Saint-Véran 2015 - Wine

The vintage

In contrast to 2014, the start of 2015 was unremarkable in its mildness, and gave no hint of the warm weather that was to provide the dominant theme for the year. Spring was mild and dry, with both temperatures and rainfall levels coming close to the decade's average for the period of March-May. Flowering, which took place at the end of spring in ideal conditions, was remarkable for its evenness. The bunches were well formed, with perfect fruit set. Towards the end of May, it became clear that the hot, dry conditions had set in. June and July were marked by high temperatures and an unusually large deficit of water. While the vines on the schist promontory suffered from rather too much hydric stress, the best terroirs resisted the drought well. Nevertheless, veraison was delayed as a result. As in 2014, balance was recovered during the first fortnight in August due to two separate episodes of rainfall. The unusual climatic conditions kept downy mildew at bay in the vineyards. However, we feared an attack of powdery mildew due to the potential virulence of an infection, the vulnerability of our grape variety and climatic conditions that were potentially propitious for its development (neither rainfall nor dew are necessary for the vine's development during the phase of vegetative growth). Sulphur remains the best weapon in our armoury when dealing with this fungus, although it needed to be used with caution as the high temperatures could have caused the grapes to develop burns. Constant vigilance and precise coordination were necessary to keep the fungal scourge at bay. By the third week in August, the bunches were looking incredibly healthy and had developed a beautiful golden tinge. Somewhat later than usual, we decided on picking dates on 20 August. On 25 August, a southerly wind began blowing, and this pushed ripeness levels forwards. Picking began on 28 August, starting with the schist plateau and the sedimentary volcanic sandstones, then the rear slopes of Mont Pouilly, Le Clos, Tournant de Pouilly, Les Perrières and Les Ménétrières. Temperatures were still higher than usual for the time of year. Once again, the watchwords were precision and consistency: the harvesting of the grapes only took place in the morning. The bunches were brought to the domaine as fast as possible, and were then chilled until they were pressed. Settling was light. And our worst fears were not realised: thanks to the measured pace of fermentation, and the ease with which they proceeded to dryness, freshness and aromatic richness were preserved in all the cuvées. As September remained warm, malolactic fermentation began abruptly - indeed, in some instances it was positively explosive. 2015 was a year in which we were reminded of the importance of being proactive rather than reactive. It is a vintage in which the skills of the grower and the winemaker needed to be exercised to their fullest in order to bring out the best in the grapes. At this stage, the wines are rich, vibrant and juicy. They suggest a great potential for development over the years to come.

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