2017 Bordeaux En Primeur
Pre-order the top wines
Pre-order the wines
Beautifully balanced claret that’s fragrant and intense yet fresh
In the many years that we have been visiting Bordeaux to taste the new vintage we have never encountered a year quite like 2017. The vintage will forever be associated with the frost of 27th and 28th April, the most destructive in more than a quarter of a century, which ravaged some fine vineyards. Angludet, Grand Corbin Despagne, La Pointe and Climens, for example, heartbreakingly for them, have produced no 2017. In complete contrast all the classic Médoc vineyards that sit on gravel slopes beside the Gironde have made a full crop of marvellous wine, benefitting from the precocity of vine growth which made many others vulnerable. Top châteaux of the Pomerol plateau and on the limestone ridge beside the town of Saint-Emilion were similarly largely untouched by frost damage, and produced beautifully ripe grapes.
The result is that we found some wonderfully fragrant wines with beautiful balance, displaying intensity and fresh, long-lasting flavour. They have the structure to ensure long life, but tannins are soft and silky, so some will be approachable relatively young. Top Médocs are completely dominated by cabernet sauvignon, which is their trump card in great years. Pomerol produced glorious full fragrant but fresh merlot.
All in all 2017 was a vintage which demanded close observation, good decision making, hard work and the luck to have frost-free vines. But the happy result is a group of lovely fragrant clarets with depth of flavour and class, and a very promising future.
We encourage you to place an order as soon as possible as, once a particular wine’s price has been established, no more pre-orders will be taken for that wine.
It was a roller coaster of a year after the April frost. A hot June was punctuated by a heavy dose of rain which helped the vines to endure one of the driest July and August periods ever, although, paradoxically, temperatures were below the seasonal average. More rain in September helped and enhanced maturation of cabernet sauvignon, though some earlier-picked merlot was diluted. On the right bank however, merlots were splendid but cabernet franc tended to suffer, and the less-planted cabernet sauvignon came into its own.
Predicting what individual château owners will decide when setting their prices is notoriously difficult. Factors that they take into consideration are, in no particular order, the quality of the vintage, the size of the crop, the state of the macro economy, global levels of demand for Bordeaux, their stock holdings of previous vintages, and what the neighbours are charging. But our guess is that prices will be down on last year, and possibly on the previous year.
We anticipate our main offer of 2017s, which will include a broader range of reds, dry whites and sweet wines, to be mailed and available online during in June. The mailing date depends entirely upon how quickly the Bordelais release their prices.