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Bordeaux 2017 In Bottle Reviews

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

2017’s a funny old vintage in Bordeaux. It feels to me like this year is the least successful of the past decade, assuming we forget about the washout 2013 vintage. That’s not to say that there aren’t a number wines that are really impressive now that the 2017s are in bottle. Last October’s annual Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux tasting in London showed some excellent wines in Pomerol and St Emilion, perhaps more so than in the other communes, but there were fine wines to be found in all the appellations. That said many lacked a bit of charm, seemed somewhat austere and lacked mid-palate concentration. Yes, they are fresh. Yes, the acidity is bright and some have a decent zap about them, but, overall, it’s hardly a vintage that sets the pulse racing. The same couldn’t be said for the experience that the vignerons themselves faced in the early part of the growing season in 2017 when devastating frosts wiped out entire crops in St Emilion and Pomerol and did much damage elsewhere, notably in parts of Pessac-Léognan and the Haut-Médoc. Some properties didn’t make any wine at all. It was certainly a nerve-jangling time for growers. Looked in that light, perhaps we must actually see 2017 as something of a success.

The UGCB tasting in London last October was an opportunity to look at the wines of the left bank in more detail as I had focused more attention on the right bank during my primeurs tastings back in 2018. I’ll be publishing notes by commune over the next few days, but I just want to share the highlights below – wines I’ve marked 93/100 and above. They actually start with wines from St Emilion, where, despite the damaging frosts, many properties have managed to make some of the vintage’s most memorable wines.


Château Figeac, Premier Grand Cru Classé St Emilion, 2017

Deeply coloured; lovely Cabernet style from this wonderful property; cool coffee bean and blackcurrant aromatics; stylish; great texture on the palate; really rich extract with very nicely judged extraction; very fine. One of the wines of the tasting for me. Beautifully long finish and lovely texture to the tannins. Drink 2023-2037. Tasted October ’19. 96

Clos Fourtet, Premier Grand Cru Classé St Emilion, 2017

Lovely colour; really fresh looking; almost opaque at centre; very clean and pure aromatics; reminds me of Larcis Ducasse in ’17; plummy and perfumed fruit; some spices; very good indeed; these fruit characters continue on the palate; very caressing; lovely finish again. Terrific wine in any vintage context, exceptionally so in this year. Tasted October ’19. Drink 2024-2040. 96

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

Bold colour; wonderfully pure plummy fruit; fresh, pure and clean as a whistle; very caressing on the palate – this property often manages a satin quality from the sun drenched slops of the Côte Pavie. Lovely depth and length here. An excellent 2017. Tasted October ’19. Drink 2024-2040. 94+

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

Deep and dark; bold aromatics; layered and concentrated; dark fruits; plums, black fruits; texture to the tannins; very satisfying with no hint of over-extraction despite the evident concentration; bags of fruit here; powerful. Warm finish. Tasted Oct ’19. Drink 2025-2045. 95+

Château Valandraud, Premier Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion, 2017

Deep and dense; inky and attractive; glossy style to the fruit; great depth to the wine; black fuits; plums; some resin and ink; lots going on here. Excellent length. An impressive effort from the idiosyncratic and passionate Jean-Luc Thunevin. Tasted Oct ’19. Drink 2022-2040. 94+


Château Clinet, Pomerol, 2017

Mid depth; stylish; creamy, perfumed fruit; plums; chocolate; attractive palate; nicely extracted fruit that is fresh, pure and has plenty of grip; this is stylish Pomerol that is decidedly serious. [92% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon].  Tasted Oct ’19. Drink 2023-2037. 94+

Château La Conseillante, Pomerol 2017

Mid depth; glossy in the glass; fresh plums and fruit; works really well; summer fruit compote notes; real joy on the palate; one of the wines of this UGCB tasting. Good length and fresh finish with grip on the end. Tasted Oct ’19. Drink 2023-2040. 95+


Château Brane Cantenac, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2017

Mid depth; fresh purple at edge; pretty, lifted blackcurrant aromatics; attractive; plums beneath; nice cool entry to the palate; real substance here; good structure; this is serious Margaux; good stuff!! Good finish. Feels complete and has good length. Tasted October ’19. Drink 2023-3035. 93+


Château Léoville Barton, Grand Cru Classé, St Julien, 2017

Bright lively colour; depth and tight to rim; aromatics a little brooding at first but evident depth; blackcurrant cassis unfurls on aeration; entry on the palate nice and cool with genuine depth, concentration and purity; works very well. Super length. Tasted October ’19. Drink 2027-2040. 93+

Château Léoville Poyferré, Grand Cru Classé, St Julien, 2017

Deep; intense blackcurrant aromatics; creamy; deep; great texture on the palate although this remains a pent up and currently a bit tight; lots of blackcurrant fruit and freshness; little backward on the day. Tasted October ’19. Drink 2027-2040. 93

Château St Pierre, Grand Cru Classé, St Julien, 2017

Deep colour again [like sibling Gloria]; lovely aromatics; tobacco, earth, blackcurrants, pain grille tones; spices; palate has great depth of fruit; there is a bit of chew to the tannins but there is a lot of matter here. Really good St Julien. Fresh. Surely no-one overlooks St Pierre these days? Tasted October ’19. Drink 2027-2040. 94+


Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2017

Mid-depth; fresh look; clean and fresh blackcurrant aromas; some pencil and graphite; good texture on the palate, this is spot-on Pauillac as usual; complete and well-balanced on the palate. Leafy blackcurrant finish. Tasted October ’19. Drink 2023-2040. 93+

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