Vintage 2021 is officially in the books. With the reds slowly starting their natural malolactic fermentation, we thought of giving our loyal customers some input on this our 25th vintage at Laibach.
For a start this was our latest vintage since our first vintage 1997. We started 2 to 3 weeks later than usual. A very wet and cold winter of 2020 helped the vines to rest well and we had very even budding. Some varietals, like Chardonnay, had a very low yield especially in the younger vines.
Sometimes nature gives and sometimes nature takes. Like you know we farmed already organically since 2000 and this year experience again helped a lot. We had quite a cold and wet flowering season but luckily not as much “black” Southeaster winds like in the past. Some producers that still spray conventional stuff had seen quite a bit of mildew in the season. This reminded us very much of vintage 2002, but the vineyard team did a great job keeping at bay any disease threat at any point. Veraison was also much later and in general everything was much more even and in balance with small berries, bunches and general vineyard yield.
We averaged around 35 to 40 hl/hectare this year which is ideal for top quality. With all the droughts of the last years now completely behind us the vineyards kept their green tint well and we had no real stress at all. All pointing to a quality harvest.
We started middle February with Chenin blanc for our Sur Lie. After that some amazing Pinotage from our old bush vine block. This block is now in its prime and although it doesn’t produce much per hectare the quality is just mind boggling. Very dark colour with lots of fruit, lower alcohol and ripe juicy tannins. It is a classic Pinotage this year which I think can easily last 20 – 30 years without the use of new wood. Young Merlot followed and it was amazing to see the colour and ripeness this year at very low alcohol levels. Even the young vines did not reach 14% but colours were pitch black, tannins ripe, soft and juicy and acidities naturally high. It was a very cool season with lower day temperatures and cool nights. Ideal for classic Stellenbosch. We finished about 9 days later than last year with our oldest block of Cabernet Sauvignon. Again alcohol levels were around 13% and colours were pitch black. We also found the tannins in the Cab much more than in some of our Merlot and Cab Franc batches. Pressing finished just before Easter weekend.
So we are quite excited. An al round great vintage with elegant fruity whites with very good acidities with especially Chenin Blanc with long lasting potential. Reds with juicy soft tannins, very dark colour and low alcohols. Look out for some amazing Merlot this year.