The 7’s have been the worst for winemaking in Bordeaux every decade for the past 6 decades but 2017 turned the corner, with a classical vintage with lower alcohol where the vines survived the frost.
The frost came in late spring and with a cooler summer has lead to wines for Bordeaux that as a whole are quite good and will make lovely drinking at the right price. This is not a brilliant vintage, bar a few exceptions, with the wines not having the concentrations of flavours of previous recent vintages (15,16) but will like 2012 make excellent early drinking. The cream as usual rising to the top particularly in the classified growths, whose vineyards have proved the test of time being sheltered by trees or protected by the relative warmth of the Gironde.
The stand out appellation and the red wines of the vintage are from St Julien. On the left bank Pomerol faired better than St. Emilion. The whites had a brilliant year and many of the top-rated wines this year are and from the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon vines.
An Englishman’s vintage?
This is not an Englishman. This is Ben Sichel, winemaker at Chateau Angludet Margaux, perhaps one of the unhappiest people in Bordeaux right now. On the night of the 26th /27th April 2017 the frost that hit the vineyards of Bordeaux destroyed the entire crop for Chateau Angludet. His neighbours at Kirwan managed a normal harvest of 42-hectare litres per hectare! On what turns such fortune and despair?
Perhaps this can be the year for the English to return to the Bordeaux market? The top wines will not be as expensive in post Brexit terms and they will be easy drinking and ready early.
So, if you buy Angludet every year as many do what to do this year? I would recommend a few cases of Talbot, either wine from the Barton Stable or for my pick Ducru Beaucaillou. And add a case or Le G by Guiraud or Olivier Blanc you won’t be disappointed and if you have a sweet tooth certainly add your favourite Sauternes to the order.