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Domaine de l'Arlot - 2017 Harvest Report

Géraldine GODOT, Technical Director 

At last, a year that has brought a smile back to our faces! After the tiny production of 2016, 2017 is exciting and looks set to bring good news to Burgundy just when it is most needed. A great deal of sunshine and rainfall at the right times have led to a healthy, high-quality and abundant crop, which was the dearest wish of Burgundy’s winegrowers. 

Early winter marked the start of pruning as our vines recovered from the frost. This was a highly specialised operation for the winegrowers at Domaine de l’Arlot, who carefully selected the branches which would bear the next clusters. 
The exceptionally dry 2016-2017 winter was marked by low rainfall, an excess of sunshine, and seasonal temperatures in December becoming more wintery in January, with two very cold periods. February was mild and spring-like with a little rain.  

In March we attached the canes in spring weather, with record temperatures leading to bud break in early April. 
Like 2011 and 2014, 2017 started early. 

In mid-April, we scrutinised the weather forecasts anxiously due to the danger of frosts. Luckily we were spared thanks to the absence of rainfall, humidity levels lower than 60% and constant wind. The vines continued to develop despite a shortage of water and in late April there was another frosty period. 

However, damage was averted through full mobilisation of resources in the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune vineyard—with heaters, straw fires and a helicopter. 

May saw the return of rainfall, leaves turned green and the warmth at the end of the month led to strong growth. 
On 19 May the Clos des Forêts suffered from a hailstorm which left its mark on the wood. At the end of May the vines were flowering in all our plots.  

The alternating rain and warmth encouraged robust growth, and the very healthy phytosanitary status combined with great potential for the harvest kept smiles on faces. 

Rainfall in July was beneficial, and early ripening continued. The onset of ripening started at the end of July in the Clos de l’Arlot, and this was also when all the estate’s vines were given their final treatment. 
A small group of us harvested the Montrecul vines on the morning of September 5th. Picking began in earnest on September 7th, after testing the grapes and waiting for the perfect balance between sugar content and acidity. 
The grapes were sound and sorted mainly according to variations in maturity due to the lack of rainfall during the season. The harvest ended on 14th of September. 

It was very soon apparent that this was a remarkable year for whites. Acidity and sugar were perfectly matched and the fermentations took place slowly. The aromas were clean, holding the promise of superb notes of fruit and flowers after fermentation.  

The reds were “gourmand”, with slightly greater quantities than in 2014. We just had to find the right balance to extract the tannins and the colour from the still thick skins. The fermentations took place quickly while vatting was gentle, leaving time for maceration.