A closer look at the Bordeaux 2017 vintage supply

The Bordeaux chateaux have to declare their expected production for the latest vintage in December, prior to the Spring en primeur releases. The results submitted by the region’s 6,500 growers have now been assimilated and conclude that the supply of 2017 will be 40% down on 2016. Last year was a bountiful vintage with the highest production levels in a decade, however, 2017 is 33% down on the ten-year average, so the hit is huge. Forty per cent of Bordeaux’s average annual production represents over 300 million bottles of wine – a very significant quota for the region and global supply.

The chief cause of this disaster was the late frosts in April 2017, the impact of which was more severely by the more southerly appellations. St Emilion and Pomerol were fairly devastated, Barsac has produced just half of its five-year average crop and Margaux and Pessac-Leognan were hit in parts. Those estates on higher ground in more southerly appellations also fared slightly better

However, Gavin Quinney, a Bordeaux based commentator, has noted that “For enthusiasts, buyers and collectors of fine wine, it’s worth noting that 80 per cent of the top 150 chateaux enjoyed a good harvest…, at the top end, there should be reasonable volumes and good quality from many of the blue chip names.”

The three most northerly appellations for investment-grade wines, Pauillac, St Estèphe and St Julien have reported higher crop levels for 2017 than the previous five-year average. Their positions on the Gironde estuary will have afforded some mitigation from the effect of the frosts.

The St Emilion Grand Cru and St Emilion appellations were down 56% on 2016, a drop of around 34million to less than 15million bottles year on year, whereas Left Bank Pauillac, St-Estephe, St-Julien and Margaux are down just 12% and Margaux bore the brunt of this.

The 2017 en primeurs trade tastings take place week commencing 9th April this year, we will keep you posted on any news coming through prior to then as certainly 2017 is going to be a demanding vintage to judge, with highly scored wines in a low supply vintage grabbing the headlines and early buyers.

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