2017 Harvest Report Los Vascos

2017 Harvest marked by dryness and high temperatures

The season was marked by very high temperatures from the start, i.e., from September, which brought the harvest forward by 20 days.
With annual precipitation of approximately 300 mm (540 mm in 2016), the vines required early spring irrigation.
Temperatures were in the normal range in winter, with an average high of 21ºC and an average low of -1ºC.
Spring passed by almost unnoticed due to the high temperatures, 30ºC and higher, that had prevailed since September and set the trend for the rest of the season. In the previous harvest, maximum temperatures over 30ºC were felt only from November and lasted until February. Conversely, in this harvest, high temperatures started as early as September and remained until April.
The summer was very hot, with night-time temperatures higher than normal. The number of hours with temperatures over 30ºC totalled 330, compared with164 in the previous season.
Temperatures remained high until the harvest. The intensity of the sun’s radiation increased to 181.2 W/m2 which, coupled with the low rainfall, resulted in a very early harvest. The harvest started on 16 February, which is 20 days earlier than in 2016. The climate took a toll on yields, which were lower by 13%, despite the efforts to regulate thinning and thus ensure similar yields and high quality in the vineyards that supply the grapes used in Grande Réserve and Le Dix wines. In the case of Cabernet Sauvignon, the lower yield (8 500 kg/ha) led to higher concentration, which should translate into higher quality.

2017: A small crop but with concentrated wines of quality

Cabernet Sauvignon: the high temperatures just before véraison and during ripening led to early and rather quick ripening of the Cabernet grapes. The period between véraison and ripening was considerably shorter than usual.
Picking of the Cabernets was spread out between 15 March and 25 April. The Cabernets showed small bunches with small berries. The resulting wines are concentrated with a good level of tannin. The wines are driven by black fruit with some Kirsch and roasted notes. Very good potential for ageing.

Syrah: also picked early, between 23 February and 15 March, the Syrah wines showed a dense and deep colour on running off accompanied by a well-defined tannic framework, which will need ageing in our barrels from the estates’ cooperage. Spicy notes, but also floral, combined with notes of black ink characterise the nose of these wines.

Carmenère: it is a good vintage overall for our Carmenère, because the heat toned down the vegetal notes for which this grape is often reproached. The wines are dense, well coloured, the tannic framework can appear a bit angular in the wines from our youngest vines planted on granite; for the older vines, the wines are splendid.

Chardonnay: The Chardonnay grapes produced at Los Vascos contribute density and fat, while those from Casablanca, near to the Pacific Ocean, bring freshness on the palate and notes of white pear, pineapple, acacia blossom; the marriage works wonderfully. The Chardonnays were picked from 16 to 22 February, in other words 3 weeks ahead of a normal year.

Sauvignon Blanc: The Sauvignon Blancs have a pleasant freshness, despite the year being slightly warm: they offer notes of citrus fruit, boxwood and green asparagus, and are well-balanced on the palate. The harvests took place between 20 February and 15 March: almost a month earlier than in 2016!