On Friday we proudly bottled off our 2013 Cabernet Franc.
We can hear you saying the words: “OK David, I hear you, well done. But that’s what a winery does, move on please, just keep doing what you do well!” Umm, maybe! 2013 was a very very different vintage and so much more than “just another vintage” at Paradise Rescued. For the Cardan operations team, it was almost a coming of age, the achievement of something thought impossible by the wider community, the realisation that “yes we can do this” and possibly even more!.
Bordeaux 2013 has now become infamous, the very quickly forgotten vintage. The weather conditions were the worst seen for more than two decades and most producers were happy to talk up 2014 before 2013 had even left the vats! Despite a cold wet spring, a heat wave in early July and torrential rain in late September / early October, the Paradise Rescued team learnt the combined value of resilience, persistence and excellent disciplined organic viticultural technique.
I recall arriving into Cardan, Bordeaux on the first Thursday evening in October. The evening was warm, humid and pleasant before it erupted into a torrential downpour that flooded the vineyard with 40mm of rain in ninety minutes. The vintage looked lost. The full operations team was on site at 9am the following morning to assess the damage. What a mess! Within an hour, the decision had been made to bring forward the harvest date by a week, equipment and personnel rescheduled and a revised logistics plan put in place. And so it happened.
Lots of water at harvest time means one thing: grey rot! As the harvest team set to work, the going was tough. Every hand cut bunch required individual attention to remove poor quality fruit. Every ‘cagette’ basket of Cabernet Franc grapes then passed across the manual ‘triage’ selection table before de-stemming, crushing and loading into the vat. The level of effort was incredible.
15 months on, following a successful fermentation, racking and maturation in oak barrels, the results are clear. I was afraid to write about what I tasted on two different occasions earlier this year and the excited reactions from our visiting customers because what we tasting in our glasses did not align with the horror story of the growing season.
As we bottle off the wine and re-taste again to make sure we weren’t simply dreaming, it’s pretty much time to “take the lid off” and state: Paradise Rescued 2013 Cabernet Franc is a very very good wine! And a amazing credit to Pascale and Albane, leading our Operations Team, who fought the elements all the way and succeeded so brilliantly.
We haven’t yet done a vertical tasting across all our vintages to effectively rank one against the other, but I can’t wait to write that blog sometime. And do the tasting! With the 2010 – our first vintage – currently tasting so delicious, it seems hard to believe that we could go up a notch. Time will confirm, but all the signs are very positive.
Paradise Rescued 2013 Cabernet Franc – tasted, bottled and now in (high security) store! Nice result team – congratulations.