Enjoy below a great post by our good partner, Manousakis Winery about the harvest report of 2106.
The past few vintages in Crete are characterized by dramatic weather inconsistencies, having us constantly face new and intriguing challenges. After a wet and cold 2015, we experienced a very dry 2016. Winter brought us some feeble rainfalls, which ended after March. This resulted in one of the driest years of the past decade. Although this may sound a bit dreary, this"drought" actually gave us an easy year with no disease usually caused by humidity! With the help of our brand new tractor, we were able to carry out vital viticultural practices efficiently, leading us to produce some of the best quality grapes we've had since our very first vintage back in 1997. Our non irrigated vineyards, having established their roots deep in the soil, managed to get through this dry time, not only untouched, but with increased yields! Our newly planted Vidiano and Roussanne vineyards were the only ones that struggled with some water stress, making us have to monitor leaf area and beware of weed overgrowth.
In the begging of July we had the first signs of veraison. Vidiano, Syrah and Grenache were the first grapes, soon after came the Roussanne and last but not least, our Mourvèdre. All the vineyards planted at 300m altitude showed that their maturation was 15 days ahead compared to those at 600m. Apart form the fact that we did not face any major heat waves, all indicated an early harvest. However, the great variation in temperature between night and day (even from 18°C at dawn, to 32°C at midday) during the maturation period, prolonged the hanging time and lead us to harvest at the normal dates for our vineyards (July 27 until September 15). Every year our Roussanne is the first grape to be harvested; so before the end of July, the first barrels were full of our most sought after wine. In the beginning of August, we had to deal with the major challenge of this vintage which was that all Vidiano, Grenache, and the higher altitude Roussanne grapes came to maturation almost at the same time! We made it through and couldn't be happier with the results. Those initial signs from our vineyards confirmed our assumptions for higher yields, so expect to be drinking plenty of Nostos next year!
The Cretan sun is always on our side and helped the vines produce an adequate amount of sugars. This paired with the slightly lower acidity of the grape must, gave us our strong 2016 character. As harvest progressed, the really mild August resulted in a prolonged hanging time for Syrah and therefore was very rich in phenolic compounds.
Mourvèdre is known for its late maturity and, as we expected, was the last grape variety to be harvested from our 300m altitude vineyards. Syrah grapes from our higher vineyards followed the same maturation path as the ones at 300m. Constant sampling- every two days- was absolutely necessary in order to reach the desired maturation point and complete harvest in the middle of September.
Currently, our local Romeiko grapes are being sun-dried for our experimental sweet wine and now we can sit back and relax... at least for a bit!
So, are you ready for a wine tasting?