2016 is eventually quite a successful vintage in Provence despite a warm and dry summer. Nevertheless large disparities remain between the areas for this delicate year.
Winter 2015-2016 was pleasant, Provence vines did not suffer from too cold temperatures or heavy rains.
In contrast, the end of spring was cooler than previous years and blossoming was delayed.
The Mistral blew all the year protecting the grapevines against diseases and rotten parts. For harvest, sanitary conditions of the grapes were outstanding and needed very little sorting.
The summer was warm and very dry without a single raindrop between early July and mid-September in some areas. We expected a modest harvest with little berries, high sugar level and low acidity. This was confirmed with the first fruit samplings.
Finally, the harvest started around August 25 with a nice surprise: quality was there with average up to good yields. Grenache grapes were especially juicy and beautiful. Other unexpected good point was a nice level of titrable acidity.
However, disparity and variations between the areas are wilder this year. Some vineyards have over-rich grapes for the production of Rosé and others show well-balanced juices in colder or late ripening areas. Vintage 2015 and 2016 definitively put a stress on water resource and the question of irrigation will be a key success for the production of Rosés and White in the future.
The harvest lasted till early October in Bandol, showers in mid-September broke the dry spell and were much favourable to those who waited.
Overall, vintage2016 reinforces disparities between best areas and best winegrowers with the others who didn’t know how to innovate. Vintage 2016 has a finer and may be more elegant balance than 2015 and often lower alcohol levels. Rosé wines are pale, fruity and round, soft and well balanced. White are sharp with a nice freshness and red are very promising.