As the last few batches are finishing the malolactic fermentation we can have a look back on vintage 2014. Two words to describe this vintage quickly will be BIG and Quality. Not only was this by far the largest amount of grapes we received but we also have some of the best quality wines in the cellar.
Leading up to vintage 2104 we had a fantastic winter of 2013. Lots of early rain and enough very cold days to get the plants into an early winter rest. Also remember that we had relatively small harvest leading up to this vintage with especially the 2011 and 2012 vintages which had a very low crop.
We had far more rain than the long term average which is always great for dry land wine farming. Winter was also long and we had quite a bit of snow in the high lying areas. All of these combined well and we had a later than usual budding but a very even one. Weather in the critical September, October period was also great with not too much wind in flowering and also not too high disease pressure for our organic vineyards. The experienced viticulture team managed fantastic as usual. We had a very balanced and even crop and not a lot of uneven bunches needed to be removed at “veraison”. Moderate December and January temperatures also helped in a nice even ripening.
Harvest started about 10 days later than usual and especially our Pinotage was 2 – 3 weeks later . Young Chenin Blanc and some early Chardonnay were the first to arrive at the cellar. We had a continuous harvest with not really a 2 week brake that we usually experienced in February. We also found our analysis being fantastic. Great reds with lower sugar and good natural acidity and relatively low ph’s for our area. This will lead to balanced wines with much lower alcohols and long ageing which is something we at Laibach really strive for. Especially the reds will have up to 1% lower alcohol levels than usual.
Although our production was higher we had no real panic in harvest like it is in some years when you have everything ripe at once. We did have some space problems but eventually I think everything worked out just fine. The last grapes were received on March 31st. The stand out grape varietals were Chenin Blanc, Pinotage, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Very classic wines can be expected with fine tannins and natural acidities. Wines that will be fine to enjoy young but also with enough class to age gracefully. A truly great year.