The growing period started quickly and evenly nearly two weeks early when the frost struck on 27th, 28th and 29th April, bringing our enthusiasm to a point-blank halt. While fortunately, some parcels in our best terroirs were not affected, others were completely frost-bitten, along with other plots where only certain vines were destroyed.
As a consequence, there has been little let-up in the vineyards: we have had to manage the parcels on a case by case basis. The regrowth of frost-affected vines has produced only a few secondary grapes, which has required essential vineyard management: green pruning where necessary, to prepare the vines for the 2018 vintage; regular and meticulous thining of any secondary shoots so that the vines do not overgrow and burn themselves out; identifying frost affected vines which were not to be harvested.
The unaffected vineyards have benefitted greatly from good summer conditions, taking advantage of their head-start at the beginning of the growing season. Early and marked water restrictions, coupled with just enough in the way of rainfall, have resulted in a decent and healthy maturation period.
Thanks to a particularly rigorous grape selection, with lesser quality grapes removed from the vine, we hand-sorted whole bunches as the grapes arrived at the winery, followed by optical sorting. At the expense of quantity, we are really pleased with the quality of the wines. We have been able to extract lovely tannins and a rich, deep colour. The Cabernet Sauvignons are superbly concentrated on the palate. Already the key component in the Belgrave blend, they will surely leave their mark on the 2017 vintage with their elegant, racy character.