They lost 70% of their crop to hail in 2017, which particularly affected La Rochelle and Les Vérillats. Average yields were down to a minuscule 10 hl/ha. So in this vintage the fruit is mainly from what was left of Les Thorins, Le Moulin-à-Vent and Les Caves, plus a very tiny bit of La Roche and Maisonneuves. Shorter vatting and more gentle extraction than usual because of the frost-affected vines and only 2–3% stems at the bottom of the tank to help with drainage. Production was c 10,000 bottles rather than the more usual 20–25,000.
Lightish crimson with soft ruby rim. Even though the percentage of whole bunches is very small, there is an attractive stemmy/herbal freshness to this lifted and aromatic wine. The fruit is definitely in the red spectrum, but tangy and fresh like raspberry and cranberry not sweet like strawberry, or perhaps a hint of wild strawberry as it opens, and rock-dust quality that I associate with granite soils. This is delicate and precise, beautifully scented, suggesting a wine made with the fingertips, which was necessary in 2017. Even though it is in this more scented and delicate style, it does still show the fine dry tannins of Moulin-à-Vent though they have a little more fine-ness than you might normally expect at this youthful stage in its evolution. On the palate it is more scented than sweet, and the finish, as in all three vintages tasted today (2015, 2016, 2017), is salty and salivating. Juicy and pure. Good length for a lighter wine. Probably not for the very long term – though I am often caught out by cru beaujolais. Even after it had been open a week, it was fresh and vibrant. (JH)