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Vintage 2021

T a r d i f , s e c e t f r a i s

"Odd-numbered but fine"

2021 is no exception to Bandol’s long-established rule: odd-numbered years are solar years ! Let’s take a look back at the vintage !

Autumn a little bit too beautiful ...

2021 began with a very mild and dry autumn in 2020, perfect for getting up to speed with work in the vineyards (composting, planting cover crops in the rows of vines, removing old vines, planting trees, etc.) but far too dry to allow the soil to refill its water reserves.

A reverse winter ...

The few rains in December and January failed to catch up the water deficit, and spring came too early, with February relatively sweet and still very dry, and the last week of March exceptionally sweet or even warm throughout France. The earliest-ripening Grenache and Cinsault vines began to open their bud, but the cold wave returned in April, causing catastrophic frosts all over France. Fortunately, our Bandol terroir was relatively spared. Only 5% of our earliest vines froze.

Perfect spring ….

The vines who didn’t get out their bud took advantage of the return of the cold to delay their awakening. Then the arrival of spring, accompanied by some fine rains in April and May, follow the start of the vegetative cycle in our vines. Despite a very good bunch emergence, promising a good harvest potential, the vines grew slowly, without excessive foliage, as if they knew that the rain of May 10th was the last of the vintage !

Summer too early but cool

It was on May 10, when the rest of France was preparing for a summer of copious rainfall, that the cloud in the sky dried up, while the water on the ground were about to. Luckily, we got through the summer without a heatwave, which maintain the vines on a good shapes, in remarquable sanitary condition, given the weather conditions which were not very favorable to disease.

A long and happy harvest !

The bunches were many, but the berries were too small. With the harvest approaching, there’s still not a drop of rain to make them grow bigger. We began harvesting on August 30 with some lovely Grenache grapes in very low yields, and, as we had anticipated, harvesting continued on a stop-and-go basis until September 21, as the grapes were very heterogeneously ripened, which required a great deal of patience on the part of our fabulous team of pickers, who came from the four corners of the world.
The return of rain on September 16 did not change the balance or yields, but at least it gave the vines a chance to breathe a little and build up reserves for the 2022 vintage…

Unsurprisingly, yields for this vintage are at their lowest, comparable to 2019 and 2017, but the juices are of excellent quality. After pretty long vinification, the wines are well-balanced: the rosés and reds have lovely aromatic power, without excess substance or alcohol.