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Bordeaux 2017: St Emilion

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

 

There are some excellent wines in St Emilion this year. While the 2017 vintage will always be remembered for the severe April frost, unlike 1991, that other frost affected year, there are a great many impressive wines in the appellation [and the same could never be said for ‘91]. Still the frost has created inconsistency, affecting the blends of some, reducing the volumes for many, and wiping out vineyards for others. Interestingly critic Antonio Gallioni has called 2017 a right bank year. Certainly many of the top wines here are really good, friendlier perhaps that the correct reds on the left bank, even though the left bankers technically profited more from the growing season. Yet as Cyrille Thienpont at Pavie Macquin pondered, ‘It is not really a case of left bank versus right this year, or Merlot versus Cabernet, more a question of which terroirs performed best.”

The following notes and scores are broadly in alphabetical order. They are complied from individual châteaux tastings that I have already published on the blog as well as larger peer group tastings held by Jean-Luc Thunevin, Hubert de Boüard Consulting and the Grand Cercle. Hope you find them helpful, especially now that most of the 2017 St Emilion reds have been released. There are a few significant omissions in the notes as a shorter schedule this year meant that I missed out on Cheval Blanc, Bélair-Monange, Pavie, Pavie Decesse and Clos Fourtet. I hope to taste these wines and others shortly, and will update the blog when I do. Overall there are many enjoyable and vibrant wines from St Emilion to consider, where the price is right.

Château Angélus, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, ‘A’, 2017

Deep and black; legs; colour tight to the rim; earthy purple edge; deep and saturated; bold aromas; pure with savoury notes; [real savoury notes this year]; some violet lift from the oak and perfumed fruit; sweet entry; to a degree easy on the mid-palate; not gone for power but supple elegance; works for me; has chew and depth; warmth on the finish too. [70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 8/4/18. Drink 2023-2040. 94-96+

Château Barrail Saint André, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Deep and saturated looking; glossy; more vibrant purple at edge; nice purity; clean and attractive fruit flavours; quite Bordeaux; nicely done; nice stone fruits; good entry; pure fruit; some oak influence to meld; but I like the fruit here; little oak on the finish. Dries a bit. Needs to settle. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2022-2027. 87-89+

Château Beauséjour [Héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse], St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deep core; healthy colour; very pure fruit; clean; layered; love the purity here; quite crystalline; ripe entry; really clean and attractive; lush too; polished; very curved; no hard edges at all; lovely palate; great length; nice tension between the texture and the acid. Almost Grand Cru Burgundy. [88% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 8/4/18 at Pavie Macquin. Drink 2024-2040. 95-97

Château Bellefont Belcier, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deep and attractive; tight to edge; polished; lovely intense aromatics; layered and impressive; black fruits; plums; nice purity; attractive; lots of flesh in the middle; will work very well. Real mouthful but caressing and pure. Nice twist at the end. Good length. Some espresso on finish. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2022-2035. 92-94+

Château Bellevue, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deep and saturated look; colour tight to the rim; fresh and deep aromatics; plums and black cherry but zap too; some violet lift; attractive and sweet but also sour cherry; nice combination; ripe entry to the fruit; has depth but ripe and open; not gone for extraction but for openness; little lacking in density in the middle but good; nice finish; will doubtless fill out further but like the zap and energy on the finish. Great length! [100% Merlot]. Tasted 8/4/18. Drink 2022-2033. 93-94+

Château Berliquet, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Mid depth; dark at core; lovely perfume; purity; and precise; attractive; nice acidity and tension on the palate; will age well; nice acidity; supple fruit; tannin; [50% new oak, 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 14% alc, pH 3.59, 30hl/ha]. Tasted 7.4.18 at Canon. Drink 2023-2032. 91-92+

Château Canon, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Nice healthy colour; earthy purple at the edge; very attractive; perfumed; nice freshness; floral; nice supple fruit on the entry; elegant; with schist notes plus the pure fruit; nice freshness and texture; very good length; very good wine. [33% of production, 56% new oak, 77% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 14% pH 3.66, 42hl/ha]. Tasted 7/4/18 at Canon. Drink 2024-2037. 94-95+

Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deep and good colour; tight to the edge; earthy purple; savoury notes; the influence of the Cabernets but this is an integrated nose; sweet entry; very spicy, with schist; quite zappy; real zap on the finish. Will work very well. [60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, harvest 18/9-10/10, 16 hl/ha, cuvaison 30 days, 55% new oak, organic]. Tasted 7/4/18 at Canon-la-Gaffelière. Drink 2025-2035. 93-95

Carillon d’Angélus, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Mid red/purple; dark at centre; not as tight to the rim as Angélus below; lovely open nose; violets; plums; lovely pain grillé tones with ripe plum lift; nice seam of fruit; nice entry; cool; sweet but layered with lovely cool fruit and violet notes; this works really well – one pf the most forward Carillons I’ve had from memory. Quite intense; impressive; inky finish. Some chew and coffee on the back end. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 8/4/18 at Angélus. Drink 2023-2035. 92-94.

Croix Canon, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Deep and healthy looking; fresh and clean; very Bordeaux; nicely pure; vibrant fruit; nice entry; good depth; clean – crystal clear; very fresh and precise; nicely integrated tannins; good finish – little short on the finish but will fill out during elévage. [66% of production, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc 14% alc, pH 3.66, 30% new oak, 42hl/ha]. Tasted 7/4/18 at Canon. Drink 2022-2027. 89-91+

Château Daugay, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Nice healthy red purple at edge; full and sweet; quite Bordeaux; like this; has freshness; some leaf and undergrowth but real satin and red fruit notes; soft entry; sweet and ripe; full; easy on the palate; nice full fruit and flavour; good extract; has length. [74% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted 8/4/18. Drink 2020-30. 89-91+

Château de Pressac, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deep and arterial; opaque at centre; ripe figs; super ripe plums; boatload of fruit on thenose; very full; palate sweet and ripe; very full; lots of fruit; quite supple tannin [plenty of it]; nice chew and extract; good finish. Good stuff. Tasted 7.4.18 at Jean Luc Thunevin. Drink 2023-2030. 91-93+  [Earlier note]. Deep and intense; saturated at centre; dark core; lots of plum jam; quite unctuous; lots of ripe fruit; will work out nicely; creamy plummy notes; some dark chocolate; feeling of being quite ripe and full; like this; black cherry; dark chocolate; packed without feeling extracted; works well; lacks some tension at the end. Soft finish. This sample could do with more fizz at the end. [74% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Carmenere, 1% Malbec.]. Tasted 8.4.18 at de Pressac. Drink 2023-2028. 89-91+

Château du Parc, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Some purple at edge; sat core; gutsy fruit; quite rich; some marzipan; and fruitcake; but little streak of green too; full, rather puckering fruit; feels a bit one dimensional and over extracted; chewy palate that is a little disjointed; will probably settle but lacks finesse. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Grand Cercle 8.4.18. Drink 2022-2026. 84-86?

Château Ferrand, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deep and saturated; dark at core; lots of violet and plum fruit on the nose; little wood; some jam; quite attractive and ripe; little more on the briary fruits; sweet spicy fruit; attractive; full; lacks a little complexity and had some wood influence. Soft finish but plenty of fruit and chew. Works overall well. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted de Boüard 8.4.18. Drink 2023-2030. 89-91

Château Fleur Cardinale, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deep and saturated; colour tight to the rim; lovely liquorice; lots of black fruit; intense; nice mouthful; really well balanced on the mid palate; lacks a little depth on the end. Nicely balanced. Tiny production [1000 magnums to be sold en primeur as frost affected]. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2023-2030. 90-91+

Château Fombrauge, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deep and saturated look; tight to edge; full; fruitcake spices; chocolate notes; intense and full; very good; nice entry; ripe fruit; sweet; some chocolate and plum tones; quite a lot of extract; some oak on the mid palate; chew on the finish but this will work nicely. Very good stuff. Tasted 7.4.18. Drink 2023-2028. 91-93+ [Earlier note] Deep and saturated colour; tight to the rim; lovely black cherry and dark plum; some oak influence in the smoky notes; lots of fruit; full; ripe black fruits; plenty of flesh; quite gutsy style again; extracted but not overly so; plenty of flesh; nice chew; warm-ish finish. Yields 40% down. [16 months, 40% new oak, 60% one year old]. Blend 93% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Pape Clément 5/4/18. Drink 2023-2028. 91-93+

Château Haut-Brisson, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Deep and dark; opaque at centre; legs; chocolate; black fruits; jam beneath; saturated; creamy entry; little lacking in complexity; full; little undergrowth; little short on the finish but should fill out. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2021-2027. 88-90

Château Haut-Sarpe, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Mid depth; earthy purple at edge; ripe merlot; some fruitcake notes; quite deep; coffee on the edge; ripe and little raisin note; quite clean and pure; will work; some chocolate on the finish; some warmth. Good solid St Emilion. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted de Bouard Consulting. Drink 2023-2028. 87-89

Château Haut-Segottes, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Deeper; dark at core; intense looking; legs; full; perfumed fruit; some cream and cool black fruits; quite seductive; jolie; little schist; little beetroot note; could be the Cabernet Franc; feels quite packed though; fresher than you’d expect; elegant palate but fresh acidity. Eleagnt and vibrant style. Acid in the finish. Little puckering at very end but will doubtless round out. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted de Boüard 8.4.18. Drink 2022-2026. 86-88.

Château Jean Voisin, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Deep at centre; earthy red at edge; solid and full; some bright, fresh cherry emerges; spicy; some texture; chew; but not over cooked; works; has sufficient flesh; spicy; robust St Emilion. Gutsy. Little drying on the finish. [100% Merlot]. Tasted at de Boüard 8.4.18. Drink 2023-2028. 86-88+

Château Larcis Ducasse, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Nice attractive colour; vibrant at edge; deep core; warm and attractive; silky aromatics; nice and round palate; easy and has elegance; harmonious; nice texture; round; nice fresh acidity. Will be approachable early. The vineyard was unaffected by frost. [92% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 8/4/18 at Pavie Macquin. Drink 2024-2032. 94-95+

Château La Croix Labrie, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Deep at core; earthy purple at edge; red fruits; on the jammy and unctuous; jam; lifted; ripe and sweet entry; attractive fruit; elegant; goen for harmony; lacks a bit of acicdity; on the raspberry jam spectrum; some cholate and chew on the finish. [96% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted at de Boüard. Drink 2022-2028. 88-90

Château La Fleur d’Arthus, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Mid depth; cherry plum Merlot; quite fruit forward but has purity and freshness; like this; very Bordeaux; pure; sweet entry; some chew; some schist and wet rock; has sap and chew; dips in the middle but has texture. Ambitious. [100% Merlot]. Tasted Grand Cercle 8.4.18. Drink 2022-2030. 90-92

Château La Marzelle, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Bold and arterial; really deep and dense; tight to rim; attractive fruit; lovely layers; really nice fruit; good sap; nicely done; needs to settle a little; lacks some stuffing on the very end but I’d expect this to fill out during elévage. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2022-2030. 90-92+

La Mondotte, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deep and saturated; tight to the edge; liquorice; lush and flattering; really glossy; some sublimated characters; really nicely done on the palate; this works very well; very caressing; nice extraction; lovely wine; not affected by the frost. 8% of vin de presse in the blend. Brilliant stuff! [70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, harvest 14/9-29/9 cuvaison 30 days, 60% new oak, 4.5ha in production, yield 26hl/ha, organic]. Tasted 7/4/18 at Canon-la-Gaffelière. Drink 2025-2040. 95-97+

Château Le Castelot, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Red at edge; lacks the depth of the best; loose at rim by comparison; spicy red fruits; lifted; some undergrowth; strawberry notes; easy and open; soft; attractive; early drinking; will be good for that; easy; some spices, red fruit and undergrowth; finishes OK; lacks concentration but round. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted de Bouard 8.4.18. Drink 2023-2028. 87-88

Château Le Prieuré, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deep and arterial; lovely pure cool fruit; seductive for me; nice schist and mineral notes; good fruit tones; attractive; needs to infill a little. There is sufficient extract at the back to suggest it will. Works very well overall. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2022-2030. 91-93+

Château Les Gravières, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Deep black; arterial; nice fruit; some undergrowth and pain grille notes; plums and dark cherry; some black cherry; plum and dark chocolate; ripe fruit. Big. Easy. Works well. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2022-2025. 87-88+

Lynsolence, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Vibrant looking; earthy edge; pent up; nice layers but little reticent at first; some ink; potentially quite like this; mineral at edge; intense and inky palate; has texture and concentration; inky palate but works; little dry on the finish but ambitious – I wonder if too extracted? Be interested to see how this develops. [100% Merlot]. Tasted Grand Cercle 8.4.18. Drink 2023-2028. 86-90?

Château Magrez-Fombrauge, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Black and opaque at centre; tight to edge; very sublimated red fruits; some strawberry and raspberry; little dark chocolate; plenty of fruit; lashings of fruit and oak but also some life and texture on this; it’s a statement as always but works. Chocolate and mocha notes on the finish – along with a fair bit of alcohol. Tasted 7.4.18 at Jean-Luc Thunevin. Drink 2023-2030. 92-94+ [Earlier note] Black and arterial; tight to the edge; lots of black fruit; liquorice notes; some leather too; plums beneath it; deep; quite profound; ripe fruit; lots of oak but very nicely integrated; layered; plums, very ripe black cherry; integrated oak. Parcels in Saint-Hippolyte amounting to 2ha plot. [60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Pape Clément 5/4/18. 93-95

Château Montlabert, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Mid depth; cherry lift with dark chocolate notes on the nose; ripe and quite lifted; perfumed; fine; cool entry; very nice layer/seam of fruit; works well; layered; and really quite focused; some extraction but there is the texture to make it work; finishes nicely with some espresso note son the finish; dark chocolate; very promising. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted de Boüard Consulting. Drink 2023-2032. 90-92+

Château Moulin du Cadet, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Bold colour; more raspberry, strawberry and unctuous notes; some jam; more lifted; nice fruit; plenty of it; needs to integrated with the wood but all there; like this; will be forward and lush; needs to fill out the end; nice tension and grip on the finish. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2023-2028. 88-90+

Château Patris, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Deep and saturated core; earthy red; deeper; spicy; opens up with some jam beneath; spicy palate with some mint and menthol; this is the Cab influence; little earthy streak here; inky; not dry or seemingly over extracted. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2021-2025. 87-88

Château Pavie Macquin, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deeper; bolder; more evidently powerful than Larcis; some liquorice notes; very full; some sublimated tones; this works well; black fruits; nice seam of fruit; nice lush fruit; works well on the palate; full; savoury; extract; some mocha notes on the finish; very nice texture, nice extract and weight; good length. Like this very much. [80% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted 8/4/18 at Pavie Macquin. Drink 2025-2037. 95-96+

Château Rol Valentin, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Colour tight to the edge; nice sappy fruit; has some cream; some perfume; good stuff; nice Cabernet Franc influence; nice entry; clean; elegant; has purity and some perfume but all nicely integrated; quite nice texture on the palate with good intensity and nice length. This is impressive St Emilion for the vintage. Like this. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Grand Cercle. Drink 2022-2032. 90-92+

Château Roylland, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Mid depth; some nice stone fruits; easy; attractive fruit; ripe; soft; has some texture; not overly worked; works well as St Emilion Grand Cru; has some texture; little short on the finish. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Grand Cercle 8.4.18. Drink 2022-2026. 86-88

Château Sansonnet, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deep and saturated look; lovely fruit; like the fruitcake and spicy plum style; quite concentrated but this looks good; nice sweet entry; plenty of flesh – but good acidity and structure. Will work well. Nice sap at the end of the palate. Works well. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2023-2030. 91-93+

Château Soutard-Cadet, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Bold colour; opaque at centre; ripe black fruits; plums; little fig; some spice but very layered and pent up; nice sweet entry; fruit is really engaging; mid weight and nicely judged; little drying on the end but should round out. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2022-2027. 89-91+

Château Tour St Christophe, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Very saturated; lovely lifted ripe raspberry jam; very seductive and upfront; unctuous by definition; lovely caressing fruit; quite elegant in the middle; not overdone; quite dry on the finish. Palate needs to settle [it will!]. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2021-2027. 87-89

Château Valandraud, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deep and saturated; opaque at centre; lovely legs; almost doesn’t fall from the glass; really polished and precise on the nose; deep, almost profoundly so; seems like a great vintage here judging from this glass; perfume; violets; lovely layered aromatics; seam of beautiful fruit; excellent stuff; palate has real creamy mouth feel with evident structure and supple tannins; plenty of middle here; quite caressing at the back end; lovely texture overall; excellent stuff. Lovely length. A beauty. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2022-2035 94-96+

Château Villemaurine, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Deep but less concentrated at the edge than some; vibrant at the rim; nice aromatic purity; some perfume; attractive, plummy St Emilion; full entry; sweet attack; ripe and nice texture; some dark chocolate and plum notes; zappy; works well. Nicely done. Good finish. Some chew at the back. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted de Boüard Consulting 8/4/18. Drink 2023-2032. 91-93+

Virginie de Valandraud, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Deep and saturated; opaque; less tight to rim than the grand vin; lovely pure fruit; really lovely seam of fruit here; some mocha tones; opens up; lovely and unctuous; really sexy in the glass; sweet entry; not quite as big as the nose suggests; quite supple texture; works a treat; has a certain elegance; nice length on the finish. Works well. Lots of red fruits [strawberry] along with some black. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2020-2025. 90-92+

Clos Badon, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017

Lovely colours; lots of depth; saturated style; jam packed with fruit;  saturated; lovely fruit and lots of it; nicely done with the ok; plenty of guts and chew; lots of extract to settle. Powerful stuff. Volume seriously affected by frost but the quality looks good. Tasted 7.4.18 at JLT. Drink 2022-2027. 90-91

Clos des Jacobins, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Mid depth; some graduation; savoury; intense; ripe; little liquorice note; full; nicely polished; good use of oak; perfume; plums; nicely fresh though; nice entry; sweet and ripe; lovely fruit here; this works well; ripe and full; easy and not at all extracted or tannic but has plushness; fraction short on the finish but has vitality. Works. Tasted at JLT 7.4.18. Drink 2023-2032. 90-92+

Clos de l’Oratoire, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017

Glossy colour; red at edge; purple; round; has that silky aspect; red fruits; sweet entry; unctuous; satin and silk; has schist; notes; good length and acidity; really zest on the back. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, harvest 26/9-2/10, 11hl/ha, cuvaison 30 days, 50% new oak]. Tasted 7/4/18. Drink 2023-2030. 91-93+

 

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