Harvest 2022

We’re Off!  Don’t Panic!

Our 2020 vintage is suddenly underway.

Today we’ve started picking our first grapes; the Sauvignon Blancs of La Clarière which make up 2/3 of our white wine. To get those pungent aromatics we love so, it is vital to pick at exactly the right moment just before full maturity. A few hours too much sun and those piercing floral/leaf aromas will have disappeared.

Jean-Marc is pacing up and down, sampling the SB vineyard … which is, conveniently just outside his office. The other white third, the Sauvignon Gris (pink grapes) we will leave a while longer, to pick up more ‘weight’. Then we’ll have the desired treble line and bass line in our white.

Slow ‘veraison’, very ancient vines

The 2021 white just got bottled … it’s a great white vintage … can we do it again in ‘22? We will have to be on top of our game … because it’s an odd vintage … 2022 has been an odd summer. I guess I didn’t need to tell you that.

The vines got off to a flying start in the warm spring, but then came the first heatwave and the vines slowed right up … ripening almost stopped. It was hotter than here. And didn’t stop. Every morning I’d walk the dog at dawn, in the cool. The red grapes were not getting red. ‘Veraison’ as we call the colour change was hardly happening. So would they ever ripen? We needed rain. It finally came three days ago and again night before last. Suddenly the vines went into fast-forward. Vincent had to cut short his August holidays (sacred in France). And we’re harvesting today. 

PS. Mark says it’s a similar story down in the Midi. Except, alas, in the poor old Roussillon. No rain at all. There, the crop – which is always tiny – is virtually invisible. “The grapes could almost float away”. That’s very tough on Jean-Charles and family. We’ll rally round somehow.

About Tony Laithwaite

Tony Laithwaite, founder of Laithwaite's, whose passion for wine is still going strong!

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