April 6th 2018
Discover all the secrets of 2017 vintage at Château Brown.
VINTAGE 2017 summed up in three words
2017 has been an unconventional vintage, one to remember as a vintage characterised by three words: earliness (early ripening of the grapes), extreme precision during harvest and vinification, and precious (in terms of quantity).
Firstly, earliness is due to an exceptionally mild and sunny spring which led to a very rapid flowering and veraison. A relatively dry but cool summer produced good acidity. Consequently, the early ripening of the grapes led to an unusual harvest!
« 2003 is the benchmark year in terms of earliness. I have never seen Cabernet Sauvignon in Château Brown finish veraison in late July and be fully harvested by the end of September.» Jean-Christophe Mau.
The 2017 harvest is above all characterised by the extreme precision it required. Château Brown, like many other vineyards, was impacted by the spring frost, April 28th, which led to considerable heterogeneity in the vineyard’s grapes. The frozen vines were dispersed across the entire vineyard and in the space of a few metres, in the same row, there were grapes that reached optimum ripeness (first generation) and other smaller, less ripe ones that grew after the frost. Like every year, the grapes were picked manually at Château Brown and the harvesters were trained in advance for this unconventional harvest. Therefore, thanks to very technical manual harvest we made no concessions on our harvesting quality.
The white varieties were the most affected by the frost. The Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon were harvested at the beginning of September. Certain plots were harvested in several phases to allow for greater ripeness and higher volumes. Despite a small harvest, the quality is there: the juice has good aromatic density and plenty of flavour.
Harvesting of the red grapes began 15th of September. Despite the threat of botrytis, the Merlot was finally harvested in good health and at the right level of ripeness (13°) with a vibrant and bright fruit.
Then weather conditions were much lenient and Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested in the last week of September in good health and with high acidity. This year again we used optical sorting on our Cabernet Sauvignon. The sanitary condition was stable and the acidity rather high. It was less affected by the frost, which will result in a great wine this year with a majority of Cabernet Sauvignon.
To produce a high-quality vintage, vinification was very precise and technical.
For the reds we made “micro-vinifications” in small volumes in our small stainless steel vats usually used for the settling of our whites.
Thus, we were able to continue our precision work started in July on the vineyard, when we have chosen to do green harvesting on the parcels of Merlot not affected by frost.
« No compromise has been made on our quality, even with a ½ harvest, our 1st wine will respect our qualitative requirements started for 12 years » Jean-Christophe Mau.