This is Mr Zen checking the sugar levels and alcohol levels on his Syrah....helped by his co workers! Unfortunately it has been a tough year for growers in the Minervois. Yields are significantly lower due to many reasons. The over riding problem is the on going drought (3 years now). However the weather has also been a bit patchy....Spring was cold and dull, so bud burst and flowering were not perfect. Summer was also a bit up and down. Mildew seemed to be a major problem in the vineyards....so lots of relatively expensive and time consuming spray treatments were necessary(mostly Sulphur and Bordeaux mixture). The late Summer and early Autumn season was OK with good average temperatures.
However sporadic and isolated hail storms effected some vineyards in the higher parts of the Minervois. We visited and tasted the grapes in many different vineyards throughout the area during harvest time. The grapes physically seemed smaller and the skins were denser due to the drought. The juice will be highly concentrated and in general terms it is no bad thing for the Languedoc area to produce less wine. The harvest is gradually finishing now....whilst Bordeaux is just starting! I will be tasting post fermented juice over the coming weeks and also the first 'Primeur' wines to get a handle of the quality and style of this vintage...we shall see!
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