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Biggest harvest in a decade in Bordeaux

The 2016 harvest in Bordeaux is the largest since 2006 with production up over 500 million litres.

In his now annual report on the latest Bordeaux vintage, winemaker Gavin Quinney has noted that production in 2016 was 577 million litres – the equivalent of 770m bottles of wine – the biggest harvest since 2006 and only just short of the very large 2004 vintage.

What is more, production is roughly the same as in 2006 despite the vineyard area having shrunk some 10% in the intervening years.

Production is 85% red, 4% rosé, 10% dry white and 1% sweet white, with yields averaging 52 hectolitres per hectare (it was 54hl/ha in 2004).

Quinney pointed out that 2016 marks the biggest yield since 2006 for the appellations of Margaux, Saint-Estèphe, Saint Emilion and Pomerol and is the biggest year since 2006 for the wider appellations of ‘Bordeaux rouge’, Bordeaux Supérieur, Côtes de Bordeaux, Médoc & Graves, St Emilion/Pomerol/Fronsac and Bordeaux blancs.

He noted that the Merlot crop was particularly generous, especially in Entre Deux Mers, but that Cabernet yields in general were somewhat lower, “often the result of less even flowering in June and smaller bunches.”

After a cold start to the year, Bordeaux experienced a long, very warm, summer and autumn and in fact between 23 June and 13 September it experienced a tenth of the normal rainfall.

Young vines on porous soils suffered in particular and this contributed to the reduced Cabernet levels.

The smaller amount of Cabernet notwithstanding, Nicolas Glumineau of Pichon Lalande told the drinks business last month he was sure the 2016 vintage would prove to be “a Cabernet year”.

Gavin Quinney’s report can be read on the Liv-ex blog, here.

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