A year of extremes producing surprisingly well-balanced wines This vintage is characterised by extreme weather that caused a major water deficit at harvest time and one of the earliest harvests on record. At the same time, yields were at a historic low. Despite all that, the wines are delicate and well-balanced. Water reserves were built up over the autumn and winter, having been at their lowest after the 2016 harvest. However, rainfall levels were very low later on, with hardly a drop falling in the summer, and this caused a major water deficit at harvest time. At the same time, temperatures were very mild during the winter (except January) then hot in the spring and summer. This led to the vines showing an advance in growth of around 2 weeks compared to a normal year, and this continued right up to the harvest.
The plant growth cycle was also disrupted, beginning with a very low level of bunch formation (particularly with the Mourvèdre in our vineyards). Later on, flowering was far from perfect and there were frequent examples of “coulure” (poor flower fertilisation). Then, from 20 to 23 April, early-morning frost caused damage, which was fortunately limited in our vineyards. The result of all this was a 2017 vintage with a historically low harvest, the lowest since 1945 (in France and in the Languedoc), and for us the lowest since we started out in 1999. The weather conditions over the year did not cause any plant health problems and, as last year, it was impossible not to harvest healthy grapes. At La Madura, the harvest began on 17 August (a record!) with the Sauvignon, followed by the Piquepoul on the 29th. Yields were very low for the third year running. For the reds, the Syrah and Grenache were harvested between 4 and 9 September (another record!). However, cool temperatures in September delayed the maturation of the late-ripening varieties, Carignan and Mourvèdre. We completed the Mourvèdre harvest on 27 September. The pleasant surprise from this vintage is that, despite the extreme weather conditions, the wines are very well-balanced with good acidity: - The whites are expressive, full and fresh. - The reds are ripe and fleshy with good acidity. However, the concern remains that we have now had two consecutive years with historically low yields. Let us hope that 2018 is kinder to us.
Saint-Chinian, 10 January 2018