The Squeeze: a two-word descriptor of the 2021 vintage. A dry winter, with below-average rainfall in spring, was a foreboding sign of the struggle for water we would experience for the rest of the season. It was dry, and the vines had to work hard for every drop of water. Further to that, the key period of flowering and fruit set was cool and damp, resulting in yield losses of up to 60% in certain varieties.
With the difficult news out of the way, the rest of the season was one out of the textbooks. The weather settled in mid-December bringing calm, warmth and prolonged dry periods. The low amount of fruit combined with the near-perfect weather was a recipe for another record early harvest: 8 March! This is an ongoing trend that we have been observing over the last decade – for us winegrowers, climate change is real.
The most challenging aspect leading up to harvest was to pick at the right condition of ripeness of tannins, versus sugars, versus acidity. I believe we are looking at a stellar vintage, but the squeeze is on: wine allocations will be tight. No doubt that we will see good concentration and varietal characters throughout all varieties. Just as the proof of the pudding is in the eating, time will tell just how good this season was.