Helene Mingot Discusses the Harvest
This year, the picking season got off to a late start. Helene Mingot and Stephane Derenoncourt expect to be very busy right through Christmas. Prior to the start of harvest, the winemaking team had been directing their efforts towards selecting grapes from winegrowers, visiting vineyards and wineries, and choosing grapes and blocks with good terroir, soil, climate and exposition. 'We look for professional winegrowers with knowledge of controlling yields and canopy growth' she states. 'Last week we checked on the maturity of the grapes we selected over the summer. The grapes looked gorgeous, perfect. Stephane was very excited about the harvest.'
Although harvest time ran late this year, certain white varietals were able to be harvested in early September. The Pinot Noir harvest began just a week or two ago; as for the remaining red varietals, such as Merlot and Syrah, harvest only recently got underway. Winemakers seem to be very pleased with the outcome of the grapes so far. Helene explained (at the start of harvest) that 'the weather in Napa has been fantastic for harvest, with good temperature differentiation between altitudes (slopes and valleys) which is great for color.'
So what effect did the sweltering summer heat and record breaking temperatures have on the grapes? In Helen's view, the heat had little effect on the grapes. She pointed out that in parts of Europe, that type of extreme heat may indeed cause damage, but due to the efficiency of Napa Valley's irrigation systems, there is virtually no effect. Canopy management also assists in protecting the grapes.
Helene is eager to begin the winemaking process and is truly enjoying Napa Valley. 'There are beautiful regions here. The light is very special in California, and I especially love it in Lake County.'