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A small but promising vintage for Argentina 2017

A 'fantastic' harvest say winemakers, but there won't be a lot of it...

Argentina harvest 2017: A small but promising vintage

Off the back of a very wet El Niño vintage last year, it was a relief for winemakers in Argentina to return to its more characteristic dry climate.

Although quality is considered high across the board, damaging spring frosts significantly reduced the quantity.

‘2017 is a fantastic harvest in terms of quality,’ said Santiago Achaval, winemaker at Matervini.

‘After 2014 and 2015 were challenged by rain close to the harvest, and 2016 in spring and early summer, we had a return to almost normal Mendoza weather. The only problem was a series of near-frost events during spring. This resulted in a poor fruit set for Malbec, with yields down between 40% and 60%.’

A slightly earlier harvest than normal was a blessing in disguise for Mendoza as mid-April experienced a big downpour of rain and several hailstorms.

argentina harvest 2017

Hail in Mendoza.

‘The fast pace of the ripening was also stimulated by the generally low yields observed throughout the entire Mendoza province,’ said Doña Paula winemaker Marcos Fernández.

‘Production was 40% to 70% lower than in a normal year, especially in Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Pinot Noir.’

‘2017 will be remembered for its excellent quality and low volume. Low yields and excellent ripeness led to an impressive concentration of tannins and very intense colour.

‘The tannic structure offers mouth-filling wines, and we can expect tremendous ageing ability.’

In Salta and northern Argentina the yields increased compared to last year, with no reported complications.

However further south in Río Negro and Neuquén, late spring frosts also reduced yields by up to 40% followed by a hot summer, flash floods and hail.

‘The greatest challenge was a risky growing season, with menacing weather… frost, rain and heat waves!’ said Hans Vinding-Diers, winemaker at Bodega Noemía in Río Negro.

‘But the quality of the grapes remained perfect: great acidity, fantastic fruit and, strangely enough, low alcohols. Veraison took at least a month and a half to complete, this could have put a break on the sugars from rising too high.’

Argentina’s 2017 vintage was undeniably smaller, but should stand out for its concentration and quality.

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