Autumn grape harvest with Maison Mirabeau
Hot and dry. It’s the dream summer weather for many of us. However, for winemakers in the northern hemisphere, it may mean a change in the autumn grape harvest schedule. While a summer with little rain may have helped keep the mildew and pests at bay, the warm weather also results in grapes ripening quicker than usual.
To get to the bottom of what this year’s grape harvest truly looked like, we spoke with Jeany Cronk, co-founder of Maison Mirabeau. With Domaine Mirabeau boasting 14 hectares of AOP Côtes de Provence vines just 5km from the historic La Garde-Freinet, Jeany reveals the surprises of this year’s harvest and the impact of a hot summer.
Maison Mirabeau co-founder, Jeany Cronk with her Copper satin eto at Domaine Mirabeau
Due to the hot summer, there was talk that harvest would need to be earlier. Have you now finished the harvest at Domaine Mirabeau? How did it go?
Thank you, phew, we are almost done! In the end, the harvest was not as early as we initially thought. We got a bit of rain right at the end of August that slowed everything down a little and gave us some extra juice in the grapes. Good news for rosé in a dry year!
Can you tell us about the process of harvesting at Domaine Mirabeau? How long does it take?
We harvest mostly in conjunction with our neighbour who helps us with some aspects of the farming. But we do hand harvest certain parts of the vineyard, where we have young vines or grafts. And then the whole Mirabeau team lends a hand in the very early hours of the morning, we play music and we enjoy getting out there with headlamps and seeing up close what an amazing job our vines have done. As there are several grape varieties, the harvest will take about two weeks in total, but we don’t harvest every day.
Is there a certain order in which you pick the grape varieties?
Yes – Grenache first, then Vermentino (Rolle) and the Cinsault last.
Jeany at Domaine Mirabeau
Are you pleased with the harvest?
We are very pleased. It was not evident what this year would bring and how the vines would cope with having less than 50% of the water we normally expect for the region. Also, we had a terrible fire on the property last year and again we weren’t sure whether there would be any lasting damage to vines. Incredibly they were in great condition this year, despite it all.
What’s your initial outlook on the harvest? Are there any key qualities of the grapes?
It looks like we will have a decent amount, it was a very healthy year for the vineyard at large, no noticeable disease and on our site we didn’t suffer from real hydric stress, though not everyone did as well under the circumstances. We are working with some specialised yeasts on some of our bins to up the acidity levels as this is always the key factor when you have a very hot year.
So you didn’t experience too much disruption to the normal harvest timings in the end? When will we be able to start enjoying this year’s harvest?
No not really- this is actually a pretty standard year in terms of timing. We expect the wines to come out early 2023, though La Réserve, which is part matured in oak will come out a bit later at the end of April.
Do you have any recommendations for a food and rosé pairing to be enjoyed in September? Was there a pairing you enjoyed during harvest?
We did have a lovely harvest lunch of vegetable salads and some grilled tagliata steaks, the rosés did taste delicious with a black rice and mango salad with a little jalapeno kick and a potato, radish and caper salad with a tarragon dressing. The wines also do really well with a steak, which you have to try to believe…
The Copper satin eto next to a Mirabeau Pure Bramble Cobbler cocktail
We will have to give that a try. We really enjoyed your Rosé Margarita recipe this summer. Is there a rose cocktail that we can enjoy this autumn?
I would recommend you either try a Rosé Negroni using our Gin with a white vermouth and Campari or a pink gimlet which does use both our gin as well as our rosé wine and its trademark lime juice.
Founded in 2010, by Stephen and Jeany Cronk, the Maison Mirabeau story is one of following a dream and an expression of their passion for Provence. Renowned for quality, the multi-award-winning wines and gin are now enjoyed across some of the world’s best venues, as well as being a favourite for at-home entertaining.
The full Mirabeau rosé collection can be decanted into eto. View our User Guide to discover how to decant, pour and serve using eto.