We don't blame you if you still haven't heard of Tartaras. We are still learning about it more and more with each visit to Anne and Pierre-Andre Deplaude. This time, we were fortunate to have a quick lunch with them as they had just finished harvest the day prior to our arrival.
The press was on when we walked into the cellar, and their assistants, Remi and Guillaume, were busy with a décuvage of gamay. They reported that harvest had started early this year, on August 23rd, and ended on September 21st. Quality and quantities were up, and the smile on everyone's face was a sure sign of a promising vintage. Particularly exciting was the first fruit in one of their new parcels of chouchillon, a local grape, and a couple other recently acquired parcels of pinot noir and gamay that yielded excellent grapes beyond their expectations.
The whites in barrel were already coming along nicely and the 2017s in bottle were absolutely fantastic. If these are any indication, we are in for a couple of excellent years of wines from Les Deplaude de Tartaras.
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.