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The 2017 Vintage in Bordeaux

The Birth of the Top-Quality And Surprising 2017 Bordeaux Vintage

The 2017 Bordeaux vintage was announced in Bordeaux as the year of all challenges. And yet, after the two excellent 2015 and 2016 vintages, the 2017 looks like a very good vintage that confirms the consistency of these great terroirs while also highlighting unexpected discoveries. The 2017 vintage brings racy and fresh wines without the structure of the two previous vintages. Yet these wines are definitely remain memorable because of their aromatic, pure and concentrated fruit, elegant and silky tannins, and well-balanced acidity.

A vintage between delicacy and rarity

With exceptional weather conditions, the 2017 Bordeaux vintage was a harsh reminder that viticulture is closely linked to the risks that nature exposes. Indeed, the year had begun under optimum conditions signalling an early vintage. The growing season started out ahead of schedule with February and March promoting the rapid growth of the vines. Yet, the four-night freeze at the end of April was lethal, wiping out more than 40% of the harvest in the entire Bordeaux region with major disparities in damage across the appellations. The vineyards that had escaped the frost experienced an early and even flowering due to unusually high temperatures in May, while thunderstorms at the end of June avoided any chance of water stress for the vines. After an exceptionally hot and dry summer, the early September rains caused fears of a grey rot outbreak. This signaled the need for an early harvest for the 2017 Bordeaux vintage, with picking starting as early as the second week in September with the Merlots. Later, the Cabernets enjoyed a well-timed period of high temperatures from September 20 that allowed them to finish ripening in prime conditions. As for the white varieties, the berries were in excellent health and had ideal phenolic ripeness when harvested, which preserved their beautiful acidity and great aromatic freshness. The following rainy weather, interrupted with dry spells, favored the late development of botrytis in the season, allowing the grapes to concentrate their sugars and aromas, and providing the prefect conditions for making top-quality sweet wines.

"This is not a sunny vintage, so we will notice a little more tension, a little more acidity, a little more firmness, but it is a vintage with lovely, fruity characteristics"

Michel Rolland