In 2017, the vines decided to grow very precociously. Following the catastrophic 2016 (frost and mildew), the buds were rather promising in terms of quantity. And then, a late April frost decimated 80% of my future crop.
I am lucky to be part of a collective of likeminded vignerons called Pinards et Jus d'Ancenis. We are all close to each other geographically and philosophically. For the last five years, we boat down the Loire with our wines from Oudon to Nantes on in an effort to make a larger public discover our terroirs.
This association also permits us to exchange greatly on our practices, to share work equipment and to not feel alone when faced with difficult situations. Through this solidarity, we were able to collectively able to get grapes from a few parcels that were supposed to be torn out. We started working them in May and maintained them up to harvest.
The harvest snuck up on us, and arrived very early. I started on August 31st, 15 days in advance. My neighbor Jacques Février and I shared a harvest team, and we began with the Melon de Bourgogne. It was very complicated to organize everything, as we had to juggle between the ripe grapes on the parcels that hadn't frozen, the less ripe grapes on frosted vines (sometimes within the same parcel!) the solidarity parcels we were harvesting collectively with other vignerons and grapes that were offered to us at the last minute we ended up buying.
It was an extremely difficult three weeks both mentally and physically, which in the end resulted in a little more grapes than last year. But the quality was very heterogeneous, and thus harder to vinify. I'm rather satisfied with the final result, even if some small vats have proven challenging. I continue to learn in this third, atypical vintage.