Cécile Dusserre on the 2012 Vintage at Domaine de Montvac
Cécile Dusserre by Sylvie Fraissard
“2012 was an exceptional year with respect to both the weather during the growing season and the resulting quality of the wines,” writes Cécile Dusserre of Domaine de Montvac. Committed to the purity of her wines and to the preservation of the environment, Cecile practices organic agriculture without certification, banning the use herbicides or pesticides in the vineyard. “The notion of the terroir translates,” says Cécile. “The vineyard has roots which can go back to 50 or 60 inches below to get all the potential of the soil.”
As a producer of natural wines, Cécile operates and maintains this family run winery, whose holdings include a total of 22ha with 3ha in Gigondas, 2ha in Cotes du Rhone, and 17ha in Vacqueyras. Employing elegance and balance with minimal interventions in both the winery and the vineyard, in 1992, Céclie began training with her father at the Domaine, which was founded in 1860 and has been passed down from mother to daughter for the past three generations.
In Vacqueyras, Cécile maintains low yields to provide maximum concentration, and this most recent vintage is no exception. Subject to the Mistral winds, which cool the Rhone Valley by a few degrees for a third of the year, Cécile’s plot of vines is lined with pine trees that help protect vines from Mistral gusts. And while these cooler temps help keep the vines free of humidity, and thereby free of disease, they also help concentrate the grapes.
Photographs by Sylvie Fraissard
Expounding further on the 2012 Vintage, Cécile writes, “The 2011/2012 winter was long and abnormally cold which had an impact on the old vine Grenache. Spring brought above average rain and strong Mistral winds during bud-break and flowering. This resulted in reduced yields of Grenache due to its sensibility to ‘shatter’ causing poor fruit set. In contrast to winter and spring however, summer 2012 brought the same beautiful, warm and dry conditions that we enjoyed in 2009 through 2011. Ripening was extremely even and the harvest was impeccably sanitary. My multiple passes through the vineyards confirmed for me that 2012 will be a great vintage but with very small quantities.”
Reflecting back on the harvest, Cécile added: “Harvest began for us on September 12th with the Roussanne, Clairette, Bourboulenc and Viognier for the Vacqueyras Blanc. Next came the Syrah and Grenache from Vacqueyras and Gigondas. The initial hours of cuvaison, when the grapes are macerating in the tanks, provided our first impressions with very strong color as well as refined, delicate aromas. Lots of remontage was performed during fermentation by pump over this year, as it was essential to obtain complexity and a balanced combination of concentration with freshness and elegance. After between 25 and 30 days, the wines were racked into the awaiting cement cuves below and malolactic fermentation was quick to start this year. The wines will now spend the cold winter months in quiet tranquility.”