The year is drawing to a close and it’s time to find out what this year’s harvest was like, since 2018 will be behind us in no time. As you know, each harvest is different, and this year, given the weather, we were anticipating a long, difficult harvest. We finally got started on August 27th, a date within the normal range if we compare it with the last three years, when the harvest came earlier due to the havoc caused by the drought and high temperatures. We finished on October 24th.
This year’s harvest at Jean Leon was completely different to last year’s and was characterized by a significant increase in rainfall. The amount nearly tripled, going from 250 mm in 2017 to 718 mm so far in 2018.
The work in the vineyards was very intense from April until October. The vine growing team worked actively to encourage the aeration of the grape bunches to prevent the development of fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and mildew, caused by excess moisture. The team also managed to adjust the ripening, getting the grapes to stay healthy and recovering the usual yields compared with the drop in the past two years.
In general, it was a typical harvest, with each variety being picked on the dates that are normal for our estate.
We opened the doors to the winery at the end of August to bring in the early varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. At the end of September it was the turn of Merlot, used for our Vinya Palau, followed by Petit Verdot, with its notes of red fruit and spices, which is combined with the Merlot to create the red for the 3055 range. In October, we harvested the varieties that provide the intense color, tannins, and structure for our Le Havre Reserva (Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc), and we finished off the harvest with a careful selection from the 8 hectares of our best Cabernet Sauvignon, used to make our Vinya La Scala Gran Reserva.
We also harvested two new white varieties this year, one with a medium cycle and the other a later variety. They are already being used to create new experimental wines we will be presenting next year, but that’s all we’re going to say for now
In terms of the wines, both the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir are fresher and more intense than in recent years. For the reds, we managed to get an excellent balance between the ripening of the skin and the seeds and the maturation of the sugars and the acidity. This creates wines with soft tannins, good aromatic intensity, and lower alcohol content.
In short, 2018 was a rainy year, which has resulted in the grapes and production recovering from the effects of the drought in recent years. The moderate temperatures have also promoted a slow, gradual ripening process that has given us very good quality wines.
One last thing: I wanted to let you know that the white and rosé blends from the 3055 range are already ready, so they will be available soon.
Cheers to wine!
Winemaker at Jean Leon