The 2017 harvest: Much enthusiasm in Burgundy
This year, it all happened very quickly. The harvest began at the end of August, with quality and quantity much in evidence. After a series of vintages that have suffered the whims of the weather – the 2016 in particular – the Bourgogne winegrowing region has returned to cruising speed in terms of production, while averages across the rest of France are down.
On 23 August, the first grapes were picked in the south of the region, to be used in the production of Crémant de Bourgogne. This was around two weeks earlier than in a typical year. Harvesting in the rest of the region followed quickly, with more southerly plots being picked just a few days earlier than those in more northerly vineyards. Whether the grapes were to be used in still or sparkling wines was irrelevant – only the level of maturity of the fruit determined the date of picking.
It’s early days yet but growers seem satisfied with both the quality and quantity of the harvest. It’s not going to be a super year but for those who kept their yields low, the whites look very promising in particular, with the reds a little more uneven and less ageworthy than in some of the better vintages due to the rather cool weather conditions during harvest.
The other slight damper was the springtime frost that hit the Châtillonnais and part of the Chablis and the Mâcon regions, which left its mark on those estates most affected, and which had already been hit by the frost in 2016. The good yields this year were a huge relief for many, but quality was also there in spades, which is, of course, essential to the Bourgogne winegrowing region.
It’s difficult to make comparisons, but this vintage has been compared to those of 1999, 2010 and 2015, but will surely develop its own character in the course of time.