Pouilly Fumé

Pouilly fumé 2016

Pouilly fumé 2016

Pouilly Fumé 2016 : une belle récompense

Weather conditions were very difficult; we had to contend with rain, humidity, frost and even sunscald, but have carried on regardless. Luckily nature rallied at the eleventh hour, and the vintage will be an excellent one after all.  

2016 in the Vineyard:

The beginning of 2016 was excessively mild, but also excessively rainy. In fact the weather bared its teeth on only two occasions - once to celebrate St Vincent's Day in January, and again in the first weeks of March. It ended on the same note as winter 2015 - without even a hint of frost. There was excessive rainfall throughout the winter. 

The growing cycle started late - in April, a month marked by alternating periods of very mild and very cold weather. From April 18th, vines were exposed to sub-zero temperatures at night, with the worst of the damage occurring during the night from April 26th to 27th. Weather conditions were unpredictable – on some evenings, rain left the buds wet, leaving them even more susceptible to the night-time cold.
 
May started – and finished – on a cold note, and will no doubt stay in our memories as a month of exceptionally heavy rainfall (15% above the norm); this made access to some plots particularly difficult. The first few days of June were cold and damp; there followed a period of calm from June 5th - 9th, only to be disrupted again later on. As we know all too well, cold, wet weather encourages disease, especially downy mildew, and diseased grapes, naturally affect production potential. Weather can cause stress not only for the vine, but also for the winegrowers!

Flowering started during the second half of June, but the weather continued to be difficult, and coulure and millerandage were rife. Nature rallied for the first time on June 23rd: the sun came out, temperatures rose – and given these newly favourable conditions, vines continued to flower rapidly.
Summer made its first tentative appearance - and the rain stopped. Cumulative rainfall for July and August was less than 90% of the thirty year average. On July 15th, temperatures began to rise, culminating in a late heatwave at the end of August. The warm spell also left its mark, and by the end of August the vines were showing early signs of hydric stress - and more notably, the effects of sunscald. Veraison started in the second half of August, somewhat hampered by the very dry conditions. Things moved along slowly – but prevailing conditions ensured that at least the fruit was in excellent health.

Ripening:
The start of September brought summery conditions, with sunshine and temperatures of over 30°C. Significant differences of temperature between day and night promote ripeness in the grapes, both phenolic and aromatic, by balancing out any touches of overly-vegetal flavour. Meanwhile, lack of water was really beginning to make its mark.
Hardly daring to complain, we begged for just a drop of rain - and rain it did, on the 14th and 16th of September; a little miracle in an otherwise tough year. At last the berries started to swell, sugars continued to develop and declining acidity was checked.
Cool nights alternated with sunny days, giving perfect ripening conditions – and  we felt safe enough to wait until both whites and reds reached the peak of ripeness.

First Impressions:
Just like 2015, 2016’s wines are expected to show good purity of flavour; and as with all late vintages, they have plenty of freshness and a crisp texture.
Pouilly Fumé 2016 expresses great notes of white flowers and white-fleshed fruit, with a base of underlying minerality. Ce millésime 2016 n'a pas été des plus simples ! Les conditions climatiques ont été difficiles : pluies, humidité, gel, échaudage,... Nos nerfs ont été mis à rude épreuve avant d'arriver, grâce à une belle arrière-saison, à élaborer un très beau millésime.