Harvest 2021 - what can you expect from this vintage?
It’s impossible to talk about an Argentinian vintage and define the style as it’s a country which spans 2,360 miles from north to south and 880 miles across, giving rise to a range of latitudes and altitudes. We need to break it down into key regions to get a true picture of the harvest.
In Mendoza, frosts in spring and a cool rainy period in February meant many whites were ripening late, resulting in wines which are slightly lower in concentration and higher in acidity. This isn’t a bad thing, think about the Chardonnay grown in Chablis where fruit is gentle and acidity is high. Malbecs from the region are described as having slightly lower alcohol, tangy acidity, elegant fruit and excellent complexity.
The red and white harvest crossed over a little in parts of Mendoza, giving rise to labour shortages. Then you factor in Covid restrictions and you had winemakers tearing their hair out! It’s Argentina’s second harvest under Covid restrictions, but despite the labour shortages and a challenging growing period in Mendoza, winemakers are talking about an ‘extraordinary harvest’ with the overall quality of the grapes being very good.
San Juan, Argentina’s second largest wine-producing province, reported its best harvest in recent years, particularly in the Pedernal Valley. In the high altitude Calchaqui Valley in the far north of Argentina, the harvest was fairly typical for the region with average rainfall in Cafayate and a warm summer that brought the harvest forward a few days.
In Argentina’s most southerly wine producing region of Patagonia, unusual snowfall early on was concerning, but this was followed by a dry, warm and windy summer. Winemakers here talk about a healthy harvest with low yields, freshness and complexity.
Although we sell a range of wines from across Argentina, many of our wines are from Mendoza, so the key thing to remember is that the 2021 harvest was a little cooler than average - slightly more restrained, delicately perfumed wines which are generally higher in acidity and a touch lower in alcohol. We’re expecting our first 2021 wines to land later this year, so we’ll let you know what we think as soon as we can get our hands on a bottle!