We are only a matter of weeks away from the en primeur trade tastings of the 2017 vintage, a year which suffered the most damaging frosts on record for some of Europe’s key wine growing areas. Bordeaux was particularly hard hit with a projected 70 per cent of the region’s producers affected and estimated financial costs to the region of around 1.6billion euros.
A clearer picture has emerged on the outcome of the April 2017 frosts over the last few weeks with A forecast 40 per cent drop in production of the 2017 red wines and 50 per cent reduction in whites. The frost-damage was not geographically consistent and some regions, including the Medoc, were luckier than others, whilst the Right Bank vineyards were hardest hit.
The affected chateaux had significantly reduced harvest which has led to some, such as Pessac Leognan’s Chateau Fieuzal, reporting that there will be no vintage 2017 made (red or white). Barsac’s Chateau Climens had a record low production and will not make any first wine in 2017. Climens’ owner, Bérénice Lurton stated that this was the first non-production of their top wine since 1993.
St Emilion vineyards were also hard hit but the big estates are yet to reveal what costs they have incurred. Chateau Corbin will also only be making a small amount of its second wine, as the only vines to survive the frost on the estate were their young four years old vines and other estates report 50 per cent losses or more.
The challenges the chateaux are facing are not just linked to reduced harvest but additional investment is also required in restorative work on the frost damaged vines which may require the further costs of specialist pruners. This essential work started in January with focus in the vineyards now trained on the coming year’s 2018 vintage.
We expect further information on the impact on the key chateaux in the coming weeks as we approach the en primeur tastings and will keep you informed. 2017 will certainly be an interesting vintage as many parts of the Medoc went unaffected, with good weather conditions during flowering and a dry summer bolstering the vines on the Left Bank, which endured nothing like the devastation of those on the Right Bank. Supply certainly will be lower and a close eye will be trained on quality.
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