Beaucastel 2017
The vintage

  • Winter began with heavy rainfalls in October and November, followed by particularly dry and mild weather. Thus, the cumulated rainfall over 9 months was average. In fact the very mild conditions of the beginning of the year warmed the soil early on in the season resulting in a premature budburst. On April 15, there was a 17-day advance in development compared to the last two decades. These conditions at the beginning of the year allowed the vineyard to be particularly healthy and immune to diseases. The grass hardly grew, ideal conditions to work the soil. The vines responded very well to our porridge of nettles, silica and horsetail, requiring only one passage whereas we would usually require three.

  • From the end of April to the beginning of May, we experienced a sudden drop in temperatures and several rainy moments which led to a significant frost, particularly in the Ventoux, Cairanne and Vinsobres sectors. In mid-May the temperatures rose again, well beyond the seasonal averages. The combination of humidity and heat made the vine grow very quickly, while flowering was imminent. In all appellations, flowering was fast, in particularly hot and dry conditions.

  • These highly unusual and variable spring conditions led to an extensive‘shatter’on both Grenache and Carignan. At the end of June, the clusters’closure stage was almost reached on the most of the plots and the vineyard remained exceptionally healthy despite the precocity (comparable to that of 2015 and ahead of 2016 by 6 days).

  • At the beginning of the summer, the water reserves were particularly low and we feared drought symptoms and secherese. The summer continued to be hot and dry, without a drop of water – the vines required daily checks to measure potential dehydration. The berry tasting was more telling and essential than ever this year, in order to harvest at the best maturity for both aromatics and phenolics.

  • These summer conditions led to an exceptionally early harvest. We started harvesting Viog-nier on August 17th, and Syrah and Grenache on August 18th, to preserve them from drought. The month of September offered a nice alternation of hot sunny days and cool nights - ideal for the phenolic maturity. These conditions allowed us to extend the premature harvest through to October enabling us to choose the optimum time to harvest each plot over an 8 week period. We finished the harvest at Château de Beaucastel on October 5th, with magnifi-cent outstanding Mourvèdre full of color and fruit.

    The cellar work has crafted wines with great balance and finesse. The first tastings reveal great potential, with very fragrant and very well-balanced wines that should be among our best vintages. The first Syrah wines offer deep purplish colors with a palette of shades as pleasing to the eye as to the palate. The whites and rosés have very marked floral aromas, very aromatic for the rosés and with notes of citrus for the whites. The reds are characterized by intense and deep colors and great tannic richness.

    This 2017 vintage will be remembered as the year of all records: the driest year in 30 years (the rain only come back on 3 November, marking the end of a period of 6 consecutive months of drought, with less than 15mm of water / day), exceptionally little work in the vine-yard, optimal harvest conditions, a very small yield due to climatic hazards and shatter, and wines with very rich potential.