Vintage report 2021
Vintage ended in the vineyard a few weeks ago. We now have all our wines happily going through malolactic fermentation etc.
After a precocious 2020, most parts of Calatayud moved back to a more traditional cycle with vine phenology returning to a recognisable rhythm in 2021.
This has been quite a year in the vineyard: January arrived bringing with it Filomena, a storm that brought us extremely low temperatures and quantities of snow not seen in this part of the world for around 50 years. Whilst it brought some stunning opportunities for photographers, they were worrying times with temperatures getting dangerously low and possibly threatening to close down vines permanently. Despite winter dormancy many exposed vineyards suffered vascular damage. As a result bud burst was very irregular and staggered with some 4 to 6 weeks for full bud-burst in many vineyards. In some cases whole vine arms were lost and pruning decisions for 2022 will have to redirect vigour and growth. However, whilst we did see some limited damage, on the whole we were incredibly lucky to avoid any serious damage and the vines rallied really well. That’s one of the beautiful things about Garnacha, they’re wonderfully adaptable vines. But Filomena wasn’t all that this year had to throw at them, 2021 had more in store: May brought apocalyptic hail storms which, within the space of minutes, stripped vines bare. Some of our friends and neighbours saw months of hard labour erased in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. We were, amazingly, not affected at all.
Disease pressure was thankfully lower than 2020 during flowering and set , however a cold snap at the end of fruit set led to some coulure and millerandage in higher and later ripening parcels.
Summer was generally dry and mild in the most part with a nice slow gradual ripening. Immediately in the run up to harvest we encountered some early September storms which started to worry growers carrying too much crop. Thankfully Botrytis did not rear its head in our vineyards due to good grape positioning, sensible yields and using new organic techniques such as spraying Bacillus amyloliquefaciens to outcompete any rot.
So, how are the wines in 2021?
The wines typically have more malic acid this year due to the cooler ripening period and the wines are crunchy and appealing. We started picking Garnacha before Macabeo (Macabeo ripened later than usual this year), starting harvest on the 13th of September and finished on 13th of October in our own vineyards.
The 2021 wines remind me of some of the fresher harvests here such as 2004, 2008, 2013 and 2018 in terms of quality.