France’s complicated vintage 2017, told by a wine producer

“2017 will go down in history as a very complicated vintage for more or less all French wine regions,” says Graham Nutter in Minervois. He contacted us to tell us a little bit about what happened at his Domaine St. Jacques d’Albas during the year. It all started well, which he was happy about because the volume was 40% less than normal in 2016. Rain was abundant during January to March. Then came a beautiful March and spring started early. It was unusually warm and with plenty of water in the soil the vines sprung into life early. The beautiful weather continued in April. The year started to look promising.

At the end of April cold nights and morning frost hit vineyards throughout France (and in other countries in Europe). St Jacques d’Albas was lucky; its vineyards are a bit higher up and suffered only a little.

Then came the heat wave in June. “No problem”, Graham thought, “we always have some rain in July/August.” But not a drop this year.

The result in the end was small grapes with little juice and another year with 40% lower volume than normal. But the quality is very satisfactory. Graham compares with 2003 but believes that 2017 is riper and with higher acidity. He is in fact very pleased with everything except with the volume. Two years in a row with low yield is tough. Some have had an even worse year though, with both springtime rot and hail.

More on St Jacques d’Albas:

The chapel at Chateau St Jacques d'Albas, Languedoc

The chapel at Chateau St Jacques d’Albas, Languedoc, copyright BKWine Photography

The vat hall at Chateau St Jacques d'Albas, Languedoc

The vat hall at Chateau St Jacques d’Albas, Languedoc, copyright BKWine Photography

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