Harvest 2017: Argentina

A cool spring led to reduced yields, but with the positive effect of greater fruit concentration and high grape quality.

A warm summer was followed, in general, by an earlier-than-average harvest to retain freshness. All in all an excellent vintage.

Buyer Paul Meihuizen said: “The 2017 vintage was a slight improvement on a volume scale but the quality this year looks to be way better than 2016 when the rains caused a lot of issues. Argentina’s challenge this year will be to be able to supply the insatiable appetite that the world seems to have for Argentinean Malbec.

This could well be a year where other varietals like Bonarda and Cabernet Sauvignon get an opportunity to show what they are capable of doing. As the shortage of Malbec takes full effect, be on the lookout for some blended options that will find their way onto the market.”

Here is a round-up of the harvest by two of our producers:

Catena - Mendoza

Mild frost reduced overall yields in Mendoza by about 25% but had an even greater effect in the Uco Valley (where most of the Catena family vineyards are located) and especially on Malbec, which was down by about 40-60%.

But this set-back was followed by a dry, mild summer and, as is usually the case, these lower yields led to higher quality, with excellent fruit concentration balanced by cool-climate acidity and pronounced aromatics. Harvest was a couple of weeks earlier than normal, meaning that by the time the rains came in March and April, most of the picking was over.

Laura Catena was especially pleased with the vintage, remarking “I can honestly say that this is possibly our best vintage since I started formally working with my father in 1995”.

Argento - Mendoza

Low spring temperatures affected yields, resulting in the second lowest harvest recorded in Mendoza in 50 years.

But a cold spring developed into a warm summer with average rainfall well distributed throughout the ripening period. Harvest was set at around 15 days earlier than usual in order to retain freshness, natural acidity and moderate alcohol levels.

2017 whites are characterised by largely tropical fruit aromas, with little of the herbaceous or vegetal aromas found in cooler years. Reds have a high concentration of fruit and soft tannins, with greater aromatic concentration, and a more intense colour than usual as a result of the lower yield.

The ageing potential for reds from the Central and Uco Valley is expected to be good, due to their pronounced fruit aromas, firm tannins and good concentration and complexity.

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For all this year's Southern Hemisphere harvest reports, see our round up.

From her uni wine 'tasting' society to studying for her WSET, Sophia has long had a fondness for all things vinous. So after a few years developing her marketing skills in the financial services industry, she decided to mix business with pleasure by moving into the wine trade. Now she writes, instagrams and podcasts about Bibendum’s portfolio of wines and the fascinating people who make them.

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