In most regions there was about 25% more rain than usual (5 to 50mm more) in the late spring/early summer and these rains had a natural cooling effect in the months of November and December. Towards the end of December it stopped raining in most regions. Veraison started a bit earlier than usual, and the canopy was well developed early in the harvest season because of the rains. It stopped raining just at the right time for red varietals and very high altitude chardonnay to experience the necessary amount of stress.
We did a great deal of Scholander pump water measurements this year because in the dry conditions of Jan-May it was essential to stress the plants judiciously. Most lots were harvested between 7 and 10 days prior to the usual date. Because of the ideal weather conditions of February, March, April and May, we were able to harvest all our vineyards at 4 different times, a method that we find helpful as a way to intensify each aspect of the vineyard's terroir: aromatics (early harvest), fine tannins and mid palate (mid harvest), concentration of tannins-polymerization (late harvest.)
NICASIA VINEYARD - Altamira, Uco Valley, Mendoza, 3593 ft elevation
This vineyard was harvested a few weeks earlier than usual; we harvested most of it in March. Perfect natural acidity - no correction needed - intense black fruit; very, very dark and concentrated with no hard edges on the tannins, ultra rich, ultra silky. Alejandro Vigil was also very surprised and excited by the quality of the Cabernet Sauvignon in this vineyard, he says, "This was a great year for this variety that has such great potential in this region." There were no vegetal notes in the Cabernet Sauvignon that was deeply colored, rich in tannins and of perfect ripeness with no over-ripe features (Alejandro particularly dislikes over-ripeness in cabernet sauvignon.)
100% whole cluster and 90% whole berry fruit is hand-loaded into 225-500 liter new French oak barrels for a 100% barrel fermentation for a period of 15 days, allowing seamless oak integration. The fermentation temperature is kept low, extracting intense aromas, and the cap management is done by hand to ensure soft, gentle flavors and tannin extraction. Wild yeasts. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in barrel leaves considerable lees and sediment.
The wine is aged in French oak barrels for 24 months, followed by 24 months of aging in bottle before release.