Extreme weather conditions resulted in an exceptional vintage
A particularly wet winter and spring promised good yields. One of the best summers of the decade, with a long dry period, brought power and concentration. A remarkable late season, with substantial differences in temperatures, ensured elegance for this exceptional vintage. Each of these stages, with an extreme climatology, have been chained with a perfect tempo: it is the singularity of this vintage.
Despite the abundant rain in the winter and spring, a window of particularly fine weather enabled rapid, uniform flowering (around 10 June).
However, the vintage’s profile changed radically from early July with an extremely hot, dry summer. After more than 15 years of ploughing, Malartic vines’ deep roots were able to find water reserves in the clay-limestone subsoil and benefit fully from the summer heat. The grapes changed colour with the same uniformity as the flowering.
After the very dry conditions, the heavy rain on 13 September (40 mm) was welcome. Four days before the start of the Sauvignon harvest, it was ideal! An Indian summer lasted through to the end of the harvests with some scattered but always welcome showers and big differences between the day and night-time temperatures, encouraging the accumulation of anthocyanins and aromatic richness.
The white grapes, with a slightly lower yield than 2015, were harvested from 19 to 27 September. Despite the very dry summer, acidity levels were good, giving a nice balance to the particularly aromatic, dense wines.
For the red wines, the vintage is in the “exceptional” category. Picking of the Merlot began on 29 September and the Cabernet on the 13th. We have rarely seen such substance and balance in both polyphenolic and aromatic terms. The extremes of the climate (the rainiest winter and spring; the driest summer followed by an Indian summer with cool nights) enabled long, slow ripening, refining the tannins and developing complexity in the flavours and aromas, while maintaining plenty of freshness. Exceptional and superb.