Harvest journal: chapter II

vendimia cavas naveran

The harvest is over! And as we promised, here comes the second installment of the harvest diary. A compilation of everything that has happened during these two intense months. There have been moments of everything … The expectations regarding quality were good, but we needed it to rain, and the rain did not come.

We can say that this vintage has gone on a crescendo. The first varieties we harvested suffered from drought, but luckily we had a very healthy harvest. Finally, the expected rain came in September and the varieties received it very well. We tell you with all kinds of details in this 2021 vintage assessment post

Pinot noir and chardonnay, little production but of good quality

As you already know, in Naveran we start the harvest every year with pinot noir. It is the earliest variety. Pinot noir often has our souls in suspense: it is a variety of colder climates and it is very important to choose the optimal moment to harvest it well (in its final phase of the cycle, it matures very quickly in a matter of days). This year we started on August 11 without it having rained all summer and with all the heat wave! Luckily, we had some days where the high temperatures gave a respite and this made our work easier.

The following week, it was the turn of the chardonnay. It is a more adaptive variety and its organoleptic properties can vary depending on the soil and climate. This year, a production of moderate degree and good acidity.

But … did this first harvest meet our expectations? We explain it to you below.

As for pinot noir and chardonnay, we expected the harvest this year to be higher than last year, where these varieties were affected by mildew. Let us remember that last year we had a very rainy spring and that caused us to suffer from this plague, which affected grape production.

Finally, what has ended up happening has not been exactly like this: the consequences of the drought have been more important than we thought. In winter it did not rain enough. Therefore, the harvest of these two varieties has been short, that is, small grapes with little juice. However, the harvested grapes are very healthy, and therefore, despite being a somewhat fair harvest, it is of good quality.

At Cavas Naveran we make our wines and cavas with our own grapes and we do not produce on a large scale. Instead, we look for original, unique products, with terroir, and of unbeatable quality. That is why this vintage will go very well for us to make the new vintages.

Macabeu and viognier: they did not arrive in time to benefit from the rains

First we will talk about the macabeu, which is one of the indigenous varieties of the Penedès. We started harvesting it during the last week of August. At that time, it still hadn’t rained all summer. Therefore, the macabeu grape did not benefit from the late summer rain. And as a consequence, something similar has happened as with the previous varieties: the grape was small due to the drought, but of very good quality.

Of course, compared to last year, we did notice a more significant increase in terms of quantity. An increase compared to last year greater than in the previous varieties (pinot noir and chardonnay). Why this difference in production? Because although the grape is resistant to inclement weather (although not immune), it is very sensitive to pests. And that is precisely why last year the macabeu crop was terribly affected by the mildew plague and production was very low.

We can say more or less the same of the viognier variety. The optimum point of ripeness for the Viognier grape arrived before September and we set off to harvest our hectare of Viognier from the Cal Claret vineyard. For the same reasons that we have been telling you, the production has been short.

Our viognier production is destined for Clos Antonia wine, a fermented wine aged in barrels. The quality of this vintage is very good, therefore, we are sure that Clos Antonia 2021 will be a very fresh, unctuous and balanced wine.

Xarel·lo and parellada: grapes that were nice to see, thanks to the late summer rain.

Xarel·lo is a variety deeply rooted in the Penedès and it is the most famous! On the other hand, the parellada is also a very traditional variety in our lands. Therefore, the expectations we place on the harvest are always very high! Luckily, a change in the weather helped us: at the beginning of September it rained. Finally! They were long-awaited rains and, indeed, they were very beneficial for the varieties that remained to be harvested. And that significantly changed the course of the vintage.

In fact, aware of the importance of the rains, we decided to wait a few days for the grapes to absorb this water. And it was a great a certain! Thanks to this, the xarel lo and parellada harvest was unbeatable. The grape of these varieties was well swollen when we harvested it! What a pleasure to see the juice that the grapes produced … It was a great joy. Therefore, we can say that it has been a very good harvest of Xarel·lo and Parellada.

We are very happy with the syrah

At Naveran we manually harvest the Syrah grape! Harvesting with boxes is very painstaking and time-consuming work, but it’s worth it. We do it for the maceration: we put the whole grape, without skidding, in a horizontal vat and there we cause a carbonic maceration for three weeks. Then we take it out to finish fermenting and then it spends the whole winter in stainless steel.

But let’s go back to the harvest … As you may be imagining, thanks to the rain, it has been a good harvest! Much better than last year, both in quality and quantity.

Cabernet sauvignon: the most benefited by the rain

You can’t imagine what we owe to the rain! Sometimes we don’t realize it until we go through periods of drought. It is important to rethink our relationship with the earth, but we will talk about it later. We continue with the harvest!

Cabernet Sauvignon is also a very resistant variety, adapting to dry climates. Its sprouting tends to be late, therefore, it was the last variety we harvested. And as a consequence, Cabernet Sauvignon is the variety that has been able to collect the most rainwater! That is why we have a healthy and quality harvest, with juicy and large grapes.

And what is our general assessment of the 2021 vintage?

In summary, we can say that we distinguish two very different stages of this vintage. The first, during the month of August, with little rain and, therefore, with a short production (small grape with little juice). Of course, a healthy and good quality harvest. We are talking about the pinot noir, chardonnay, viognier and merlot varieties.

Then it rained! And here begins the second stage. The later varieties, those harvested during the month of September (Xarel·lo, Parellada, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon), have had more abundant harvests. In addition, this year we have not suffered any plague and the grape is healthy. Therefore, despite having suffered from the lack of rain, we had a fantastic harvest. We are very happy!

The harvest is over, now what?

Now the harvest already rests in the vats of the winery where vinification takes place, the process that turns the must into wine. The work does not stop and every decision we make during the cycle will be key for future wines and cavas!