With no releases last week due to the Hong Kong Vinexpo, there has been a steady flow of 2017s early this week. With a 25% decrease in price on the…

With no releases last week due to the Hong Kong Vinexpo, there has been a steady flow of 2017s early this week.

With a 25% decrease in price on the 2016, and having produced one of the wines of the vintage, Pichon Comtesse de Lalande is by far the best-buy. The important critics have scored it a potential 95 points and Neal Martin compares it to the sensational 1996 and 2010.

‘It is a very ‘Pauillac’ Pichon Lalande, less opulent and giving than recent vintages’, says Neal Martin. The Réserve de la Comtesse is a very solid second wine and offers serious value.


Another strong release is the Lafon-Rochet, whose yield was down 35% due to the frost. It is once again one of the most classically-styled wines in Bordeaux and deserves long ageing.

D’Issan and Calon-Ségur are two Wine Cellar favourites and are two elegant wines for the long-haul. Calon-Ségur is really a super-second, but at a discounted price. The 2017 is cheaper than any vintage on the market and, for the moment, we can only fulfil pre-orders.

Giscours, Gruaud Larose and Brane-Cantenac are also all offered above estimates. See the full list here.


  • Prices are quoted as Rand/bottle
  • En-primeur wines 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 primeur and 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

Tasting notes:

Réserve de la Comtesse, Pauillac 2017 – R 536
The 2017 Réserve de la Comtesse, which is matured in 30% new oak and 70% one-year old, has a really quite beautiful bouquet with perfumed blackberry, blueberry and subtle vanilla scents. The palate is medium-bodied with just a little sinew on the entry. There is certainly good weight and backbone here, quite saline compared to its peers with a slightly chalky finish with a touch of charcoal. Very fine. Tasted twice with consistent notes. – Neal Martin, 90-92 points

Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe 2017 – R 558
The 2017 Lafon-Rochet has matured in 50% new oak and the remainder in one-year old. I have to say, the bouquet is very expressive with plenty of blackberry, wild hedgerow, oyster shell and pressed flower that blossom in the glass. It is very well defined and more sophisticated than I have detected in recent vintages. Perhaps this is the first vintage where the new winery, replete with concrete vats, has really played a serious role in meliorating quality. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, quite saline in the mouth with just a hint of black olive. There is a slightly grainy texture with a sustained peppery finish, completing a crisp and vivacious Lafon-Rochet that should please many wine-lovers. Expect this to land at the top of my banded score. – Neal Martin, 91-93 points

D’Issan, Margaux 2017 – R 781
The 2017 d’Issan was picked from 18 September to 3 October, the earliest since 2003. It was cropped at 43hl/ha and matured in 50% new oak. It has an elegant and understated bouquet with blackberry, black truffle and pencil lead aromas, quite Pauillac in style compared to previous vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with fine definition, quite saline in the mouth with black fruit, tar and minerals towards the lightly spiced finish that lingers in the mouth. It will benefit from several years in bottle but this continues a purple patch for this historic Margaux. – Neal Martin, 90-92 points

Calon-Ségur, Saint-Estèphe 2017 – R 1,116
The 2017 Calon-Ségur was cropped at 43.5hl/ha and underwent a 20-day cuvaison after which it is matured entirely in new oak for 20 months. It contains 13.2° alcohol. At the moment the aromatics convey the 100% new oak but there is sufficient fruit underneath. There is a palpable sense of “coolness” imbuing the aromatics and like other Saint-Estèphe barrel samples, it conveys a subtle estuary-like tincture. The palate is medium-bodied with saturated tannin, beautifully integrated new oak that lends this a silky texture. Perhaps this is the smoothest of all the 2017s I encountered within this appellation, a classy and sophisticated Calon-Ségur in the making and heightened by the thrilling tension towards the finish and the latent energy that lingers in the mouth. Excellent. – Neal Martin, 92-94 points

Pichon Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac 2017 – R 1,674
The 2017 Pichon-Lalande was picked from 7 September to 2 October and underwent a 23 day cuvaison period. It is intense on the nose, the new oak coming through a little strongly since the sample came from a new barrel, the final blend consisting of 60% new wood. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin, the Cabernet Sauvignon driving this alone with layers of black fruit laced with cedar and graphite. It is a very “Pauillac” Pichon Lalande, less opulent and giving than recent vintages and more in the style of say, the 1996 or 2010. There is very good persistence on the saline finish but it is clearly a wine that is going to require more cellaring than its peers. Tasted four times in total, each time this gained more substance and density. – Neal Martin, 93-95 points


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