Winter (June / July / August 2014)
The winter of 2014 was moderate in terms of rainfall, which was below the 10-year average. As a reference, precipitation for these three months was 177.6 mm as opposed to the 10-year average of 220 mm.
In terms of average temperature, winter of 2014 was normal with daily averages of 9º–10ºC.
Spring budbreak takes place at our Leyda property in August, and the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varieties had already entered this phonological stage by the 11th of the month, which is among the earliest recorded for this property. Figure 2 summarizes the average dates for budbreak for our most important varieties.
Episodes of frost in September only slightly affected the production of some blocks and edges of blocks in the coldest sector of the property near ravines or pockets of cold air in the easternmost sector. The area affected was not of particular importance for overall production.
Spring (September / October / November 2014)
Spring began with considerable rainfall and nearly three times the 10-year average fell in September (Figure 1). The average for the past 10 years is 18.8 mm. Some additional rain fell during flowering in October and November, which forced us to pay very close attention to the health conditions in the vineyards to be able to combat any outbreak of fungal diseases.
Summer (December 2014 / January 2015 / February 2015)
The 2014–2015 summer season was quite cold in the beginning, especially in December and January. In addition to temperatures that were a little lower than average, the days were very cloudy, there was considerable moisture in the air, and the mornings in February were affected by a very dense coastal vaguada or trough. During this period we were busy bottling wines from previous vintages to be sure to have enough space to vinify all of the lots of wine. In terms of the evolution of the phenological stages, at this point we could observe that the onset of veraison was 7–10 days earlier with respect to the previous season, with the exception of Syrah, which was a couple of days late.
Autumn / Harvest (March / April / May 2015)
Late summer and early autumn were marked by unusually high temperatures in March and especially April, with nearly 2ºC above the maximum averages for the month. The period was also accompanied by little to no clouds, which accelerated the final ripening stage and quickly raised the accumulated sugar levels in the different varieties. Fortunately, the low temperatures during early part of the ripening season allowed us to have a high reserve of acidity in the grapes and we only needed to wait for ripening.
This year we machine harvested some of the fruit for our Boya line, and blind tastings have shown good results. Considering that it was very difficult to depend on enough workers to pick the grapes this year and the unusually fast rate of maturation, mechanical harvesting was an advantage for continuing to improve the quality of our wines.
The medium-term objective is to be able to incorporate more hectares in this system because the proximity of the vineyards to the cellar and our technology for receiving the grapes allows us to have very good qualitative results.
This harvest consisted of 350,000 kg and finished on April 23 with the final lot of Syrah to enter the cellar, making it our earliest to date.
The 2015 harvest was quite good in terms of quality because the ripening conditions and the health of the vineyards were good in general. What did strike us, however, was how fast the grapes ripened at the end of the season; this is quite unusual in the Leyda Valley. We believe that this is a situation that pertains specifically to this vintage, but we are aware that episodes such as this may occur with greater frequency in the future due to global warming. It is important to pay close attention to the evolution of the ripening process and to be prepared to harvest a little early because freshness and acidity are important parameters in our wines.
In enological terms, this year we incorporated new elements that lend complexity to our wines. During harvest we conducted some test vinifications with native yeasts in the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, and obtained some lots with very interesting profiles that are quite different from the rest. There is a higher degree of uncertainty with this technique, but one that we will certainly use in the future. We also did small-scale test vinifications to observe the characteristics of specific sectors of the vineyards. Among the most encouraging results were the Grenache and Cabernet Franc from our most recent plantations on the hill behind the winery.
Continuing with the line we have developed, we added 10 new large barrels (two at 500 L and eight at 660 L) because the results obtained with the 2014 wines showed us that this is a very good option for aging wine, especially for Pinot Noir and Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc, which integrates the oak very subtly.
Overall, the wines from the 2015 vintage present the following characteristics by variety:
There’s a fruit component that is very present here with tropical notes of passion fruit complemented by a light herbal touch typical of the variety. These are fresh wines with well-balanced medium acidity and that have the saline characteristic that distinguishes the wines from Garcés Silva.
The results obtained with this variety were auspicious indeed. They show considerable typicity with notes of ripe pineapple and good balance between volume on the palate and acidity. Just 12% of the total volume vinified this year was aged in oak.
These wines have shown a lot of red fruit character from the beginning and are accompanied by subtle notes of spice and gunpowder. The palates have medium concentration combined with good structure and a degree of acidity that lends them a lingering finish. We expect this vintage to evolve very well over time.
There is a continuity of style that shows black fruit, a touch of spice, and floral notes recalling violets. Some lots present meatier notes and they have good complexity. There is considerable concentration on the palate with tannins and plenty of flavor.