MALBEC: A DEFIANT SEASON
Flowering took place just as Mendoza was experiencing the lowest temperatures in half a century for the time of year. As a result, yields were reduced by about 30% and ripening was delayed by almost a month. With the low temperatures came increased rainfall. As Mendoza is a semidesert, this is not always a bad thing!
At the time of harvest, we achieved an unusual balance of low alcohol, high acidity and vibrant flavours. A unique and elegant combination that will definitively set the 2016 vintage apart. The Malbec harvest began on 2 April with grapes from the First Zone, and ended on 22 April in the Uco Valley.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON: A CHALLENGE FROM NATURE
In general, the conditions were similar to Malbec regarding the low yields and delayed ripening. The key this year was in the soils. Deep soils, which are usually good at retaining water in dry seasons, showed excessive vegetation and offer wines of medium complexity. On the other hand, shallow and stony soils shone. Grapes in these soils mature slowly but steadily, achieving a delicate balance. The Cabernet Sauvignon harvest began on 10 April and ended on 21 April.
OUR TWO REGIONS
Uco Valley, Mendoza
The season began with budburst around the normal date: 10 October. As we registered the coolest October and November since the 1960s, budburst lasted until December, when flowering took place (usually it is around 15 November). This cold weather during flowering led to poor fruit set. Fortunately, we saw no late frosts. Veraison was also delayed by almost a month!
From October to January, rainfall was significantly higher and the sum of degree-days was considerably lower than historical averages for this period (the total accumulated rainfall was 679 mm compared to an average of 269 mm). However, in this roller coaster vintage, February registered a record high in temperatures and March was one of the driest we have ever seen. Clearly, “El Niño” was responsible for these unusual patterns but gave us the chance to succeed in the end.
First Zone, Mendoza
The season showed similar patterns to Uco Valley regarding temperatures and delays in the phenological stages of flowering, fruit set and veraison. The accumulated rainfall cycle for this period was 467 mm, while the historical average for the same period is 251 mm.
Nevertheless, soils are heavier and deeper in Agrelo and Las Compuertas than in Altamira (Uco Valley). As a result, the harvest date in the First Zone was almost the same as in the Uco Valley.
Harvest report was prepared by Fernando Buscema, Technical Director of Bodegas CARO, and Olivier Trégoat, Technical Director of DBR (Lafite) Estates outside Bordeaux.