Posts with the label "bordeaux 2017"


The Forgotten Vintage

The Forgotten Vintage

Friday 18th October 2019
by Tom Jenkins

Sandwiched between a pair of excellent vintages, 2017 has always been in danger of becoming an overlooked crop.

It will be remembered unfavourably for the great frost that devastated many vineyards. The first such frost since 1991, the 2017 wave was at least a little more selective. While it ravaged the less auspicious terroirs, it left the best plots on the plateau of Pomerol, the high ground in St Emilion and the vineyards closest to the Gironde unscathed. Apart from this freakish weather in April, the growing season wasn’t that remarkable. The water table was high after spring and early summer rains, then there was a prolonged drought, but the vines were not tested with excessive heat, and there was sufficient moisture in the soils to sustain photosynthesis. So, for those who survived the frost, 2017 was a relatively straightforward year.

Bordeaux 2017: The Wine Advocate’s scores are in

Bordeaux 2017: The Wine Advocate’s scores are in

Monday 30th April 2018
by Tom Jenkins

We thoroughly enjoyed our week tasting 2017s from barrel. We loved the style, the aromatics, the precision and the freshness of the best wines. 

We thought it would be a vintage that would appeal to those who like restraint and charm, dare we say it, something for a European palate (we are still European for the time being…). Lisa Perrotti-Brown, the new Bordeaux correspondence for the influential Wine Advocate is also smitten, awarding three wines 97-100 points and numerous scores into the high nineties. Please find an overview of her thoughts below.

Bordeaux 2017: The Sweeties

Bordeaux 2017: The Sweeties

Saturday 28th April 2018
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

In 2017 the going was hard in Sauternes and Barsac, frost being particularly vindictive in the latter.  

At its most extreme the vintage yielded no Grand Vin at all, Climens, who made just 35 barrels, being the most prominent example in Barsac. The picture in Sauternes was complicated, too, if not always quite as dramatic.  Where frost struck, it struck hard but otherwise there was hope.  Though not untouched by frost Coutet reported that in their best parcels they managed to achieve a pretty healthy 17hl/ha. 

In Tour Blanche, by contrast, they made just fifty barrels.  End of August and early September rains brought on botrytis and the first “tries” were carried out until grey rot started to appear and the harvest stopped.  Warmer, drier weather arrested any further ignoble rot development and concentrated what was left on the vine.  The harvest restarted and largely finished in the second week of October, by which time the berries showed significant concentration.   

Owing to such conditions it is not a straightforward vintage and far from uniform. The challenge was, as ever, to find the right balance in the wines and not simply concentration.  Having enough of the fresher lighter fruit to pick in the early part of the harvest and using the right amount of the later, more concentrated October berries (if you were lucky enough to have any)  was crucial. It cannot be considered a great vintage but there are a clutch of very good wines that show a lovely weighting of richness alcohol and freshness.   

The Vintage Report: Bordeaux 2017 - A Darwinian Vintage

The Vintage Report: Bordeaux 2017 - A Darwinian Vintage

Monday 16th April 2018
by Tom Jenkins

In 2017 there’s no avoiding the ‘F’ word. It has been more than a quarter of a century since frost last devastated a Bordeaux crop, so it is inevitable that this was a major talking point. However, cruel as the frost was on some, it doesn’t really determine the quality of the vintage.

Life isn’t fair and neither is nature. As the earth gets warmer, flowering gets earlier, and the risk of frost damage becomes greater. Not many winemakers can recall the frosts of 1991 first hand, but their legacy is still haunting. When the meteorologists predicted a cold blast on the nights of the 27th and 28th of April, there was a genuine sense of panic. Most with the means deployed bougies, wind turbines, helicopters, lit hay, took whatever measures they could - the rest left it to chance.

Bordeaux 2017: A Problem of Perception

Bordeaux 2017: A Problem of Perception

Monday 12th February 2018
by Tom Jenkins

2017 is probably the most misunderstood and poorly represented vintage we can recall. Before a single grape had been picked, major broadsheets were taking swipes at the poor old '17s. 

It’s true, many vignerons were left heartbroken after the frost of the 27th of April. The unlucky ones had their entire crops wiped out, but in parallel with life itself, the most fortunate, through a mixture of toil and often just good luck, went unscathed. And for those who had a crop, there was everything to play for. But good news doesn’t sell newspapers; the pejorative voices of the press would rather declare this the ‘worst vintage since 1945’. Those who’ve tasted Mouton `45 are probably pricking their ears up… Negative terminology has created a huge misunderstanding. 2017 is a very simple vintage, it’s about the haves and have nots. You either have a crop, and judging by what we have tasted, it’s a very smart crop, or you have nothing, which is a travesty for many small growers. ‘Worst’ in terms of quantity, by all means, but don’t allow this sweeping statement to influence your view of the quality.