The first half of a quite moderate winter 2009/2010 was followed by an unusually warm February. In March, however, the winter showed its teeth again and the cold weather lasted until the end of April. Consequently, the vegetation began later than in the previous year and the flowering started on the 4th of June, or a few days later if considering the usual average timing. The flowering period was accompanied by nice weather.
The months of May and June recorded many rainy days which resulted in strong growth and the occurrence of various diseases but basically nothing serious or uncontrollable. The summer slowly commenced and proved to be quite difficult; it was marked by much rain and a number of hot days which resulted in high humidity, thus providing perfect conditions for the powdery mildew. The consequences were heavy and some varieties did suffer damage at particular sites.
The month of August was not extremely warm and hot, so we waited for the late summer and the dry and windy days. This type of weather is typical for our area and usually continues throughout the early September. But, there were only few such days and we had to put up with a rather cold, humid and rainy weather up until the start of harvest.
The ripening of grapes was very slow. This is not necessary bad at all and it can produce pretty aromas but can bring problems of under ripeness also. The harvest of unripe grapes was not an option hence we have decided to wait as long as it would be necessary for keeping the quality. Nonetheless, the loss of crop was quite big and a heavy blow for us.
With starting the harvest on the 23rd of September, we have more or less remained within the standard date and time but a great amount of grapes was still not ready to be picked. The unstable, cold and humid weather caused uneven ripening, as well as the Botrytis. At one stage of the harvest, the St Martin’s grapes had the ultimate look which on the other hand would be fatal for the wine quality at a later stage. The first selection of grapes in the vineyard was carried out with utmost care as well as the second selection at the sorting table prior to the destemming process. Great efforts were put forth and we have succeeded in providing the required quality irrespective of the major loss of crop (40 to 70%). We have invested twice as much time in the harvest as in previous years.
Vintage 2010 proved to be the most difficult vintage so far. We were forced to sacrifice a great amount of grapes as well as working hours. Notwithstanding, we are convinced to have made the right decision. One good thing about this harvest was certainly the fact that all grapes delivered to the cellar were naturally cold. The wine of 2010 boasts of great purity, good grape ripeness, rich and varied aromatic character, firm structure and – last but not least – good balance.
After all ups and downs a slow grape ripening, low harvest daily temperatures and good grape selection during the harvest could be a winning combination of vintage 2010 charming wines.