Alsace, Harvest report 2018

The beginning of the 2017-2018 winter was relatively mild with temperatures around 0/-1°C at the beginning of January.

The cold only arrived in February with temperatures dropping sharply, reaching -13°C at the end of February. The big surprise of the winter was snowfalls in January and February, the first in these vineyards for a long time.

Spring too was full of surprises, with early bud-break (mid-April), the vines started to grow, helped by warm damp weather (an average of 1.5mm of rain per day and 23°C over 10 days), in what turned out to be something of a race against time. The growing stages came one after another in quick succession, 2-3 days only between bud-break and the first leaves (compared to 4-5 days normally). The blossom came under optimal conditions at the beginning of June, 10-15 days earlier than normal.

As in 2017, summer brought with it a real heatwave. Temperatures even got to 40°C on 22 August. Fortunately, over this heatwave period the vines also benefited from rain (10mm) meaning they didn’t suffer too much from lack of water and stresses remained moderate over the period. Indeed, the vines benefited from rain at key moments in their development, bringing regular growth without sudden sprouting: 16mm at the time of bud-break; 54mm in June for the blossom.

In spite of this rainfall, alternating rain and dry weather (combined with highly targeted organic treatment) mostly avoided disease and gave us optimal plant health conditions right through to the wine harvest.

Summer rain allowed the grape to develop normally, giving us some clues about a promising harvest in terms of Quality and quantity.

Although a harvest date had been planned at the beginning of October, as in a normal year, moderate stresses and perfect maturing conditions over the summer meant that we had to change our plans. Fels was harvested on September 20, 2018 in brilliant sunshine and temperatures worthy of August. We then naturally continued on with the Buehl on September 24 and 25, with the weather still beautiful and the harvest staying perfectly healthy right through to the end. Berg came in on September 26 and 27, with conditions still optimal.

The Via Saint Jacques was then harvested from October 1-5. Again the clement weather allowed us to complete the harvest under the best possible conditions: no rain, and a little wind to dry off morning humidity, with impeccable plant health right through to the last snip of the secateurs on Friday, October 5. The first tastings gave us an early indication of the beautiful wines the year was to deliver. The musts are fine and precise and the minerality comes through well. Lieu-Dit Fels has nice smoky tones supporting the minerality of the area. Lieu-Dit Buehl brings brilliant fruitiness and its customary strength, whilst Lieu-Dit Berg stands out with its citrus aromas of Mirabel plums and lemon. The wines from this vintage will obviously be fairly typical of the Grands Rieslings, differentiated by the precision of their aromas.

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