Vintage 2017 was a challenge for sure. The weather leading into harvest was good, and all varieties looked good with less stress from the drought conditions leading into 2015 and 2016.
Early varieties were excellent, both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay having excellent acid balance and light crops. Pinot Noir colour was very deep. The ripening period was longer than usual; despite warm temperatures the ripening between veraison and maturity happened relatively slowly.
Gewürztraminer is looking great again with good acid retention, and the earliest Sauvignon Blanc blocks are showing flavours that are riper than the sugar ripeness at harvest would suggest. As harvest progressed there were several rain events that caused disease pressure and forced some of the blocks to be picked earlier than they otherwise would have been.
We were quite well set up to speed up our harvest, with new presses able to handle increased harvesting speed. Surprisingly we felt little pressure with the aromatic varieties, and were able to hand pick Riesling the day before a significant rainfall, still very clean and with great ripeness. We have previously seen that Pinot Gris is very resilient with our viticulture methods, and we elected to hang it out for quite some time to get full ripeness. Even with significant rainfall we saw no negative disease issues with Pinot Gris, and it looks like a very good year for this variety with lovely flavours and richness.
Overall it seems a very strong year for aromatics, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc looks quite solid considering the conditions. We will see lower alcohol with Sauvignon Blanc due to earlier picking.