It is impossible to affirm that there were no climatic incidents in Bordeaux, in France and in Europe in 2017. The nights of 20th and 21st April, and April 27th and 28th of April were dark times for wine growers.
In Bordeaux, the official organisations have recorded no less than 40% loss of harvest. But the question remains, what is actually the vintage? To address this question, it is advisable to take a tour of the vineyards and try to explain the frost phenomenon.
The vast majority of the best terroirs in Bordeaux, those located on the limestone plateau of Saint-Émilion, the gravel plateau of Pomerol or near the Gironde estuary for the Médoc have not been impacted. In their case, the vintage went perfectly with a real precocity, a slight water stress during the summer, but especially a relatively low sunshine (the weather was cloudy) which imposed a very slow maturity of the berries. A few spots of rain in September came to diminish an important hope, but , on the whole, the vintage remains big without being very big. The wines are fruity and aromatic, the acidity, as in 2015 and 2016, are quite high which generates particularly tense and straight touch with a lot of freshness - a characteristic that nobody will complain about in Bordeaux.
For the other soils, the deal is very diverse. Where the frost has passed, the vines have been devastated and the regrowth has been carried out on so-called second-generation clusters that have not reached maturity. The wines then have rather meagre middles and especially aromas of unsuccessful maturity (mulberry leaf, plant, ivy).
In this case, the winemaker has the choice either not to present wines or to select drastically the most suitable lots in order not to endanger the fragile economic balance of the properties. In the case of non-frosted vines, some of them produce particularly charming and elegant wines, with a lot of freshness, while others, when they harvested after the September rains, slightly diluted the mouths.
Anyway, 2017 is an interesting vintage in Bordeaux. Certainly, the marked heterogeneity imposes an important selection (we are here for that!). And the wines deserve the interest of the amateurs who appreciate the drinkability and the freshness in the wines of Bordeaux.
In addition, prices should fall, offering very good quality/price, a source of great pleasure in the coming years.
Castaing, Y. (02 May 2018). Gault&Millau France. Retrieved from