Domaine Rostaing cellar

EN PRIMEUR: 2017 Rhone En Primeur

Wherever your vineyards in the Rhône Valley, the drought conditions of 2017 were impossible to escape, and it is this factor which dominated all the growers’ commentaries about the vintage.  There was significant rainfall in October and November 2016, but thereafter the winter months were comparatively mild and much drier than usual, with the result that ground water reserves at the beginning of the summer of 2017 were already low.  February and March were unusually mild, which lead to budburst more than two weeks ahead of average – and inevitably therefore some frost damage when temperatures fell below zero once or twice in April.

Warm and humid weather during flowering, interspersed with some much cooler days, caused widespread coulure (poor fruit set), laying the foundations for a small crop.  Then from mid-May until early November, barely any rain fell at all.  In the North, it rained around the 15th August and again towards the end of the month – but only very little.  In the South in July, August and September only 17mm of rain was recorded, compared with 70mm in 2016 (already a very dry year); over the whole vegetative period only 185mm fell, compared with the average of 360mm.  The drought conditions, combined with very high summer temperatures even from comparatively early on (38 degrees of heat was recorded in Châteauneuf du Pape in June), meant a very small, and very early, harvest.  The quality of the wines is outstanding – they have a wonderful combination of ripeness and concentration, with very soft tannins, plenty of underlying, beautifully integrated, structure and great balance.  Growers are genuinely thrilled with what they have made – and correspondingly despondent about the lack of quantity.