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Domaine d'Aussières, 2016 Harvest Report

A HOT AND DRY VINTAGE THAT BENEFITED THE FRESH TERROIR OF FONTFROIDE

Like every year, the Languedoc was subject to major climatic disparities. The nearby Mediterranean border, of which Aussières is part, was strongly affected by the lack of rain during the winter but also during the growing period.

Despite everything, this very individual vintage allowed for good vegetative expression, from bud burst through to ripening, and including flowering. Proof that the combination of our cool terroirs and our vineyard that is now reaching the “age of reason” were able to adapt to the atypical weather conditions for this vintage.

Against all expectations and to our great surprise, the weather constraints allowed us to reach very good levels of ripeness over all our grape varieties, with good aromatic expression and good balance in all our vineyard parcels, from the latest to the earliest ripening.

THE VINEYARD AND THE CELLAR

The absence of rain in the autumn, when reserves are built up, and the 2015-2016 winter period, did not allow for a large build-up of reserves in our sub-soils and water tables. 2016 is therefore characterised by a water deficit.

The particularly mild temperatures in December and February led to the property’s different grape varieties emerging early from dormancy.

By March, the normal time for bud burst, a significant lead of 2 to 3 weeks could be seen in the vineyard.

Given the rather cool weather in March, with some frosts in the region, vegetation developed gradually and in the end less quickly than expected.

The lead seen earlier had almost totally disappeared by the end of spring.

Rainfall in spring 2016 remained low but some regular showers supported this “key” period in the plant’s development.

The very hot weather in July and August ended up completely making up for the disparity in growth observed at the end of spring.

The very low rainfall in summer slightly slowed down the cycle. By the time of véraison, there was finally a slight delay of nearly a week compared with normal.

The intense heat associated with the periods of strong wind unfortunately resulted in numerous fires in the region.

In September, the harvest period, the region bathed in hot temperatures which allowed all our grape varieties to achieve good ripeness.
The latest varieties, however, saw the return of cool conditions in October and benefited from the alternation between hot days and cool nights.
Picking began on 7 September for the Chardonnay (compared with 3 September in 2015) and finished on 12 October with the Mourvèdre (compared with 2 October in 2015).

In the cellar, tasting of the different grape varieties during fermentation confirmed the very good level of the vintage in every respect, allowing us to predict very good potential for the wines.
The only downside is the reduced level of production, linked to the strong water constraints seen in the summer.

THE WINES

Corbières, the southern varieties show very good potential
In our most superficial soils, having been subject to the most severe water constraints, the southern varieties, well-adapted to this type of climate, responded positively to these challenging weather conditions.
Sensitive to this phenomenon, the Grenache Noir saw its production slightly impacted by poor fruit set, but we can confirm its potential for playing a role in our first wines.

IGP Oc, wines rich in quantity and in quality
Our deepest terroirs, with more important water reserves, planted with Bordeaux and Burgundy grape varieties, have been able to express themselves fully this vintage.
In this sun-soaked vintage, the balance and the freshness obtained with these wines reflects particularly well the profiles of wines coming from the cool terroirs from which Aussières benefits.

The harvest report was prepared by Aymeric Izard, Director of the Aussières site, and Olivier Trégoat, Technical Director of the DBR (Lafite) Properties outside Bordeaux.