We arrived to Martin's house in the morning after harvest had finished. Outside of losing 80% of his grenache harvest due to an attack of mildew that developed too fast to be handled, and a bit to a local wild boar population (he actually just obtained his hunting license), he is overall happy with the 2018 vintage. Martin averaged 32 hectoliters/hectare across the entire domaine raising his production by 2000L for the year.
Harvest started in mid-August in St.-Julien-en-St.-Alban with the grapes that will go into his pét-nat, Petite Nature, and lasted almost exactly a month. Even though it was a hot, dry year - one of the most extreme on record in most of France - the grapes that came out of it were perfect and balanced even if a bit higher in potential alcohol than in years passed, mostly in the 13-13.5% range.
Martin had just moved to a new cellar this summer so he was a bit worried that the fermentations wouldn't start as fast as usual, but he was happily surprised once everything was going smoothly. Because of the heat this vintage, he opted for a shortened maceration time to achieve the fresh, translucent style of wine he is becoming known for, and with great results thus far. In his words, "Good aromatics, good grip, very little volatile acidity - works for me."
We are very excited that the 2017s are on their way to the US. We were also able to taste a few barrels of Brézème that will be held back for prolonged elévage, and all we can say so far is that it is exceptional. Stay tuned.