There is no doubt that 2017 was a year where we had to push things to the limits to make the best possible wines, and the experience of the crew really paid off. In a good year anyone can make good wines, however the more challenging years can be just as rewarding for a quality-focused producer and we are very proud of the wines we have been able to craft in 2017.
Spring and summer kicked the season off with good growing conditions and healthy vines. We started picking a couple of small sparkling blocks on 1st March but then had to wait for two weeks until the next grapes were ready as the season was running about a week behind normal. Once the sparkling blocks were finished it was straight on to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with both varieties handpicked and received in excellent condition and with great flavours and balance. We started picking Sauvignon Blanc on 31st March and early flavours looked great, but the weather forecast soon started to look ominous. We broke our daily tonnage record as we picked all our remaining Pinot and all the Sauvignon that was ready to go before a weather front swept across us. Fortunately there was less rain than forecast and we were able to recommence picking after a short time. We picked as much as we could over a five day window, breaking our old daily intake record twice again in this short period alone. A second front brought more rain and we had to wait it out again before we picked our last two blocks of Sauvignon, finishing up on the 21stApril.
So what does this all mean for the vintage 2017 wines? I believe the 2017 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will be among the best we have made. The combination of site selection, clonal diversity and vine age is really coming together with these two varieties and this year’s small crops mean the wines have the potential to be truly exceptional. For Sauvignon we got plenty of fruit in at the start of the harvest period with good, ripe, pungent flavours. Our later picked parcels look clean, attractive and balanced. I think overall the Sauvignons will perhaps be slightly more restrained than some years, but delightful to drink and unmistakably Marlborough. I am very comfortable with how all the wines look and I think they will be very similar in style to the 2016s.