The growing season before vintage 2013 was very good. Although the winter started quite late we had quite a bit more rain than in the previous years. We had a very cold and wet August which not only added to our underground water but also helped the plants to have a more even budding.
The season was running a week or two late because of this but this seems too long forgotten after a very hot and dry December. For us a cold and very wet winter is ideal for a classic vintage. We do not use irrigation (might change a little in future) and therefore sufficient reserve s in our cool deep clay soils are not negotiable. We did get a little scare from mother nature with some cold and rainy weather in and around flowering but nothing that our very efficient vineyard team could not manage.
This vintage was the first vintage when the whole of the farm was certified organic so 38 ha of vineyards had to get the best attention to detail you can imagine. Some unevenness in especially the Petit Verdot was the only real concern for us.
Which looked like a later harvest than usual eventually started like so many before in the first week of February. Chenin and Pinotage were again the earliest cultivars to be harvested and the quality was great. Lower alcohols and very good analysis for them was great and they showed lots of promise for something special for the future. We had a small mid February gap after the Organic Chardonnay was harvested but then it all happened quite quickly.
Towards the end of February all the Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and even some young blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon started to ripen. These components usually end up in our fantastic and very popular Ladybird Red. Quality was above average and especially the selected rows of Merlot that we use for the Claypot Merlot was exceptional.
The harvest for us was bigger and produced more balanced wines with lower acidities and softer tannins than in vintages 11 and 12. The wines are little higher in alcohols that we would have liked but we think the quality in general is very good and we are looking forward starting to blend the components and to bottle vintage 2013.