Last week was a full week in the côtes for me, starting to accumulate some 2020-vintage visits prior to the start of harvesting – but I think the topic of harvesting, and what may be harvested, remains the most requested subject of queries to me – so let’s do that…
2021 is a vintage that currently lies on a knife-edge of quality – on one side potentially really excellent or on the other side, definitely not!
We’ve had nice stable weather and good light for the last 10 days, or so, and this combination has brought the maturity nicely forward and halted the rot in its tracks. But from the end of this week, the weather is forecast to be more changeable and this could play into the hands of the various maladies of the vine – all is still to play for. Of course, my knife-edge comment refers mainly to the reds where there are plenty of losses but at least 70% of a normal crop, rather than the whites, which may struggle to deliver 25% of a normal crop – these whites could still be very good but will be scarce and if only for that will forever be described as a ‘small’ vintage, regardless of their intrinsic quality.
The ongoing analyses of the BIVB (above right, published today) indicate the movement of these three important analytical aspects since the 30th of August. For those of you who are interested in how many grams per litre of sugar indicates (roughly) ripe, then 230 g/l would indicate somewhere between 13 and 14% alcohol depending on the rate of the sugar’s conversion. Based on the current progression, pinots will certainly be harvested first and that could start before the 20th of September if there’s not much rain and plenty of sun – if there is plenty of rain then the first picks will likely be after the 20th.
As noted, there’s still much to play for, for the producers of reds.