Vintae News: Harvest 2019 Report
“Nature and the countryside are always a true reflection of hatvest quality”
This fall has been the most beautiful over the last decade and the beauty from the landscape can also be found in the wines. It has been a vintage which has panned out intensely in the field, a year full of mixed emotions. Expectations were high, we all wanted them to come to fruition with a premium quality harvest, as we had been led to expect given the excellent conditions that had occurred until the end of the summer.
However, September brought a cold snap, the threat of botrytis, and with it the unpromising omens for many winemakers. But just as they arrived, we were able to bid them farewell thanks to the northwest wind, the sun, the cool nights and the dry weather, which transformed all those fears into a calm, leisurely and very qualitative harvest. The initial expectations of a quality vintage have not fallen short in the tastings, which are showing spectacular wines.
At Vintae we firmly believe in respectful viticulture and winemaking, and thanks to that philosophy we manage to express the full potential of each area where we elaborate wines. In the end, if there is something this crew can be proud of, it is that, despite the ups and downs of the vintages, the top-notch team we have in the field and in the cellar brings together the knowledge, experience and know-how that enables us to adapt to the peculiarities of each harvest and make the best of it.
CEO of Vintae
“2019 will be remembered as a vintage of quality, we have had an excellent grape in all areas”
RAÚL ACHA · WINEMAKER AND TECHNICAL DIRECTOR OF VINTAE
We are interviewing Raúl Acha, technical director of Vintae, the person who best knows each of the vineyards where we have cut clusters in recent years. From this vintage, Acha expects wines of great quality, as have been the grapes that have entered the winery, although “it will be a scarcer vintage than we would have liked.”
How would you evaluate the 2019 vintage?
Although it is still early (the interview was carried as the last grape was being brought into the cellar) the assessment is much more positive than it is negative. The quality, in general, will be very good, or excellent in nearly all areas. The quantity has been much scarcer than we would have liked, but it is also true that the most abundant harvests tend to be more problematic and of lower quality.
There are a few drawbacks, perhaps the most important is that we will have some wines with higher alcoholic contents than we are used to. There has also been a small amount of botrytis, especially in the week of September 16-21, when the days were almost tropical.
What was 2019 like climatologically and how has it affected the vineyard?
A rather dry agricultural year throughout the peninsula, although not in all areas. It was drier in general in both Castillas, Extremadura and part of Galicia, and not so dry in the Mediterranean and the Ebro Valley, where it was more normal. The lack of rain has caused a rather scarce harvest. The size of the clusters has been smaller and the fruit set was lower. This is due to the fact that last year the vines had an excessive load and years of overload usually provoke wines that are, let’s say, more tired, in successive harvests.
The fruit set, both in number of clusters and their size and number of berries per cluster has been lower than previous vintages. The size of the berry and its weight has also been less than other years, due to the lack of rain. While it is true that it rained little, it did so at key moments, which has helped make a very qualitative vintage. We have not suffered from excessive drought that can result in poor quality but rather, in terms of water stress, the vines have maintained a certain balance.
The lack of rain and the low humidity in spring and summer have caused a spectacular year in terms of health. Disease has been largely absent, with the vines arriving to harvest practically unaided, naturally, with hardly any treatments. In most areas of Spain the vineyard has been left untreated and the grapes have been healthy, something that happens very rarely.
How has the harvest developed?
2019 was between slightly early and normal. It was much earlier than last year and depending on the areas we are talking about, starting between 7 to 14 days beforehand.
But with respect to the average of recent years, it has been more or less a normal, a slightly early harvest. It is true that if we compare the dates with the records over the last 50 years it would be early, but with respect to recent years, only slightly so.
Can you give us any insight into the profile of Vintae wines in this vintage?
The wines will have a high quality profile, they are very healthy wines in the same way that the grape has been. There have been no problems with fermentations occurring spontaneously and very naturally. We have to be careful with some tanks, since some vineyards produced high alcoholic contents and it may take time for fermentation to finish. With high alcoholic content it is harder to finish the fermentation because there is a point when alcohol can kill yeasts.
In short, it will be a year with good quality, with a slightly higher than average alcohol content than we are accustomed to, although in Vintae we have tried to counteract it with a slightly earlier harvest. We always want our wines to be mature but at the same time maintain freshness, and in some cases we decided to harvest beforehand and avoid high alcohol content. Despite this, alcohol content will be slightly higher than previous years.