The 2017 harvests began early at Château de la Dauphine on 14 September, due to the exceptionally hot month of June.
Having escaped serious damage in the frost at the end of April, the vines flourished, producing grapes that ripened uniformly and steadily through a dry summer that was never excessively hot. The rain in the second week of September caused the grapes, which had been small, to swell, and their skins to become thinner.
We opted for mechanical harvests, not only for reasons of economy and convenience, but also because undeniable progress has been made with these machines in terms of sorting; they enable us to harvest 53 hectares on a plot by plot basis, as the grapes reach optimal ripeness; any restrictions due to human factors are removed, enabling us to be responsive to the vineyard’s requirements, choosing precisely when to harvest, or even partially harvest, based solely on technical and taste criteria. With a prepared vineyard, and careful use, the benefits of machine harvesting outweigh any disadvantages: all that remains is a psychological hesitation, that is gradually being released from the collective consciousness. Mechanical harvesting does not conflict with organic farming: it is simply a physical action, and the responsiveness that it enables enhances the quality that can be achieved in a biodynamic vineyard, where everything is a matter of precision and awareness of the vines’ health.
The Merlot that we have been picking for a week is in good health, presenting a remarkable balance between sugar and acidity, and superb aromatic freshness. Less tannic than its predecessor, this vintage promises elegant, fruity, generous wines.