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Catching up with Manuel Esteban from Bodegas Montebaco about the weather conditions and the imminent 2022 harvest..
“As we all know, summer has been really hot; I wouldn’t say there have been heat waves; it’s more like lots of heat, a few cool waves, and a lack of rain. If you walk through the vineyard, you see some areas affected by drought; above all, due to the grapes’ demands, you can see the leaves suffering, but in general, they have resisted quite well. It rained about 35 litres in August during two periods of rain, and that has really helped to finish the cycle. Practically nothing, and another litre again today. If it rains a little more and the last ten days are slow ripening, we could have really good quality. Quantity? There is going to be less. The grapes are generally smaller, although not exaggeratedly so. So, somewhere between 10 and 20% less than a normal year. Up until now, they have survived really well. With the drought we suffered, we don’t see leaves, well, maybe some of the leaves, though there are still ten days till the harvest. A little bit at the top of the hill.
There are clear vintage differences. In years like this one, we try to help the vines. When it has been drier, we keep more leaves; reduce production, and try to keep a better balance. But even so, you can tell when it’s been a hotter year. You’ll be able to tell in the wines. As I was saying, you can see the size of the grapes, which are a bit smaller than in a normal year – and here you can see the work to reduce yield. At least the grapes are incredibly healthy. I think it will be another ten days, more or less, before we begin. Let’s hope that everything goes well.
Here we get up to 900 metres. We are where we are, which has its advantages, which have been plenty recently, but also the downside in hot years like this one, the cool soils help to get a slow, balanced ripening. But in cooler years, it’s harder to get proper ripeness. But in the last few years, the altitude and some north-facing plots seem to be more favourable.” Robert Hunter interviewing Manuel Esteban, 14th September 2022