After a normal winter, the spring and summer were exceptional. Temperatures from March to August were above seasonal average with five of these months having a below average rainfall.2015 is the year of the World Heritage designation by UNESCO and a year which had a beautiful summer. With 315 hours of sunshine, July was a record month!
A year in the vineyard
The vineyards remained in perfect condition throughout the growing season. There wasn't much rain but when it rained, this was at important stages of the physiological development of the vine. Budbreak was very fast, flowering was even faster. After flowering, the rain that fell in the middle of June was ideal to nourish the bunches of grapes with water reserves. In July, the driest month, the vines suffered a little and growth momentarily stopped. In the dry and stony soils, the deeper roots of the vines allowed them to find some humidity in the clay. In August, summer became more "Burgundian" with the usual alternation of beautiful sunny periods of several days and light showers.
Work continued in the vineyards with careful attention to weeding between the rows, so that the grass would not compete with the vines for water.
Although the grape bunches were in perfect condition, we could see that the vineyards had not recovered from the difficult conditions experienced in previous vintages as there were fewer grapes per vines.
Ripening and harvest
The grapes made the most of August rain, well-worked soils letting the rain water to drain down. "Veraison" took only a few days, the pinots were very colorful, with no sign of over-ripening.
Final yields were very moderate due to a combination of a dry summer and low cluster count. This was also very important to the overall quality of the vintage and the intensity of the wines.
Maturity of the chardonnay grapes was also ideal and exceptional: we have to go back to 2005, 1999, 1990, 1976, 1959, 1947 and 1934 to find comparable ripeness. Harvest started in the vineyards of Corton-Charlemagne. This only happens in years when maturity is high in order to preserve maximum freshness.
With no rain at all during harvest, conditions were perfect. The pinots were easily and quickly picked. There was no sorting; the quality of the fruit was exceptional throughout the domain (Corton, Côte de Beaune, Côte de Nuits...).
From pre-fermenting maceration, juices were real fruit delights. The fermentations were vigorous. The temperatures were well controlled to allow for a steady rise in temperature. The wines became quickly colorful with silky tannins right up to going into barrel. Once in barrel, which included a large proportion of new oak, the red wines have gradually combined their tannins with those of the wood, making them become firmer, moving into November, they are now closing up. How long will it be before they are at their peak? In 20, 30, 40 years? Beautiful tastings in perspective...
By Boris Champy, Louis Latour Domaine Director