There is a steady stream of new 2017 releases from Bordeaux. Besides a few miniscule right bank cuvées, nothing has sold out quickly and a few châteaux have been too bullish with prices. We have, however, identified some excellent buys:
Château Labégorce is a humble Cru Bourgeois that has recently has been performing at Grand Cru Classé level. It is our best value pick so far ‘a finely made Margaux that should age well over the next 15 to 20 years’ according to Neal Martin.
Once again, Langoa Barton is solid in 2017 and offers classic styling, longevity and excellent value. The reviews are a touch more positive than Lagrange, Branaire and Talbot which will all be around the same price.
Pape Clément is definitely one of the more modern-styled Pessacs, but shows a sense of classicism in 2017. With a high percentage Cabernet Sauvignon it is ‘One of the more powerful, concentrated wines in the vintage’ says Jeb Dunnuck, who now tastes for his own publication.
Two other popular châteaux, Malartic-Lagravière and Branaire-Ducru have been released around our estimates.
- Prices are quoted as Rand/bottle
- En-primeurwines will be out for delivery in 2020
- VAT and delivery charges payable
- Minimum 6-bottle order per wine
- JR: Jancis Robinson, WS: Wine Spectator, Dec: Decanter, NM: Neal Martin, WA: Wine Advocate, TA: Tim Atkin MW, JS: James Suckling
- See our terms and conditions
Bordeaux 2017 talking points:
- A concentrated, classically styled, long-term vintage from dry growing conditions, comparable to 2012.
- Variable quantities due to the frosts and less made available to the market.
- Top châteaux have made brilliant wines.
- Robert Parker has no more say in primeurand the châteaux set prices according to a basket of critics.
- Buying 2017 en-primeur is a speculative purchase and if price reductions are not significant, the wines are unlikely to appreciate in the short term.
Email Roland@winecellar.co.za to place your order
Labégorce, Margaux 2017 – R 331
The 2017 Labégorce was picked 15 September to 4 October and matured in 45% new oak. It has a perfumed bouquet with rose petal and violet aromas infusing the dark cherry and raspberry pastille notes. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin and a fine line of acidity. There is some vanillary oak to be subsumed during the élevage, wood tannins just lining the mouth on the aftertaste. But this is a finely made Margaux that should age well over the next 15 to 20 years. – Neal Martin, 90-92 points
A juicy and rich red with lots of fruit and wet-earth character. Medium to full body, ripe tannins and a fresh finish. – James Suckling, 92-93 points
Langoa Barton, Saint-Julien 2017 – R 577
The 2017 Langoa Barton was picked from 15 to 18 September with respect to the Merlot and from 22 to 29 September for the Cabernets, matured in 60% new oak. It has a ripe, brine-tinged bouquet, not complex compared to previous vintages, but pure and developing light smoke and truffle scents with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with quite sharp tannin to create a tensile Langoa-Barton, saline with moderate depth, just a touch of pencil lead that surfaces towards the finish. It is exactly what I expected, which is a good thing given the track record of this Saint-Julien. – Neal Martin, 90-92 points
This is very solid and tannic with a beautiful core of blueberries, blackcurrants and other blue fruits. Crushed stones, to boot. Full body and a flavorful finish. Serious for the vintage. – James Suckling, 93-94 points
Malartic-Lagravière, Pessac-Léognan Rouge 2017 – R 603
The 2017 Malartic Lagravière Rouge has a precise and focused bouquet with blackberry, briary and mineral scents that gain intensity with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with firm, grippy tannin. This is a more masculine and structured Malartic-Lagravière that might lack the sophistication of recent vintages but delivers fine depth towards the finish. Hopefully the élevage will soften up the edges to make this more approachable by the time it is bottled. 2021 – 2040. – Neal Martin, 90-92 points
A firm and silky wine with a creamy freshness and firm tannins. Dark berries and wet earth. Medium to full body. Linear and tight. – James Suckling, 92-93 points
Branaire-Ducru, Saint-Julien 2017 – R 625
The 2017 Branaire Ducru was picked 13 September until 4 October over a three-week period, cropped at 39.6hl/ha. The alcohol here is 13.2°. The wine is aged in 60% new oak, which is how the sample was made. It has a harmonious bouquet with brambly black fruit, melted tar and tobacco scents, not powerful but precise. The palate is medium-bodied with a smooth texture, fine tannin, just a subtle savory note developing and merging nicely with the black fruit, hints of white pepper and cedar towards the poised finish that is quintessential Saint-Julien. There is an essence of drinkability about this Branaire-Ducru and I can imagine this being approachable after three to four years. This is a very fine Branaire-Ducru. Drink 2021-2040. – Neal Martin, 91-93 points
This is very tight and focused with a precise depth of blackberry and blueberry fruit. Full body, melted tannins and a fresh and vivid finish. Shows a compacted style. – James Suckling, 92-93 points
Pape Clément, Pessac-Léognan Rouge 2017 – R 1,138
The 2017 Pape Clément was not touched by the frost and was picked from 15 September to 3 October, manually de-stemmed berry by berry with some of the ripe stems added back into the blend (like Les Carmes Haut-Brion down the road). Malolactic is done in barrel where it aged for 18 months. It offers intense black cherry, raspberry, fig and sous-bois scents on the nose, tightly coiled at the moment with just a hint of cedar and tobacco. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe tannin, a mixture of red and black fruit, touches of cedar and white pepper, leading to a structured and fresh finish that leaves a spicy aftertaste. Classic in style, this Pape Clément will benefit from several years in bottle. 2022 – 2045. – Neal Martin, 92-94 points
This is very dense for the vintage on the center palate and then rolls out on the palate. Full-bodied, tight and tannic. Very polished and refined at the end. Precise. A little more cabernet sauvignon in the blend gives this the tension. – James Suckling, 95-96 points