Description of the vintage
2007 is my 18th harvest, and I still cannot compare this vintage with a previous one! This vintage has a very interesting climatic profile, and has shaped some stunning and various styles of wines.
Bud break was extremely early starting the end of March in most areas. By middle of April, all the vineyards had small green leaves and were roughly 2-3 weeks ahead. April and May were very warm and dry, causing an exceptionally early flowering, similar to 2003. The flowering went quickly, producing large homogenous clusters. In June, July and especially August, warm periods alternated with cooler and more humid days. Mid July, the harvest was forecasted for the end of August, but, gradually, as grapes took more time to ripen under cooler August conditions, the beginning of the harvest was pushed back early September.
The constant humidity and important rainfalls created difficult working conditions in the vineyards throughout summer. It was a challenge to be able to use every dry period to spray the vines. The biodynamic preparations and plants decoctions helped us not to increase the quantity of spraying products and their frequency. Of course there was some mildew on the top young leaves, but nothing that would interfere with the quality. At the end of August, the weather turned much drier and warmer, allowing the grapes to reach good concentration and still keep a fierce acidity and excellent health condition.
We started harvesting on our estate very early on September 7th and the dry climate allowed us to spread the harvest until mid October, so we could profit from the potential of this extraordinary vintage. The noble rot started to spread over the grapes towards the end of September, especially on Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.
In 2007, the grapes were allowed a very long growing season without any heat or draught stress in summer, and enjoyed cool sunny days in September/October. How better can it be? The grapes stayed healthy, packed with high acidity levels, ripening slowly, developing complex aromatics. Yes, 2007 is a great vintage!
More than any other vintage, it was important to adapt to the specific climatic conditions. Vineyards were ploughed early, to avoid too much competition with the growing grass during the dry periods of April and May, but with the rainfalls becoming significantly more and more important, we allowed grass to grow in the vineyards, so we could enter in the vineyards in any weather. The previous years investments in smaller, lighter caterpillar tractors were very useful in 2007. They do not create compaction and we can enter vineyards even if the soils are very slippery and fragile. Disease control (especially mildew) was crucial. This fungus develops at night, with 100% humidity and above a certain temperature. All those conditions were met most days in summer 2007. Problems occurred when there was a break in the spraying cadence, due to the fact that sometimes it involved working week ends, early or late during the day and when sometimes heavier machines couldn’t enter the vineyards after heavy rains. In organic/biodynamic cultivation, we use Bordeaux mix highly diluted (Copper sulphate). As we do not want to spray too much copper, it is often mixed up with other plants decoctions or preparations in order to make the vines more resistant and able to defend itself alone. However, using only light dosage meant that we sometimes had to spray as often as every week!
The fact that the grapes remained healthy with great acidity allowed us to produce very dry wines in 2007, especially for the Riesling wines. Anything harvested around mid September usually turned out to ferment very dry or close to be very dry (under 5g/l RS). We had almost considered labelling some wines with an indice 0 (usually it goes from 1 to 5, 1 being the driest). The crop is slightly larger than usual, but due to the exceptional quality, we won’t complain. Our AOC Alsace wines averaged 47hl/ha, and our Grand Cru 31hl/ha.
2007 is yet another exciting vintage and one that proved that biodynamic farming makes sense!