Louis Dressner Selections - Wine Importer

2013 Harvest Reports


2013 at Arianna Occhipinti!

by Arianna Occhipinti!

Harvest began on September 24th, 2013. It was our first vintage in the new cellar. There was a fresh new smell in the cellar, but it was also lacking 2012's aromas. Still, I moved all of the 2012 vintage in to keep us company and to make the grapes feel comfortable their first time entering their new home!

All the tanks are concrete from now on. Finally, more space! I had a lot of anxiety about how everything would be: for the fermentations, but also for the guys that help adapting to a new place (and quickly!). But all at once, as soon as the grapes started to ferment I made a big sigh of relief.

The smell of the must was the same as always, and everything went well. I think that what we have in the vineyard really is the most important thing, and that's why I found all and everything in the wines while being in a new place. I am very happy with this vintage. It is my tenth, so it had to be special!

Vintage description:

Ideal weather throughout the year. July and August were cool. We had just a bit of rainfall, which refreshed the soil and helped the plants restart. With a cool climate, a breezy season and perfectly sanitary grapes, things were looking good.

I found, however, a greater difficulty in finding the point of maturity of the grapes. I remember starting the harvest, but interrupting it and resuming it after a few days.
It was a belated year and the grapes needed to stay on the plant a little longer. The Nero d'Avola was rich and typical, the Frappato very fragrant. Macerations have been shortened slightly, with punchdowns and pump overs on a daily basis.

Produced Wines:

SP68 Bianco, SP68 Rosso, Il Frappato, Siccagno, Grotte Alte, Passo Nero

A Small but Qualitative 2013 at Domaine Renardat-Fâche.

by Christelle Renardat-Fâche.

Harvest is done! The wine is fermenting slowly and will be bottled soon to give it bubbles. We picked from October 7th to the 15th: 3 weeks later than usual due to the excessive rain and lack of sunshine.

The grapes are of excellent quality, and the Gamay-Poulsard blend will be the usual (70-30). 2013 Cerdon will have an excellent balance between sugar and acidity, a beautiful color and aromas even more intense than 2012! Of course this is all hypothetical, since the wines haven't begun bubbling yet and you can never be sure what you're gonna get! The only downside is that the crop was low this year. We'll do our best to have more in 2014. If the weather agrees!

A "Pleasant Surprise" at Domaine Fernand Girard!

by Alain Girard, December 14th, 2013.

2013 was a cold and late year. Bud break was over 10 days late, and Spring's cold and humidity pushed things back even further, with flowering about two weeks late. This resulted in coulure and millerandange, which explained the size of the grapes at harvest.

From mid-June to mid-September, the weather was extremely dry, particularly in July. Because of this, we did not have to worry about mildew or odium. And with all the water that had accumulated in the soils, the vines did not suffer from dehydration during this dry-spell.

Going into the fall, we had mild, humid weather up until October 10th. September's mild climate helped maturation, concentrating sugars, lowering acidities and adding aromatic complexities. It also created pockets of botrytis. Because Sauvignon's skins are thick, this led to noble rot, bringing weight and finesse to the grapes.

We began harvesting on October 7th and finished on the 18th. We had to pick hastily to vinify under the best conditions. The whites are still very tight, with floral aromas dominating. Depending on the terroir and the date they were harvested, the wines are characterized by a tender freshness and marked acidity. This leads us to believe that this style will benefit from aging.

I have a feeling this 2013 harvest will lead to a pleasant surprise.

A Challenging but Humbling 2013 at Domaine Bernard Baudry.

by Matthieu Baudry, December 3rd, 2013.

You need nerves of steel to not give up when the weather is so unfavorable; this is the burden of the vigneron, who we sometimes forget are completely "climate-dependant". We were anticipating it, and unfortunately the rain was present from the beginning of the season right up the the eagerly awaited moment of harvest. The work in the vines was laborious, all to ensure the best sanitary state for the grapes in order to have the best maturities possible. At times, the team reached a boiling point of frustration. In hindsight, however, this enticed renewed modesty and humility to the fascinating work we do every year.

After a winter that felt like it was never going to end, the entire Spring season was very wet. This delayed the vegetal cycle even more, but in the end the grapes flowered in good conditions. Summer was warmer, but the pressure from illness was strong due to the humidity accumulated over the Spring. Treatments were rigorous even well into September. And then, the nice weather was once again replaced with rain from mid-september right up until the harvest.

This was the tardiest harvest in the last 30 years, and we really needed to wait for phenolic ripeness (principally for tannins). I don't know if we would have taken this type of risk 30 years ago, but today I feel it is absolutely necessary to wait and harvest the ripest fruit!

2013 will be marked by a lack of concentration compared to past vintages, which can entirely be blamed on the rain. Fortunately, the trade off is that they are very fruity and accessible. Fans of rich, structured wines meant to age may be frustrated, but those who enjoy light, tender wines meant to be drunk young will be delighted.

Another direct result of the rain, we've produced some very delicious rosé which we had de-prioritized in the last few years due favorable circumstances for reds with a lot of character.

2013 with Agnès and René Mosse!

by Joseph Mosse, December 2nd, 2013.

The winter in France was very long and we had a disappointing spring: we only saw the sun on rare occasions and temperatures were low. This resulted in the harvest being delayed. By July, the weather finally improved and temperatures escalated, but it was almost too late.

We started harvesting on October 8th in the small Chardonnay field we always begin with. We waited as long as we could, but had to start even though the potential was low (around 11.5). On the following days, we carefully watched the potential and concentration of each field of Chenin Blanc in order to choose which to harvest, often waiting until the last possible minute. We had to be quick and adaptive so we gathered a big team, almost 25 people.

On October 14th, all of the Chenin was harvested except for the Savennières, whose grapes were still low in sugar but in good shape. In the three followingdays, we harvested the grolleau and then the Savennières. The Cabernet grapes were looking good but will be low in potential. Our hardworking team finished them in a few days, and on October 23th, the 2013 harvest was over.

The overall yields are low, about 20hl/ha. You can however expect good dry white wines and maybe lighter than usual cabernets.

A 2013 that Worked Out at Montesecondo.

by Silvio Messana, November 12th, 2013.

In Tuscany we have had a very rainy winter, a cold and rainy spring and summer did not start before July 10th. As a result the harvest was postponed by almost 3 weeks and we went back to what it used to be 20 years ago: harvesting at the end of September! Of course this has meant cooler weather and cooler fermentations, and in the end all worked well. So far we have beautiful perfumes, good acidities and a lot of freshness. Now we just have to wait.

A "Satisfying" 2013 at Clos Roche Blanche.

by Catherine Roussel, October 14th, 2013

It's not the vintage of the century, but at least there's juice.

Three things to get through this harvest's sulky weather:

1. You have to be in a good mood every morning when you wake up.
2. You need a good team that can work faster than rot.
3. A tray table.

We started on October 8th with the Sauvignons, with an alcoholic potential of 12°/12.5°, acidities reaching 5.5g and a PH between 3.12 and 3.15. The grapes we harvested were nice and ripe, (except in one parcel), but lack concentration.

The Gamay was harvested last Friday: 11°, 6g of acidity and a PH of 3.16, The juice is clear and clean thanks to very strict sorting.

We picked the Pineau D'Aunis this morning, and will only make rosé this year. 11°5, 5.5g acidity, PH 3.25. The juices coming from the press are vividly colored. Surprising!

In the end we are satisfied, because nothing tasted like rot and the balance of the sugars/acidity is ok. We're predicting harvesting the Côt on Thursday and the Cabernet next week.

Recap and Pictures from Eric Texier's 2013.

by Eric Texier.

2013: the Spring that never came, frost in late May, rain and cold during flowering; not a great start to the season! And then a very nice July that caught up about 3 weeks lost in Spring. Followed by August, with its severe and very ususual attack of mildew, stripping us of some of our whites in Brézème and Saint-Julien en Saint-Alban.
This is what we'd faced entering the month of September, still about 15 days late compared to last year. In the end, the Gods decided to be nice. Dry weather, fresh nights and radiant sunlight during the day permitted the grapes to ripen and stay healthy.

The harvest really started on September 23rd in Saint-Julien's old Syrah vines, as we waited for our Viogniers and Chasselas to ripen. The Brézème Syrah followed, still under the sun. The alchoholic potential is reasonable this year (nothing above 13°), and the acidities are magnificent. Not a single rotten grape, to the point where the sorting table ended up serving as a transportation mat! Fermentations kicked off quickly and vigorously, and morale was high.

Next up, we headed back to Brézème for the Roussanne, which weren't looking that great. But we were pleasantly surprised at press, as the grapes were a lot riper than we'd orginally imagined. We then rushed over to the Viognier and Chasselas in Saint-Julien to check on their acidities, but it was too late! They had shot down drastically in just a few days, and this means we won't be producing any Opale or Rouletabulle this year. A good slap in the face and a serious reminder that we still have much to learn and understand.

Somewhat panicked, we rushed in the remaining whites in Saint-Julien. The old Marsanne from the Hospital parcel were harvested seperately, and there will be a Domaine de Pergaud Saint Julien white for the first time in 2013. Yields for the whites are globally tiny because of mildew, so there will not be much white in the Chat Fou 2013, and just barely half of last year's Adèle production.

We then headed to the the young Syrahs in Saint-Julien, where maturities were similar to Brézème. It will be very interesting comparing the two in coming months.

We kept the hardest for last with the Grenache. The damage do to coulure was severe. A veteran vigneron from the Rhône valley explained it to me years ago: Grenache doesn't do two things at once. This year it was very vigourous around flowering, which made it very susceptible to coulure. Its abnormal charge of fruit messed with its proper development over the rest of the season. In the end, it will be a low year for Grenache, who produced around 25hl/h in Saint-Julien and 20hl/h in Vaison la Romaine and Châteauneuf du Pape. To add to the challenge, we were constantly checking the skins for ripening, endlessely hopping from one parcel to another. Maturities were very heterogeneous, forcing us to do multiple passes to wrap up the harvest.

After 2 long weeks, all of the grapes had been picked and our losses were limited to 10 to 15% compared to a normal year. That's nothing compared to a lot of friends in other regions who suffered tremendously this year.

With these extremely ripe grapes, vinifications were off to a nice start, but a few uncooperative vats gave us the chills. All of the malolactic fermentations were finished, but for 2 vats, the risk of certain bacterias causing a deviation was strong. Spotting this risk a few days into the maceration, we quickly racked these out to chill the juice, letting the yeasts finish their work without those pesky bacteria getting in the way. And lo and behold, the sugars finally finished without any spikes in volatility and without the need to add SO2 or worst, lysozymes.

Bubbles from Bellivière? You Better Believe It!

by Eric Nicholas, November 19th, 2013.

First of all, we are globally happy with this vintage, even though it was full of challenges. 2013 will result in new and rarely produced cuvées which will eventually make it your way, most notably a sparkling and a demi-sec rosé. But let's get back to the important facts about the year.

After a very precise pruning season to ensure that the grapes' yields would be reasonable after 2012, we had a long, long winter with a timid Spring. Combined with a fair amount of rain, we coul feel that the vegetative cycle was already late and that this phenomenon wold likely amplify.

Spring transitioned into a Summer defined by a constant struggle with mildew. As the flowering season approached, we began to worry because temperatures rise fast here and humidity tends to stagnate everything. The flowering finally took place well into July, with a brutal increase in temperature advancing the process. This was a relief, but we could already tell that this very late year would mean an extremely stressful harvest, where we would need to wait to the very last minute for optimal maturities.

And we were right. Today, we are reassured because we avoided all of the worst possible scenarios, with none of the frost and hail that so many of our fellow vignerons fell victim to. There were grapes in the vineyard and we will bring them to fruition. Still, none of us even considered picking before October 10th.

Even in August, mildew forced us to stay extremely vigilant. All risks were avoided by a precise program followed exactly as I'd planned, calling upon many herbal preparations of dandelion and other herbs never before introduced in the vineyard. Our restructuring of the treillissage would also end up being crucial in our fight.

Finally, harvest! Coveted and anticipated after our horrific 2012. The lack of warmth actually works well with Chenin and Pineau d'Aunis as long as the harvest goes well, and our fingers were crossed. As anticipated, the harvest was on a razor's edge! I've never felt such anticipated hope that, with each day passing, this would be the one to bring the maturities where they needed to be.

In the first days of the harvest, the reds were arriving in optimal condition, and the first barrique of white was so good we expected to bring everything in good condition. Unfortunately, with about a third of the harvest in we were hit with 25mm of rain that made getting optimal maturity on the whites a real challenge, forcing us to limit the amount of grapes destined to the still wines, and using the lower potential ones for sparkling. And that was that! We intend to progress in this direction and the juices comfort us in this idea; they are tasting good and seem apt for bubbles.

The harvest continued as such, with constant sorting permitting us to decide which grapes would produce our traditional cuvées, which would produce bubbles. This sorting even led us to making the Giroflées demi-sec rosé from Pineau d'Aunis, a grape that has consistently proven itself to be fully adapted to the region, always coming out of any situation the least scathed.

A Stressful Harvest Pays off for François Cazin!

by François Cazin, November 11th, 2013.

The days and weeks have been passing by, giving us much worry about this harvest.

On a positive note, there are grapes this year, but it was under very stressful "against the clock" scenario to avoid botrytis on numerous parcels, particularly the reds. We began on October 2nd, and did not stop until the 24th. Fortunately, our team was solid and invested in their work: we made a tremendous effort sorting at harvest, followed by a systematic second sorting of the reds.

The result is encouraging, with the first cuves of Sauvignon finishing their fermentation; very fruity and a little bright as we wait for them to start their malo to round them out. Maturities are nothing exceptional but correct, with a potential of 11° to 12°. Yields are moderate, from 25 to 40 hl/ha.

We finished with the Romorantin, harvested from the 20th to the 24th; nice maturities but the grapes didn't make the cut for Renaissance. The balance of the must reminds me of 2008, and we expect nice cuvées for the dry wines, most notably from the older vines, where the grapes were at their ripest.

I've attached some pictures from the harvest, as well as the celebration for the 20th anniversary of the Cheverny and Cour-Chevery AOC's, which was a big success.

"Beautiful and Abundant" Bunches at Domaine Luneau-Papin!

by Marie Chartier, October 2nd, 2013.

Our harvesters showed up last Thursday. The bunches are beautiful and abundant. After 2 very challenging vintages with very low quantities (particularly 2012), it's hard for us to not jump and down in excitement as we wait for the juices to fill our historic, underground vats.

We were blessed with a very nice summer. 2 months of bright sun shut up the rumors that it was going to be humid!

Things are looking good at Clos du Fief!

by Françoise Tête, October 1st, 2013.

We'll need to be patient to tame this 2013 vintage. The last few days have been very sunny, which really counts in the final result. We started harvesting on September 30th, and so far we are very happy with the results (color, acidity, alcohol potential, sanitary state...). It's looking like a good vintage, but quantities vary between poor and normal depending on the parcel.

A "Terrific" 2013 at Cà de Noci!

by Alberto Masini, September 30th, 2013

The harvest is just about finished here and we're fortunate to have had a truly great year.

The only problem we have had was with the Cabernet Sauvignon; we hardly harvested any, and there will be no Gheppio in 2013 (this happened once before in 2008). Luckily, all the other varieties were fine.

This summer, we had a great maturation and a strong swing in temperatures between day and night (high 80s/low 90s during the day and low 60s at night) by which the fruit held on to its aromas and acidity extremely well. The maturation was more balanced than in previous years. We think it's a wonderful vintage for the Querciole and the Nottediluna white wines.

The harvest of the Spergola and other whites began August 22nd, and we finished the 20th of September with the Lambrusco varieties. This year, the Sgavetta and the Malbo Gentile were terrific and ended up with a higher degree of alcohol.

Now we wait for the cold to arrive.

A Rained Out 2013 at Maison Pierre Overnoy.

by Anne Houillon, October 21st, 2013.

2013 was marked by 6 months of rain, forcing us to keep the heat on in the house until June. Even with a return to nice weather in July and August, we faced a lot of mildew pressure with a challenging flowering, especially for the Ploussard (the Savagnin was fine). The Chardonnays are very small, with little juice. A very hard year with tiny yields.

We started harvesting on October 7th with the Ploussard, followed by the Chardonnay and finishing with the Savagnin. We finished on October 12th and 11:30 am. A very quick harvest with very few grapes.

However, I must highlight the importance of our harvest team, who were a pure joy. They were invested in their work, especially for the quality of the sorting. They actively participate in each vintage through their good mood and sympathy. I thank all of them!

The wine is fermenting and tasting good.

A challenging 2013 for Alice and Olivier de Moor.

by Olivier de Moor, October 27th, 2013

"The season has passed, trying its best not to fight with the sky."

The year's sky always gives us the scenario it likes. This year, it was very capricious.

Winter's snow, then more snow. The winter that never ended, to the point of making us forget that Spring exists. And already, we're having a hard time working the vines. No frost but rain and cold follow up the snow. "Pale winter, what have you done to Spring?"

Finally, we rejoice at the soft, subtle perfume of the vines flowering. Around the fires of Saint John's, at summer solstice. June 18th for the Chardonnays, and early July for the Aligotés. All that is left to do is wait out the "100 days" before harvest. An old-fashioned harvest in mid October? We'll see...

Finally summer. From memory, a beautiful, real summer. No excess. What we need in contained rain. Are we catching up on lost time? Maybe one of the three weeks.

"September does everything", as my old vignernon neighbor would say. He's retired.

"Come soft sun, so that your beams agitate the world of bees around me". He comes, punctuated by a few rains. These wake my fears. Having already suffered from such important millerandange, the bunches are tiny, especially on the Aligotés: the consequence of a poor flowering during 2012's vegetation.

However, the small harvest will surely permit a very rapid maturation. And to catch up even more time that I'd anticipated.

But the skins are thin, and in the end the harvest is fragile. We need to hurry, which we do from October 1st to 9th, with one break on Saturday because of 30mm of rain.

So the harvest is very small. Especially for the region. About 24 hl/h, to be confirmed after fermentation is done and everything is in barrel.

The juices are balanced...

Finally Some Rain at Altura!

by Francesco Carfagna, October 8th, 2012

The harvest here is about a month late. We finished picking the Ansonaco five days ago, and it's still "singing" in the cellar......FFRRRR..... In a few days we will pick the reds, then finish with "Chiaretto".

After almost 3 years of dryness, we had rain in winter and Spring, but not a drop since the end of May. This has led to everything being a month late, but we've had perfect, wonderful ripening. Here are some pictures.

2013 at Château D'Oupia!

by Marie-Pierre Iché, October 8th, 2013

It's with a bit of a delay, but here is our first 2013 harvest report. Things are very late this year, and we've only harvested for a quick week before having to stop for maturities to develop further.

We started slowly on September 23rd (for only 3 days before stopping), essentially three weeks later than last year. This is due to a long, fresh and rainy Spring, with Summer's heat taking its sweet time to show itself. Either way, the quality and sanitary state of the grapes was excellent, giving us the luxury of letting each grape reach its optimal maturity. We are anxious to harvest our year's work and to taste the first results.

We started with the Grenache to make rosé: great juice that will make a fresh wine with notes of cassis and bonbon, with nice acidities, roundness and balanced alcohol.

We restarted on Monday, September 30th, but had to stop on Friday because of rain. This wasn't a big deal because the Northern wind blew hard the following day, drying out the bunches. By the end of the week, we'd harvested the first batch of Grenache that will go into Tradition. We now cross our fingers for nice weather over the next two weeks.

Chapters 1 and 2 of Francis Boulard' 2013 Harvest!

October 2nd and 5th, 2013.

Here we go -under the sun- for this first day of harvest, early in the morning of October 2nd, 2013.

We took out our shears and baskets to harvest our first bunches in a 49 year old parcel of Pinot Noir, planted in selection massale on 3309 rootstock (the hastiest) in the Massif Saint-Thierry, on silicious-limestone soils right off a coteau of the village of Cormicy.

On this sandy terrain, some botrytis has appeared, requiring a meticulous selection and technical shear work to remove damaged grapes from otherwise healthy bunches. In total, this parcel more or less represents 15% of our total harvest, all under under the watching eye of Delphine, making sure our 12 harvesters (most veterans with over 10 years experience) don't miss a single quality grape.

We now await the first press to taste the must, analyze the initial results (Ph and acidity) to start planning out our approach to the 2013 vintage.


On the clay soils of the Marne, our Pinot Meunier is in still in a perfect sanitary state, keeping us hopeful for optimal quality.

And now for the first juices of 2013! From grapes who've gotten this far, having been spared from the coulure, mildew, hail, berry worms and botrytis that has claimed so many of our grapes in this challenging 2013 vintage! We're starting to relax, breathe easy as these grapes start alleviating our stress. But the final chapter will be rushed, as we need to harvest the Chardonnay, which we are really pushing it to the last possible moment for ideal maturities on their sandy-limestone soils.


Today is October 5th (a fruit day!) and we've begun harvesting Les Rachais. I know we're going to get good juice from these: dense, concentrated, the "honey" of these old Chardonnays just stuck to your fingers...

In the cellar:

The pied de cuve of Boulardian indigenous yeasts has kicked off its fermentation on Saturday from the Pinot mentioned earlier, and is in an active, full swing. I'm happy, but will only use this pied de cuve if the other natural Boulardian yeasts have difficulties starting their own spontaneous fermentations.

1st Report from Clai Bijele Zemlje.

by Georgio Clai, September 24th, 2013

Until now we have harvested only a little pinot and sauvignon. I think
tomorrow we will start with Sveti Jakov and I will send you some
pictures. This year is very particular, a lot of rain and cold in the
spring then a bout of heat and drought. My grapes are beautiful and
healthy, so I think with a little patience and good weather, we can have
a lovely harvest. I'll try to make a great wine (as I always do), so we
cross our fingers and hope for the best. It could be a really great year
for the red (at least I want to try).
I'll let you know.

1st Report from Massa Vecchia.

by Francesca Sfrondrini, September 20th, 2013

We've just started here: finally a year with weather like it use to be, without a rushed harvest and without it being very hot.

For now the Aleatico is hung to dry in the sun for the Passito wine and Querciola is just put in vat where it will ferment. The bulk of the work starts next week when we will pick the most of the rest of the grapes that are still on the vine

more later...

1st Report from Odilio Antoniotti.

September 25th, 2013

At the moment we are bottling the Bramaterra 2010, next week we will
begin to prepare the vats for the harvest that should occur the 7/8th of

The vespolina, croatina and uva rara are a little ahead of the Nebbiolo
that needs at least another week of maturation (historically, it's the
last to ripen). From the analysis of acid and sugar level, one would
expect an optimal vintage. In the last months we have had an ideal
climate for the ripening, very hot days and cold at night (around 50 F).

During the harvest we will send some photos.

PS. This year we replanted 1.3 HA of vineyard of which .9 HA are
designated for Bramaterra and the other .4 HA are for Coste della Sesia

Things are Looking Good at La Biancara!

by Francesco Maule, September 23rd, 2013

The spring was rainy and difficult because of the resulting maladies. July and August were very hot and dry, but the rain at the end of August and the beginning of September saved the vines that were shutting down and helped the rest to find better balance.
Then, immediately following came the cool nights and hot days, with an optimal swing in temperatures that allowed for good, slow and gradual maturation. Ultimately, it is a year with usual harvest temperatures unlike the last 4 to 5 years which were always very early.

Today, in fact, we harvested the merlot in Gambellara and the tocai rosso (grenache) and merlot in Colli Beirici. We helped Daniele Portinari and another friend with the aromatic varieties (pinot bianco, pinot grigio, chardonnay and tocai friulano) which we will use in part for the Masieri. We have also already selected (the bunches) of garganega for drying to make the Recioto and have done two selections of trebbiano for the Masieri and the Sassaia.

Now we will wait a few days and then begin with the garganega: first the grapes for Masieri and Sassaia and finishing around mid-October with the best selections for the Pico. We will surely try to take some grapes for the Late Harvest (the Taibane)…

Here's some pics…

Bruno Duchêne: A Man of Few Words.

September 17th, 2013

We're almost done here. As usual, yields are very low this year. Here's some pictures.