July 20, 2017

Harvest 2017 News

We began Harvest 2017 on August 29 with the Chardonnay destined for the cuvée D en Bulles, our natural sparkling wine. We then started on the Chenin dry wines on September 11, a very pretty crop on the parcels which were not frosted with a beautiful maturity and beautiful balance.

As you may know, we will not have any Coteaux de l’Aubance this year. The parcels Pavillon and Grand Vau were vinified with the dry wines to compensate for the parcel Rogeries which was frosted at 90%. Savennières gave us 40% of the crop. Les Chateliers and le Champ de la Pierre are feeble in quantity (25 hl/ha) but of a superb quality. Les 4 Chemins had a normal yield (38 hl/ha) with a superb balance and L’Anjou-Villages Brissac yielded 33 hl/ha, a very beautiful wine with good structure and a beautiful freshness.

For your information, we have begun our first organic applications of the fall on all the vineyards.

Domaine Richou Team
Domaine Richou,, Anjou
October 18, 2017

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Harvest notes 2017:

The season started warm after another dry winter. Balmy April days encouraged the vines on to early and exuberant growth. This flourish was significantly undermined by a widespread frost at the end of the month (twice at Unang, a week apart) where temperatures dropped to -5°C. This episode hit – to varying degrees – all major wine regions in France, and in the Rhone valley Ventoux was worst affected, confirming our place as the coolest appellation in the southern Rhone. (The region was also caught by hail in May but not at Unang.)

Our strategy of pruning the whites in the valley (a frost pocket) late, in mid-April, saved them from the worst ravages but for the first time since we’ve been here our reds were hit, both in front of the cave and behind the chateau – undoing some of the previous two years work of installing the plantation there. The resulting burnt leaves and shoots made for depressing viewing during May on my otherwise manageable commute to the winery. Luckily, these parcels had enough vigour to bounce back and while not carrying much fruit the second bud burst at least will give us something to prune this winter.

While the frost made for long faces, we did have our plantation of Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault, coming on-line this year, as some parts were not frost-affected. The three previous years’ work (and the preceding two years of ground preparation) coming to something tangible.

A lack of rain during the growing season meant that disease pressure, of mildew in particular, was low, with fewer treatments required. A new tractor, with air-conditioning and air filtering system, brought us into the 21st Century. Another investment was an expansion of our electric fences which now surround all the 15 hectares of vines – which with our small parcels is a lot of wire. This ‘ring of steel’ kept most but not all of the beasts at bay, a hungry and thirsty 150kg+ beast can crash through most temporary fencing should it wish. We can only upgrade further next year and think how much more would have been consumed by the pigs had the fencing not been up.

With a pitiful summer rainfall (6mm in July and 2mm in August, which made the measly 2016 rainfall seem almost plentiful) the vines were clamouring for moisture as we geared up for harvest. This lack of rain meant some crazily early start dates near Nimes and the Languedoc, where Muscat harvest started on 24th July and many harvests were over before the end of August. In the Rhone, harvest activity started at the end of August but really got going in the first days of September. Unang, being higher up, meant we started later (on 11th September, while we usually start around the 20th). We finished on October 9th.

A combination of the dry weather, the frost, as well as shatter on the Grenache and light yields on the Syrah (perhaps due to last year’s dry weather – the vine sets itself in June 2016 for 2017 harvest) meant we hit record lows in terms of yields. Our Roussanne gave us a miserly 8 hectolitres from the hectare of vines, the Syrah was similarly at less than 50% of typical volumes, Grenache did better where not frosted. This was accompanied by much talk of the dry conditions being the ‘new normal’ and greater investment in irrigation systems in the region to compensate. Unang remains 100% ‘dry farmed’.

On the back of the dry year of 2016 (volume 25% down on 2015) it means our wine stocks are looking particularly meek, and the cellar noticeably empty. For 2017 we are around 40% down on 2015 despite a larger growing area due to the plantation. These are grim stats!

As the fermentations work through the last grammes of sugar, the wines already show great fruit intensity and slightly higher alcohol, balanced by our trademark acidity. The low yields and concentration have meant that over-extraction was a real fear in the winery, and the tanks have been worked with an even lighter touch this year to manage this.

In conclusion, 2017 was really not a straight-forward season. The cold weather in late April set back plant growth, even on those plants that were not frosted, and the extreme hot and dry summer conditions blocked (or slowed) the vines biological maturity even though they encouraged high sugar levels early in the small-sized grapes. It was vital to hold off picking and wait for the maturity to catch up with the sugars – without letting the grapes over-concentrate in the glorious October weather we have enjoyed. This late sunshine has been double-edged, as we usually rely on October and November to bring decent rainfall – usually they are the wettest months of the year. October has though proved entirely dry so we are hoping that November will deliver, kicking-off a wet winter to refill the aquifers and relieve nature’s thirst.

Outside of vines, 2017 saw Dominique ‘retire’ from full-time work at Unang. Many of you will have seen her at the cave and at markets over the past 14 years but Dominique also toiled in the fields and will be greatly missed having played a key part in resurrecting Unang. Happily she came back for the harvest and will again for certain other vineyard tasks.

James King
Château Unang, Ventoux
October 17, 2017

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The 2017 fermentations are not done yet. The vintage is very promising: balance and richness are much in evidence! The only drawback is the springtime frost which has limited the quantity.

Elise Villiers
Domaine Elise Villiers,, Vézelay
October 10, 2017

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I hope all is well with you. For us, harvest 2017 was magnificent, but this is not the case for most of my colleagues who are in villages a little further north. April’s frost really did a lot of damage there.

Didier Picq
Gilbert Picq et ses Fils, Chablis
October 6, 2017

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2017 is almost over: we still have some Gewurz out. Quality is really good: we picked in good conditions, grapes were ripe keeping good acidities. Let’s see how fermentations will follow!

Mélanie Pfister
Domaine Pfister, Alsace
October 5, 2017

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For us, nothing escaped from the rule of 50%, but we will make it work…

Jérôme Mathieu
Domaine de Saje, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
October 4, 2017

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While last year’s harvest started later than normal on September 7, due to a cool spring and later fruit set in the vineyards, Harvest 2017 started almost 2 weeks earlier on 21 September! 50% of normal rainfall (27 cm vs 55 cm / 10 inches vs 18 inches) and average temperatures higher throughout most of the summer (mid-July to mid-August averaged 38/40 C or 100/105 F daily) resulted in a surprisingly early harvest start, like in other Northern Hemisphere viticultural region. But then, what is “normal” these days with the world experiencing unprecedented weather extremes?!

Douro Valley has the good fortune to already be a hot climatic region, and the grape varieties are adapted to heat and drought. I am always impressed that our grapevines survive days of unrelenting heat, yet the main varieties grown at Quinta do Tedo, to include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Cão and Sousão thrive in heat and severe conditions, and the small yields result in Portos and Douro DOC red wines of exceptional complexity, concentration, structure and aging potential.

Kay Bouchard
Quinta do Tedo, Douro, Portugal
September 30, 2017

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Here the same thing as Jean-Hervé [Champagne Jacquesson], with frost and triage, a crop about 60% of the normal was harvested. But the balance of maturity and acidity and the first tastings lead us to expect a beautiful potential for this vintage.

Jean-Marc Sélèque
Champagne J-M Sélèque, Pierry
September 27, 2017

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For the harvest, it’s a bit like everywhere: half a crop and a beautiful quality harvested (begun on August 28 and finished on September 7). Vinification is going marvelously. A promising vintage.

Sébastien Branger
Domaine Claude Branger, Muscadet
September 25, 2017

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About to start picking the reds – but with frost, drought, and boar I’m not thinking we’ll have enough wine to go round.

James King
Château Unang, Ventoux
September 24, 2017

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We will attack the harvest tomorrow (Monday)!

Stéphanie Caslot
Domaine de la Chevalerie, Bourgueil, Loire Valley
September 24, 2017

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A complicated harvest in Champagne with hail in April and rain at a bad time in August and the beginning of September. Because of a big triage, we ended up fine in quality but clearly less in quantity, with a little more than half a harvest.

Jean-Hervé Chiquet
Champagne Jacquesson, Dizy
September 23, 2017

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With a beautiful crop and the harvest finished a week ago, we have moved on to vinification as well as a certified report on the loss of nearly half of our crop.

Carole Salen
Domaine Les Bastides, Provence
September 23, 2017

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About harvest… I would say that what we have in the barrels and tanks is looking great. But most of those vats are empty… I think we underestimated the loss with frost. I will give more details later. Now I need to clean my mind for a couple of days.

Jean-Marc Sélèque
Champagne J-M Sélèque, Pierry
September 15, 2017

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The harvest was of a beautiful quality and as large as that of 2009.

Jean Pierre Charlot
Domaine Joseph Voillot, Côte de Beaune
September 13, 2017

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The 2017 harvest is finished, unfortunately too quickly because we had a very small yield….but a very beautiful quality.

Michel Poudou
Domaine de Montahuc, Saint Jean de Minervois
September 12, 2017

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We have begun harvesting very early this year. We began to harvest the Muscat on August 18, the first time we have ever harvested so early. However, we had abundant rainfall this past winter and spring, which permitted us to replenish the hydric reserves which had gotten quite low.

The maturity [of the grapes] stagnated and then there was a strong growth spurt tied to the heat, the summer dryness, and the hot wind which caused us to have to begin the harvest. Everything is ripe, beautiful and in perfect sanitary health.

We were affected a little by frost and then the wild boars did some damage. This year we had hornets which attacked the grapes with appetite.

The cool nights guaranteed a beautiful acidity in the wines, even though in some parcels the Malic acid was burned by the sun.

It is in extreme climatic conditions such as these that we appreciate the rusticity of our traditional Occitane grapes like Carignan, Grenache or Picpoul Noir.

To conclude, a promising vintage in quality but not really in quantity.

Françoise Frissant Le Calvez
Château Coupe Roses, Minervois
September 7, 2017

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Here harvest approaches and we will begin next week, two weeks ahead of schedule. As is often the case in precocious years, this vintage looks to be one of the most promising. We were very lucky to have been spared by all the bad weather. We are keeping our fingers crossed because so long as the grapes have not been harvested we are still at the mercy of a bad storm.

Christine Dupuy
Domaine Labranche Laffont, Madiran
September 6, 2017

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We are harvesting under the sun what looks like an excellent quality of grapes but a small quantity. This is to be expected with so much warmth during the months of July and August.

Paul Jambon
Domaine du Pavillon des Chavannes, Beaujolais
September 6, 2017

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Harvest will begin on Thursday (I am still looking for harvesters!!). I did not water the vines this summer but the dry weather was not favorable: no water for nearly 6 months. The vines are really showing this deficit on certain parcels where there are hardly any grapes. If it is the same thing every year, I will have to water at least two times each summer. That will become obligatory or we will have too much loss.

Carole Salen
Domaine Les Bastides, Provence
September 5, 2017

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We have started to pick this morning and we have to do a lot of selection because of the botrytis. We need a few more days before having a clear idea of 2017 but it will certainly not be the vintage of the century.

We are at the eastern limit of the regions having got too much rain at the wrong time: east of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and Côte des Blancs are OK, west is so so. Single vineyards : Champ Caïn was destroyed by spring frost, Vauzelle Terme is very badly hit by rot, Terres Rouges and Corne Bautray are still showing a real potential. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Jean-Hervé Chiquet
Champagne Jacquesson, Dizy
September 4, 2017

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Harvest has started already! With the Pinot Noir and Auxerrois, for the Crémants. And we will continue tomorrow with Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. So far grapes are very nice: ripe, good level of acidity. And the weather should be on our side for the coming week again.

Mélanie Pfister
Domaine Pfister, Alsace
September 3, 2017

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Yesterday we brought in the white grapes–Roussanne and Rolle….50% less….but they are very good (happily!!!) Be careful with the Allégro in 2018 not to offer it to new clients in order to be able to furnish it to those who are already buying it.

Françoise Ollier
Domaine Ollier-Taillefer, Faugères, Languedoc
September 2, 2017

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The harvest will start on Saturday! Jean-Marc is now preparing …It is raining a lot and it is still very hot, so we are very worried about the rottenness…. We cross our fingers for stopping the rain! but it is nothing in comparison to Houston.

Oriane Sélèque
Champagne J-M Sélèque, Champagne
August 31, 2017

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While we await the 2017 vintage, what we have already harvested has all the elements to create a very beautiful wine.

Marie-Laure Serrigny
Domaine Serrigny, Savigny-les-Beaune
August 31, 2017

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We will begin the harvest on Monday, September 4th, but because of the drought and the shatter of the flowers for the Grenaches, this crop will be very small.

Anne-Marie Astart
Domaine les Hautes Cances, Cairanne.
August 31, 2017

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For the moment at least we are not complaining; in fact, we are rather optimistic, but nothing is definite yet….Here it is very hot, maybe too hot. But it is well-known that wine growers are never happy, especially because they are very demanding.

We expect to begin harvest the middle of next week. Pascal has gone to test the grapes this morning for ripeness. We are between 10 and 11°, which is rather satisfying. But as I always say, until everything is in the tanks, I prefer not to say anything. I will tell you a little more three weeks from now.

Didier Picq
Gilbert Picq et ses Fils, Chablis
August 28, 2017

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We will attack the harvest on Monday, August 28th. The whites are already very ripe, and I think that that will give a top quality but the yields will not be very high. The reds are superb with a good yield, I think.

I will keep you up to date with my impressions.

Marc and Alex Bachelet
Domaine Bachelet-Monnot, Puligny-Montrachet
August 25, 2017

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Here Sauvignon Blanc are almost ready, I suppose we will harvest them starting Monday, August 28th.

The pied de cuve is starting to ferment and yeasts are active, just ready for the grapes that we will press next week.

Best,
Michele Ciani
Aquila del Torre, Friuli Colli Orientali
August 24, 2017

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The harvest still promises to be rather beautiful. We will certainly begin the harvest next week for the precocious Chardonnay parcels.

Marie-Laure Serrigny
Domaine Serrigny, Savigny-les-Beaune
August 24, 2017

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About 2017, today I trust in this vintage, but with little quantity, same progression as 2016 with one week before for [the normal] harvest date.

Jérôme Mathieu
Domaine de Saje, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
August 24, 2017

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We have lost 70% [of our crop] as a result of hail in April and hail two times this month. We will have to wait until the 2017 harvest before establishing pricing for the 2015 vintage.

Charlotte Dagueneau
Didier Dagueneau, Sainte Andelain, Loire Valley
August 21, 2017

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Vacation is over. The harvest promises to be very precocious since for the first time in our lives we will begin harvest in August, without doubt either the 28th or 29th.

The crop promises to be really beautiful in quality, but unfortunately it will be once again (as in 2016) a very small crop in volume, especially for the white (Allégro will be very limited).

It has been very hot except for the first week in August when it was really cool. The nights have remained fresh in the heights, and the vines have no hydric stress because we have had several storms this summer which have permitted us to avoid that.

We are therefore very optimistic about the 2017 vintage!

Françoise Ollier
Domaine Ollier-Taillefer, Faugères, Languedoc
August 21, 2017

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The vines are good for the moment. The crop still promises to be rather small as well as rather advanced. We expect to harvest around the 20th to 25th September. Not too much mildew for the moment, all is okay….something to watch.

This week, the weather was rather cool and a little rainy; the weather is supposed to be very hot tomorrow and stormy on Monday. We don’t dare say that all is well……

Stéphanie Caslot
Domaine de la Chevalerie, Bourgueil, Loire Valley
August 13, 2017

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Vines look good so far. It has been raining last week and this week: it was necessary… but it is enough now. Forecasts show nice weather from tomorrow – I hope it will last! We should start [harvest] in the first week of September between 4th and 10th. Most of our pickers are ready, it is good to be able to count on them.

Mélanie Pfister
Domaine Pfister, Alsace
August 13, 2017

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The vines are beautiful and the crop abundant but harvest is not for another month….we have our fingers crossed. At the moment, it is cool without any heavy rain, there is a little bit of wind and a good brightness. The conditions are all good to advance the maturation of the grapes.

Jean-Pierre Charlot
Domaine Joseph Voillot, Côte de Beaune
August 11, 2017

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About 2017, as of today: Very dry summer (no water for 2 1/2 months!) and hot and windy. So, beautiful fruits but very little. I think quality will be the same as 2016 but with less juice. I think we’ll start the harvest around 6th of September (1 week before last year, but it depends on weather). Moon will change on 15th August, so wait and see!!!

Jérôme Mathieu
Domaine de Saje, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
August 11, 2017

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A little bit too much water at the moment but other than that all is well.

Thierry Merlin
Domaine Merlin-Cherrier, Sancerre
August 11, 2017

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The blasts of hot air during the months of June and July have caused some burning [of the grapes] but nothing too bad. Here at the beginning of August, the temperatures are more reasonable and even a bit cool for the season. Veraison is beginning to show up [pointe le bout de son nez]. If the weather remains summer-like, harvest may well begin at the end of August.

Sébastien Branger
Domaine Claude Branger, Muscadet
August 2, 2017

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Our domain was spared from the violent storm on Sunday. Some villages were really hit like Verzé, Hurigny, Sancé, and Viré. It was a tornado with big hail the size of ping-pong balls which caused lots of damage. We were in Sancé at a family dinner, and we were really afraid.

The harvest will be a day-to-day concern for the next month. We hope that the storms will calm down because all around us where they have had storms there is damage such as in Beaujolais Fleuri, Moulin à Vent, and Chénas where there is nothing left.

The grapes are beautiful and healthy. We are eager to use our new cellar.

Sylvaine Normand
Domaine Sylvaine & Alain Normand, Macon
August 2, 2017

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For us, the vines are really pretty, we are halfway through veraison, and the vintage looks very promising. More to follow.

Bastien Jolivet
Domaine Jolivet, Saint-Joseph
July 29, 2017

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While the south-east corner of France has been ravaged by fires this week (St-Tropez campsites evacuated et al), the rest of France, including her principal wine regions, has experienced unusually low temperatures for the time of year and, in many parts, a bit of rain.

After a particularly scorching mid June, vignerons were predicting a very early harvest but many of them have been revising their calendars, and wondering whether they can squeeze in a bit of holiday before preparing for the vintage. Around us in the Languedoc, the veraison, the annual process whereby red wine grapes are transformed from hard and green to soft and purplish, is being unusually protracted.

Jancis Robinson
JancisRobinson.com
July 28, 2017

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The harvest for the moment looks like it is going to be beautiful finally! The harvest should be rather straightforward, and everyone is in a really good mood this year.

Marie-Laure Serrigny
Domaine Serrigny, Savigny-les-Beaune
July 25, 2017

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Most of the vines are beautiful and we hope (nothing is sure yet) for a good harvest. It is perhaps the vines that we warmed [with fire pots to protect again spring frost] which have suffered the most….perhaps lit up a little late and the cold ruined a lot of the grapes, particularly in Vaucoupin as well as Vosgros. But for the rest, it’s pretty good.

No vacation in sight for the moment. We’ll see, perhaps a few days after the harvest, especially if it begins at the beginning of September.

Didier Picq
Gilbert Picq & ses Fils, Chablis
July 25, 2017

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It’s a beautiful year shaping up in Alsace. If all continues to go well, we should have a great harvest. For the moment, it is very hot–very little disease on the vines as a result. It rains from time to time, just enough to avoid hydric stress. We expect the harvest to take place at the end of September.

Anne-Marie Tempé
Domaine Marc Tempé, Alsace
July 19, 2017

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