2016 was an atypical, but ultimately superb quality, vintage & growing season.
A rain-soaked winter gave way to a cool but dry late spring. Late frosts were a menace that we managed to dodge. Many producers were forced to race around their vineyards at night lighting bougies & using tractor hauled hot air machines to protect their vines. Fruit set was mixed, due to wet weather, particularly challenging in the Pinot Noir, but much more even in the Chardonnay & the Pinot Gris. Then the warm & sunny weather came, which was a mercy. It was a glorious summer.
Vineyards across the South were then wrong-footed by a particularly persistent outbreak of Downey mildew. The further west you went, the worst it seems to have been. We managed to successfully hold it in check.
Véraison came about 7-10 days early, but we stuck with our plans for a mid-October harvest. Nevertheless, sugars rose very fast as September gave way to October & we decided to bring things forward by a week. The birds were showing way too much interest in our Pinot Noir & Pinot Gris & we wanted to preserve the acids. The Starlings & hedgerow birds were extracting a greater tribute than they normally do, although the Hawk kites that we deploy annually & the ever-present Buzzards kept them on edge.
We had great picking weather & some lovely fruit. Yields were substantially below average, but the fruit flavours, sugars & acids were really quite super. They will make some exceptionally good fizz, albeit in relatively modest quantities.