Annus Horribilis !

2016, Annus Horribilis ! First Comments about the Harvest

In 50 years in Chablis, I never saw such difficult conditions to produce wine… Everything was wrong, from the severe frost end of April on the South-East of Chablis, to the devastating hail mid-May and end of May. Half of the crop was already lost. 

Spring was dreadful. Until June 22nd, the first day of sun, it was a continuous rain and cold weather. After such a bad Spring the flower was delayed and ended the last days of June when a fierce attack of Mildew spread over the vineyard like I had never seen before and damaged even more than the frost and hail did to the vineyard. Giving us a very very small crop… 13.26hL/ha in average.

The cellar is nearly empty; we usually vinify each plot separately but this year the tanks are too big to contain the volume harvested…We didn’t even try to harvest the parcels that were frost, because there were no grapes on the stocks, even from the second generation. Nothing!

I remember from my childhood, my father Henri talking about the decade 1950/1960 with 3 vintages with no crop. Especially 1953, he only produced a unique Feuillette of 132 Liters of Chablis! I thought those times were past. I understand now, that nothing can ever be taken for granted especially when it’s about Nature.

Hopefully quality is good, with natural alcohol degree of 12.7% in the Fourchaume; July and August were warm and sunny and September was beautiful. With the small number of grapes on the stocks, we managed to reach full maturity by the 3rd week of September and we started the harvest the 23rd of September; 3 days later it was over, quickest harvest ever seen!

It will of course provoke volume issues; I would be very surprised that the whole Chablis appellation produce more than half of a crop in 2016...

We already started to pray for Saint Vincent for a beautiful abundant 2017 crop!

Michel Laroche, Chablis le 3 octobre 2016