines 4 years ago and that they gave us some grapes this year, compensating a little for the losses of the frost, but when we know that many domains met heavy difficulties of disease, hail in addition to the episodes of frost, we consider ourselves happy.
Now, the next step is in the cellar… almost all the alcoholic fermentations are finished, some malolactic fermentations have started (on the reds) and the tastings at this stage suggest a very nice vintage with very clear and fruity rosés, very aromatic whites and for the reds… patience… we’ll tell you more soon!