The start of 2013 was more than a little disrupted. After a long, damp winter here in the Rhône Valley, we had to endure an exceptionally cold and rainy spring. March and April were among the chilliest and wettest months since weather records began in the 1880s.
These conditions held back the vines’ development by three weeks.
To crown our misfortune, this period coincided with the flowering of the Grenache vines, causing extensive coulure. The earlier-ripening (Syrah) or later-ripening (Mourvèdre) varieties were unaffected, but the preponderance of Grenache in the region means the 2013 harvest will also set a record as one of the smallest ever.
Given the very low yields for Grenache and the slow but wonderfully-balanced ripening conditions, we are heading for a fine vintage in the Rhône Valley – one that will be long remembered, not only for its promise of quality but also its anachronistic character, worthy of the autumn harvests our grandfathers knew.