Argentina looks forward to quality vintage despite smaller harvest hit by frosts
Argentina looks braced to face up to another short harvest, despite predictions of what are many calling a great quality vintage.
Growing conditions for the 2017 harvest were far more in keeping with Argentina and a return to the hot, dry weather following the impact of the rains caused by the El Niño weather patterns in 2016 that also hit other areas of South America, notably Chile.
It was the arrival of damaging spring frosts that have caused the trouble this time round and greatly reduced volumes and yields in some areas.
That said the level of sunshine and heat for most of the season means Argentina will enjoy a good quality vintage. “2017 is a fantastic harvest in terms of quality,” Santiago Achaval, winemaker at Matervini told Decanter.
He added: “After 2014 and 2015 were challenged by rain close to the harvest, and 2016 in spring and early summer, we had a return to almost normal Mendoza weather,” he confirmed. The frosts during spring had resulted in a poor fruit set for Malbec, with yields down between 40% and 60%.”
But a slightly earlier harvest than usual came as a blessing in disguise, as the region was beset with torrential downpours and hailstorms during April
.”The fast pace of the ripening was also stimulated by the generally low yields observed throughout the entire Mendoza province,” said Doña Paula winemaker Marcos Fernández. It is expecting production to be between 40% to 70% down on an average year.
Grapes that could be in short supply are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Pinot Noir”
Fernandez said the low yields also had “excellent ripeness” with “impressive concentration of tannins and very intense colour”. “Ttannic structure offers mouth-filling wines, and we can expect tremendous ageing ability,” he said.
It was better news in northern Argentina where Salta and other regions have enjoyed a bigger crop.
But further south in Río Negro and Neuquén, late spring frosts also slashed yields by up to 40% followed by a hot summer, flash floods and hail.