The 2021 grape harvest was close to perfection. Mythical vintages are those in which the cycle is so long that they are on the verge of disaster. It seems that they are not going to reach that ideal point of maturity but, day by day, they advance little by little, slowly and in the end, as in the denouement of an exciting film, they manage to reach that point of harmony and balance that nature rarely gives us.
Beginning of the year in the vineyard.
The year started off well as ‘a year os now, a year of plenty‘, as the saying goes. This meant that the soil reserves were gradually replenished, steadily over several days.
The spring was dry and cool, but thanks to the snow reserves, the vines started up but somewhat late, with the strength to form good-sized shoots and keep fungal diseases at low levels. A cool May, with some frost, lowered yields in some areas, such as Fuentenebro and some other valleys.
Months before harvesting
The summer was generally cool, except for two weeks of intense heat in mid-August. Episodes of water stress in the vineyard were practically non-existent, which was already a good indicator of being able to keep the acidity at good levels for ageing wines in an ideal way.
The vine shoots were very well budded (change of colour from green to brown as the vines turn into wood), perhaps a little late due to a summer that was not very intense.
September began with a certain delay in the end of veraison, which caused us a lot of tension and doubts about how to make the wines if we did not reach the desired levels of maturity. The rain came before the start of the harvest, which had a very positive effect on the final part of the ripening process.
The vineyard regained freshness, reactivated and made progress, especially in terms of polyphenol maturity. The second part of September was also marked by cold nights and moderately warm days, which meant that the musts were not too high in alcohol and had good acidity and ripe tannins.
Harvest time in Ribera del Duero
The harvest is based on studying and analysing each vineyard to choose the ideal moment when the fruit offers its full potential in terms of aromas and flavour. Due to the spectacular mosaic of small plots we work with, some 90 of them spread over 15 different villages, you can get an idea of the intensity of the moment. The harvest is really a time of maximum tension but of great professional enjoyment.
At Bodegas Resalte, after countless analyses of the grape must and berry skins, as well as a lot of walking around the vineyards, we decided to start harvesting the grapes on 26 September. But only, selecting some plots of vineyards with very little load and gradually moving on to the rest of the almost 90 plots we have this year.
In general, the 2021 vintage has been very healthy, with excellent acidity and polyphenolic quality. October, which has been the month with the most days of harvesting, has had mild days and very cold nights, ideal for finishing off a ripeness that we have not enjoyed for years.
The grapes harvested in boxes are cooled in cold storage chambers and then sorted and processed cold, so that the grapes suffer less and the primary aromas are preserved.
After vatting we were able to verify the high quality of the vintage, with very coloured, with fragrant aromas. This has allowed us to make wines with less maceration time, preserving the acidity and obtaining wines with great volume, a lot of structure but fresh, with great length.
A vintage that promises great wines, like the ones we made in 2010, 2011 and 2015, when international critics ranked us as one of the best wines in the world.
Technical director at Bodegas Resalte.