2017 Bordeaux En Primeur
Published by Paul Williamson on 06/04/2018
The Roberson Fine Wine team will be relocating to Bordeaux for a week from Monday 9th April to meet suppliers, producers and get to grips with the upcoming 2017 releases. Private Client Manager Paul Williamson will be recording his day by day impressions of the vintage.
Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss buying opportunities for the 2017 Bordeaux Primeurs. If you are in search of specific chateaux please do let us know and we will endeavour to meet your requests.
To sum up our impressions of the 2017 vintage there are two descriptions which dominated our tasting notes. Freshness and purity.
Before arriving there seemed to be a lot of scepticism in the press and the trade. The frost damage and the rain around harvest time was what dominated the chat. Tasting as many wines as possible has been extremely useful as there are certainly ups and downs, but there are plenty of really great quality wines to be found.
While the frost damage was indiscriminate it appears the better plots near the Gironde or on higher ground have been spared.
Where the wines are good there is superb balance. Fresh, pure fruit backed up by smooth tannins and a bright, refreshing acidity. While the fruit concentration may be a bit less intense than 2015 or 2016, the 2017s have a classic elegance and charm. They should be approachable a little earlier and provide seriously delicious drinking if chosen wisely.
That’s where our week of tasting will come into use. Our round up of the best wines to buy will follow soon.
We spent the day today in St-Emilion and Pomerol. And what a pleasant surprise, many of the wines are open and delicious. What has become clear is that while the right bank has been affected by the frost, the most heavily affected areas are those on the lower slopes. The second wines of top chateaux, and those of petits chateaux, are made from the vines in these low lying areas. This means that in many cases the top wines on the right bank have not lost much yield at all.
There are many gorgeous, fresh, fragrant and balanced wines to be found, They might not have the big tannins and opulence of 2015 and 2016 but what they lack in big structure they brilliantly make up for with superb tension. What I mean by tension is the perfect balance between smooth tannins, fruit concentration and zingy acidity. The best wines absolutely sing with energy on the palate.
This is a vintage to get excited about not in the same way as say 2009 or 2016, but for perhaps really superb younger drinking wines. That doesnt make them lesser wines. They are truly vibrant and delicious.
As we had expected, 2017 appears not to be a homogeneous vintage. There is certainly quality to be found but it needs a bit of digging. That is what we are here to do!
So far quality seems to be high in Pauillac, St-Julian, St-Estephe and Pomerol. Margaux is very hit and miss, but some chateaux have made gorgeous wines. Some of the Haut-Medoc wines are fabulous. There will be value gems to be found there like Cantemerle and Lanessan.
There is still a lot to taste and I’m sure our impressions will change over the week, but lots to be positive about so far.
Early signs suggest that 2017 is a vintage where our taste buds will need to be really in tune and where being on the ground, tasting as many wines as possible, and speaking to those directly involved in the winemaking, will be hugely beneficial. Reports are suggesting that while there is very good quality to be found, it may need deeper searching than what was required for the 2015s and 2016s.
2017 could be a vintage where the skills of the viticulturalists and the winemakers and the quality of individual terroirs are put into sharp focus. At Roberson we strive to be independent and that includes giving honest, impartial purchasing advice. We won't offer any wines which we don't feel provide good value and high quality for you, the end buyer. Our focus will be to find the best wines of the vintage across the spectrum.
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