Harvest season is coming to a close in the Roussillon. With 80% of plots already picked, winegrowers can positively report that the 2019 vintage looks to be exceptional, despite a decrease of 20-30% in terms of volume.
In Catalan country, harvesting began around August 15th, some 2 weeks later than last year. This late ripening can be explained by the heatwave of end-June and the drought of July. August’s cool evening temperatures, and September’s rains, were beneficial for the vines, which stayed healthy and showed a good balance between leaves and grapes.
Meticulous work in the vineyard and the cellar
While it is still too early to give exact numbers, 2019 volumes will be below those of 2018. With a decrease of approximately 20 to 30%, the total should be around 600,000 hl. This was a smaller harvest, perfectly controlled by the winegrowers, who intensified their efforts from the beginning of the growing cycle to beyond the harvest. « The care given the vines, and the grapes in the cellar, was decisive. Because of the drought, the grapes harvested were smaller than usual, with little flesh. It was thus necessary to show meticulousness and attention to plot selection, but also during maceration and pressing », emphasizes Philippe Bourrier, Président of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Roussillon (CIVR). Hard work that paid off, since first reports from the wineries announce an exceptional vintage.
A quality vintage with great finesse
The hot, dry weather this summer, as well as September’s rains, allowed for the making of aromatic white and rosé wines, marked notably by notes of exotic fruits, and showing lovely freshness and great balance between alcohol and acidity. The red wines are already showing many layers : red fruit aromas and high-quality, plump and supple tannins. For some, this could be a vintage to lay down. As for Muscat-based wines, they are already showing much aromatic freshness, which is a particularly good omen for the Muscats de Noel (Christmas Muscats). As far as Vins Doux Naturels (Natural Sweet Wines) from Banyuls, Maury and Rivesaltes are concerned, their elegance, finesse and balance point to their being very lovely wines to lay down. « 2019 will thus be a good year, marked by a decrease in volume. The Roussillon region once again presents beautifully-made, elegant wines from all of its appellations : dry AOP’s and IGP’s, as well as VDN’s » concludes Philippe Bourrier.
Volume trends since 2016 :
2016 = 612 860hl / 2017 = 689 100 hl / 2018 = 755 484 hl / 2019 = 600 000 hl (approx.)