2017 Burgundy En Primeur
At Last, A Generous Harvest –
Great Whites, And Superlative Reds
We are proud to release details of our 2017 Burgundy En Primeur offer. This year no wines will be available to purchase via the website but please do seethe accompanying PDF for full details and contact us to place an order.
The 2017 Growing Season and Harvest
By a close shave, Burgundy avoided the terrible frost damage which had devastated many vineyards in April 2016. At the same period in 2017, temperatures plummeted, but growers were better prepared. Some lit candles or burners, between the rows. Many came together to organise the burning of bales of straw at the end of vineyard-rows. These actions warmed the air, produced protective smoke, and broadly saved the crop for many growers.
May was warm, bringing an early flowering, which went through well, in spite of some storms. June brought heat spikes at the end of the month. These months were dangerous ones, as there was pressure from mildew, against which top Domaines were able to act with frequent, preventative sprayings. Temperatures fluctuated during July, with rainy periods, which meant that pressure from mildew was always a danger, but fewer treatments proved to be necessary than in 2016.
During the summer it became evident that some vines which had been badly frosted the previous year were compensating, by promising an abundant crop. Conscientious growers therefore thinned the harvest where it was necessary. Others, however, left the fruit on the vines, fearful of possible hail to come. Early August was not as warm as normal, but then hot weather arrived towards the end of the month, with 20mm. of beneficial rain, just before final ripening. Pinot Noir needs sun, but not too much – so these were pretty ideal conditions for a fine harvest.
The vintage began in late August for certain white wines, and in early September for many reds. It was a normal-sized crop of whites, but a generous, or sometimes enormous one, for reds. The picking and sorting took longer than many growers ever remembered. Permitted yields were raised, in recognition of the fine potential quality and volume, and to compensate growers for their frost-losses the previous year. But this highlights the quality-crux of the vintage: big volumes of reds mean that some lack fruit density. Of course, we have borne this carefully in mind, while making our selections.
The 2017 Reds
We have been utterly seduced by the bright, fresh fruity characters and elegant textures of these charming 2017 reds. However, care is needed: due to the size of the crop, not all reds were completely ripe on picking and we encountered some vegetal, leafy aromas, and some wines with low acidity. These wines we have avoided. The best have vibrant, purple colouring, with vivacious, plentiful aromas, and excellent fruitiness, with supple tannins, in fine balance. Many wines will make delicious drinking while youthful, while others – where growers managed yields and extractions with skill – have an excellent future ahead of them.
The 2017 Whites
Some brilliant wines have been made in Chablis, where pressure from powdery and downy mildew was much less than in the previous year. August was quite cold, allowing the grapes to hold onto freshness, while ripening slowly. Balance in the wines is generally more interesting than 2016. There were more grapes than in 2016, but the yield of juice was 25% down on a normal crop. So this is a lovely Chablis vintage.
Further south growers have also produced a normal sized-crop of often piercingly fruity, crisp, long flavoured wines. Our best growers have breathed a sigh of relief, after several vintages of frost or hail, to find their cellars almost full, and with wines of such beautiful quality.