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Bordeaux 2017: Côtes de Bordeaux

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

While the Côtes de Bordeaux appellations are varied and diverse, the Grand Cercle tasting back in April showed many wines having good, bold colours in 2017. They displayed attractive fruit and purity. There was also a nice balance to many of the wines with fresh acidities. Despite the frost problems it seemed that many properties had succeeded in making good wines. Blaye, Bourg, Cadillac, Castillon and Francs usually offer some of the best value red wines in Bordeaux and given the generosity this year, even if yields have been reduced, there are many wines to consider. For me Château Alcée [Castillon], Château d’Aiguhile [Castillon], Château Réaut [Cadillac], Château Reynon [Cadillac] and Château Veyry [Castillon] especially stood out, but overall quality felt homogeneous.

The following wines were tasted at the Grand Cercle event at Château La Dauphine in Fronsac in April 2018 as well as at Château Canon-la-Gaffelière and Château Pavie Macquin in St Emilion.

Château Alcée, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Nice healthy looking colour; full and attractive; appealing Merlot aromatics; round and attractive; nice entry on the palate; perfumed notes; nicely balanced with harmony; good palate; finesse. Chocolate notes on the finish. Works well. 14%. [100% Merlot] 90-91+

Château Cap de Faugères, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Mid depth; healthy looking red at edge; full of fruit; pure; little schist yet feels velvety; some leaf; attractive though; nice entry; tension between the rich fruit and the acidity; nicely composed; good texture on the palate; nice depth; quite fine; no blockbuster but has balance. Good. Drink 2023-2028. 88-90.

Château Clos Chaumont, Cadillac, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Bold colour; deep centre; dark core; little vegetal note at first; earthy certainly; emphasis on the beetroot; some cherry; some salinity later in the glass; samples are changing; soft entry; some cassis notes; nice acidity; no coarseness; very easy; elegant; not forced. Again medium bodied but goes for the elegance and harmony – not against the grain of the vintage. Some toasty notes from the oak on the finish. 87-89+

Château Côte Montpezat, Cuvée Compostelle, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

As above but a little less bright; little more stewed fruit tones; opens up for some red fruit and undergrowth; quite attractive; fruit cake spices; little undergrowth and spice; elegant and not forced on the palate; some spices [spicy elegance]; little lacking in depth but pleasant enough and not forced. Works. Drink 2021-2026. 87-89

Château d’Aiguhile, Cotes Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Deep; dark at centre; attractive; full; quite piercing; almost savoury edge; nice fresh entry; really zappy on the palate; has lots of texture; that schist notes; [chalk soils]; this works well; spicy; menthol notes. More than 50% of the crop affected by frost. Second generation grapes used – first harvest 16-17 September, later harvest 8-12 October. Neipperg believes it has the characteristics of 2012 and 2014. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2024-2030. 89-91+

Château de Francs, “Les Cerisiers”, Francs, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Mid depth; dark core; perfume; more reticent than the last few; little earthy note/savoury edge; some wine gum fruit; not the most overt; chewy entry; rather rustic on the palate; will settle but feels a little meagre [frost affected?]; rather austere in the middle and a bit dry. Short on the finish. Drink 2022-2024. 84-86?

Château de Haut Coulon Cadillac, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Deep and saturated colour; legs; tight to the rim; deep purple at edge; little Cabernet Franc lift here; quite savoury; deep; little oak but lots of fruit; seam of fruit on the nose; ripe black cherry; stacked on the nose; lots of fruit; some chew [oak] to integrate; some perfume lift; little extracted and drying on the middle palate but will settle; has style; needs to meld but has potential. Little dry on the finish – early days – more extracted style. Drink 2022-2026. 87-88+

Château Haut Bertinerie, Blaye, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Mid depth; lacks the concentration of colour of the others; lifted; ripe red fruits with some undergrowth; attractive; open and easy to understand; nice soft entry; spicy red fruits; attractive balance; this will work well; not heavy but has gone for balance; easy finish; quite complete; if it lacks concentration it makes up for this in drinkability. Drink 2021-2026. 88-90.

Château Lafitte, Cadillac, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Deepish; purple at edge; plenty of beetroot, ink and iodine; cherry too; ripe lift; opened up with liquorice elements; quite forward; nice entry; has plenty of fruit; sappy; has a fair degree of extraction but this will work; chewy finish but the fruit is sweet and substantial enough. Better length here than ‘15. Drink 2022-2027. 88-90+

Château La Prade, Franc, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Healthy colour; quite masculine; bold ripe fruit; has strength; nicely ripe; quite round and full on the palate; attractive; good finish. Works well. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2022-2027. 89-91

Château Puygueraud, Franc, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Healthy colour; warm fruit; attractive; some spice; texture; nice minerality; some spice; nice body; well done; good acidity and freshness. [63% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec]. Drink 2022-2027. 88-90

Château Réaut Cadillac, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Dark at centre; purple edge; little less depth than 10; spicy; red fruits; some satin; lifted and more elegant than Cap de Faugères and Haut Coulon; opens up wonderfully in the glass; this has complex aromatics; satin; quite sexy; plums, cherry and pain grillé notes; palate has nice cool fruit; this works really well; very nicely done; perfume and plum with some morello cherry notes; nicely balanced. Works well. Has good length on the finish. Excellent wine. Drink 2021-2028. 91-93+

Château Reynon, Cadillac, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Deep at central vibrant purple edge; tight colour; floral; perfumed; attractive purity; nice entry; polished and pure; nicely handled in the cellar; real precision and focus; this is good; has nice balance and harmony; fine; good-ish length. Elegance. Drink 2021-2027. 89-91+

Château Veyry, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Vibrant edge; dark core; again bold colours; nice seam of pure fruit; quite composed; attractive; cab influenced nose; some spices; opens up with a savoury note later; nice entry; texture good; quite a bit of fruit layered in here; works well; nicely balanced; easy again but with more texture and blackcurrant fruit on the finish. Good stuff! 90-91+

Clos Puy Arnaud, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2017

Dark; vibrant edge- opaque centre; strong fruit; little savoury edge; firmer than the others; later the pure cherry and plum fruit came through – opens in the glass; plenty of fruit; not too extracted; has nice balance with the acidity; this should prove a pleasant and refreshing glass of Bordeaux. Not over done in the cellar. Fine. Drink 2022-2027. 88-90+

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