Southwest Vintage Reports 2018


Domaine Philemon (Gaillac), Mathieu Vieules :

The vintage was quite complicated with incessant rains in Spring, we had to double our organic treatments against mildew (for which we used orange peel oil, which worked against mildew and oidium as well). Then, the opposite situation in August and September during which we had no rain for a period of 70 days. As a result was an exceptional maturity of the grapes for harvest! The hydratic stress had beneficial effects on the quality of the grapes, but was concerning regarding its effect on younger vines, which, with still shallow root systems, are sensitive to drought .

The whites were brought in quickly in order to preserve freshness (acidity) and to limit their alcohol levels. As for the reds, they became concentrated very quickly, and managing overripeness was more difficult because harvesting is by hand and requires more time.

In the cellar, fermentations with indigenous yeasts were thus more difficult as a result of higher sugar levels, notably the reds, but the result is the best of this exceptional vintage.

At the level of tasting, the reds are structured, deeply colored with silken tannins. The whites are mineral and subtle with a beautiful freshness.

In sum : The start of the campaign was difficult in terms of weather but a long dry period before the harvest was very beneficial to the quality of the crop. We thus brought a very lovely harvest to the cellar. It is during winemaking that ripeness levels were more difficult to manage because the indigenous yeasts were fragile and therefore the fermentation periods were longer. In the glass, the 2018 vintage is of high quality and that is what we will remember.


Chateau La Caminade (Cahors), Dominique Ressès :

A few words on the vintage 2018:
It can be summarized as follows: An almost perfect richness, finesse and balance thanks to a warm and dry summer which effectively reversed the negative effects of a cool, rainy spring.
It is the “sunny vintage” par excellence, classic and very ripe fruit , low acid, easy drinking.
Harvests started on September 27 and finished October 11, with the exception of the Tannat ,harvested later
We chose to harvest early, to avoid any over-ripeness, in favor of freshness and also to limit the alcoholic potential between 13 ° 5 and 14 ° for Mission Caminade and not much more than 14 ° 5 for the wine Commandery (CY).

The vintage almost perfect in fact !!! It was not too hot and especially dry during harvest days. Overall, there was very even maturity in our vineyards, perfect sanitary conditions and the grapes, with thick skins, that are rich in  fine tannins.


Southwest Vintage Reports 2016 


 Domaine Philemon (Gaillac), Mathieu Vieules :

 Regarding the 2016 vintage : a vintage of suspense.

 After the very mild 2015-2016 winter, the most optimistic winegrowers predicted a very early harvest, around August 15….

 However with the cold spring bringing frosts in late April and early May, we experienced several “nuits blanches” (localized frosts). The heavy rains in May and June engendered a strong attack of mildew, forcing me to treat the vines every week, even every 3 to 4 days ; with the great uncertainty of the effectiveness of organic treatments. Summer weather didn’t arrive until the 15th of August,  and lasted through October.

 The grapes reached maturity only at the end of September and beginning October, however the harvest was plentiful.

 The Reds are fruity with attenuated concentration despite deep color.

The Whites are vivacious, and fresh.


Southwest Vintage Reports 2015


 Domaine Castera (Jurancon), Franck Lihor :

 The 2015 vintage is not as simple as it appeared would be.

The weather was beautiful and warm.  And so we were under little pressure during the vegetative phase. The weather during harvest was equally magnificent. No rain. Consequently we had the necessary time to bring in the crop. The vines fared well.

Paradoxically the grapes are low in potential alcohol and the acidity remains present which is a good sign for moelleux wines.

The wines of 2015 have a profile that is more discreet, more fresh and more reserved than the 2014s which are expressive and accessible.We’ve continued the work we initiated last year with new a pressing technique, making slower pressings, treating the grapes more carefully, respectfully.



 Domaine Larredya (Jurancon), Jean-Marc Grussaute :

2015 was a lovely year. The beginning of the season rained as usual, then flowering (beginning of June) took place under sunny skies.

Summertime was struck by successivive periods of intense heat then coolness. The various growth stages of the vine happened a bit early.

The harvest, slightly early, happened under exceptional conditions. The dry whites were brought in between October 15th through October 25th, then we immediately embarked on the harvest of the moelleux grapes. Finally the grapes for “Au Capceu” were harvested around the 15th of November. Which is early, but the alcohol levels were fully present.

The profile of the wines is of finesse, the alcohol levels are correct and the acidity refreshing on the mouth. The aromatic palette, is at this moment, very delicate.


Domaine du Cros (Marcillac),  Philippe Teuilier :

The 2015 vintage ranks among recent excellent years, in the same style as 2011, 2009…

A beautiful color , a nose of ripe fruits, and lots of roundness in the mouth….


Domaine Philemon (Gaillac), Mathieu Vieules :

2015 : The vintage is THE most promissing since my installation at the domaine in 2003.

It confirms to be of the same quality as the “vintages in 5” (1975, 1985, 1995, 2005).

The vines benefited from an ideal development, due to measured climactic conditions:

-rapid budbreak in Spring

-flowering during warm and dry weather in June

-beginning, then the end of  veraison favored by 2 rainstorms

-maturity and harvests during dry weather and agreeable temperatures 


Chateau La Caminade (Cahors), Dominique Ressès : 

Here then, below, a small summary of the last vintage 2015.

The beginning of the season was not particularly early for budbreak, but the mild and even hot conditions at the beginning of april favored a rapid start to the vegetative phase.

 Growth is quick, flowering is very early (end of flowering june 5th 2015), “closing” of grape bunches finished around July 5th and the beginning of veraison noted July 20th 2015. 

 Spring and Summer are very dry a even several rainstorms were net enough to avoid a drought, even “hydric stress” of the vineyards.

For this reason of lack of rain, the stage of veraison was, by contrast, very long, lasting over practically 3 weeks. (normally requiring 7 – 10 days). The rain finally came around the 20th of August, but already a bit late to effect maturing and development of sugars.

Furthermore, this rain continued for the first 10 days of September, further delaying maturation, and we worried for the health of the grapes.

Happily all of the vineyard work (suckering, leaf thinning, green harvesting and the very healthy state of the crop thanks to a hot and dry summer) allowed us to attain the proper maturity.

Because of this wet end of summer, we delayed the harvest date until September 25 2015 to order to finally arrive at a beautiful aromatic and phenolic ripeness of our grapes and also to be able to harvest during dry weather.

In summary, this vintage is a bit a year of all excesses. Very hot and dry starting in April, then a lot more wet (almost too much!) at the end of summer, finishing with beautiful and clement weather for the harvest.

The result of all this on the wines is that the vintage 2015 is very gourmand . The tannis are quite ripe with the fullness and ripeness of wines from very sunny vintages, but also with a lot of freshness and “crisp” thanks to a pretty, well balanced acidity.

In the end, it is an advantage, this slight “dillution” from the rains at the end of August, beginning of September resulting in a vintage that is not excessive in alcohol. Following the different vats, the degrees will be only 13° to 14°5.


Château Du Bloy (Bergerac), Bertrand Lepoittevin-Dubost :

 Concerning our domaine, the 2015 harvests were spread out over a long period ; we started the harvest of white grapes September 7th and finished with that of the reds on October 9th. If the volumes prove to be lower compared to the past year’s, the quality, very happily, will be once again of the desired level. The climactic conditions were relatively favorable throughout the summer, and, if it was necessary to take certain risks by delaying the harvests in order to pick grapes at optimum maturity, our patience was rewarded in the end. 

The replanting campaign that we started in 2011, will bear its fruit, literally and figuratively, now at three years time, and also allows us to take up again with more satisfactory yields, especially with vines planted narrowly at 5, 000 plant stocks per hectare.

The 2015 harvest, was for our domaine the second certified organic crop and it’s with satisfaction, even if its progress does not escape the slowness of the evolution of mindsets, that we note the rising enthusiasm of our clientel for this type of agriculture and winemaking, at once respectful of the environment, of terroir and the consumers.

In the press, the critics and specialized journalists continue to appreciate our cuvées and our production continues to receive very good placement in the diverse wine guides and reviews, in le Bettane et Desseauve, la Revue du Vin de France, le Gault et Millau, le guide Hubert sous la plume de Pierre Casamayor, and others.


Southwest Vintage Reports 2014


 Domaine Philemon (Gaillac), Mathieu Vieules :

  - the yields are very modest around 25 hectoliters/hectare (because of the hard pruning en goblet this  year was low fruitbearing and because of the hard competition for the vines from natural grasses as part of Organic agriculture).

- exceptional climactic conditions in September and October (sunny and the Vent d’Autun) played an important role in the maturity of the grapes

*for the reds, pronounced colors and supple tannins

*for the whites, fruitiness and vivacity

The harvesting was done progressively according to the maturity of the varieties, without rushing.

The general quality of the 2014 in GAILLAC is quite varied.

Certain domaines had achieved exceptional yields, but suffered storms starting in mid-September, ruining their crops.


Domaine Castera (Jurancon), Franck Lihour :

 Concerning the 2014 vintage, quite a few changes.

First of all, I (Franck) have officially joined my parents in the domaine. We will progressively be making changes that I see as important.

In certain designated plots in the vineyard we are doing trials (with green fertilizers, organic farming, modifying pruning,….), We also have a new grape variety in production this year – Petit Corbu.

We’ve changed our way of harvesting. Still all hand-havested, we bring in the grapes in tubs, then place them directly in the press, without pumping for more delicate treatment of the grapes.

We are vinifying more and more with indigenous yeasts.

I am creating new cuvées (a sec and a moelleux) from selected parcels. Voila, a “brief” sum up of changes in 2014. Other things planned for 2015…



 Chateau du Bloy (Bergerac), Bertrand Lepoittevin-Dubost :

 The 2014 harvest will be first in the history of our property to be certified in organic agriculture. It’s been a lengthy process of ethical practical considerations to undertake the path to organic farming, a road often sown with ambush, (« organics »  is a bit like combatting with an arc of arrows compared to the heavy artillery offered by chemical solutions) ; for you it means the certainty to drink wines that are produced with the purest respect of the environment and for the health of you, the consumers. For the most sceptical or exacting among you, the time requiried for certification is 3 years in organic production, you can be assured that the past four vintages, and even before that, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides in the vineyards, undesirable treatments during vinification,  have been banned from use here. In accordance with this strict practice, our 2014 rosé has just been bottled and represents the our first wine labeled as certified organic.

After a difficult start to the season, as trying physically as psychologically, with weather conditions marked by frequent rains that made for a real fear of a growing season to come wrought with complications, an almost perfectly sunny summer until mid-august resulted in one of the largest harvests we have had since we acquired the property in 2001. Certainly the yields did not reach the full production potential of the vines, but following the very small quantities of the two past vintages, 2014 marks a return to decent yields.

Although its not the most important, we are happy to mention the wine press continues to appreciate our wines and we continue to  be recommended most notably by the guide « Bettane et Dessauve, as well as « Gault et Millau des vins ». Also, our Côtes de Bergerac rouge « Sirius » 2011 was awarded two stars by the guide « Hachette » 2015.


Chateau Caminade (Cahors), Dominique Ressès :

After a nice May and June and a good start to the growing season (lasting 15 days), summer weather proved more complicated, with little sun and too much rain.
Because of this bad weather,  in concern for quality and in the fight against botrytis, we thinned leaves, at the level of the grapes, on both sides of the vines. As well, we
did a green harvest in 2/3rd of the vines.
As a result, at the beginning of September we had a good potential yield, however  lacked actual grape maturity.
Thankfully the weather changed a bit, the way it often does here, we came under the influence of warm winds from the South and South-West,  bringing magnificent sunny days.
Finally, summer had arrived! And this beautiful weather lasted until the beginning of November.
Because of the work in the vineyard, plus the beautiful late-season weather, we were able to wait until grapes achieved full maturity before beginning harvesting them, perfectly heathy and ripe, on Sunday October 5th.
In all, it is a late maturing vintage, but of very good quality. I think that will be a vintage of finesse, expressive for its fresh, lively fruit quality, rather than power. At dregrees between 13% and 14% , it is  elegant and balanced.