Embracing an Enigmatic En Primeur – Bordeaux 2017 #2 – The Left Bank
This Post is related to (General Overview) and (Right Bank tasting) as part of the Green Acres team trip to Bordeaux 2017, En Primeur week. Continuing my description, I will focus on our tastings in Chateau La Misson Haut Brion and the other Chateaux we visited on the Left Bank.
List of Chateaux Visited During Bordeaux 2017 En Primeur Week.
Chateau La Mission Haut Brion: The merlot rich wines of La Mission Haut Brion and Haut Brion showed very well, with the vintage characteristic freshness and elegance marrying well with power and structure. The white wines of both Chateaux were divine.
Calon Segur: “On form,” Calon Segur is one of my favourites. The quality produced here in recent years is remarkable – firmly placing Calon Segur as one of the most sought-after wines from St Estephe. I believe that this will also be the case for 2017. Capbern is destined to be one of the best buys again, I scored it highly. How long more will this remain a best value buy? – I had penned an extra tasting note here: Cabernet Sauvignon prevailed here and freshness is key.
Lafite Rothschild: here Bruno Prats – (ex-director at neighbouring Cos D’Estournel) has taken the reins, making his mark on the 2017’s. I found a lovely harmony and similarity between the three wines we tasted here – Duhart Milon, Carruades de Lafite and Lafite Rothschild. I think Mr. Prats has made a positive impact – Is Lafite the best of the 1st Growths this year?
Chateau Montrose: the unofficial 1st growth of St Estephe. Montrose has a lovely purity to it, powerful and structured and certainly vying for top spot. Dame de Montrose is also delicious this year and usually represents value from such a prestigious estate.
Lafon Rochet (UGC Event) – UGC is the Union de Grand Cru, who facilitate Chateaux from the commune to congregate in a nominated Chateau and showcase their wines – in this instance the wines of St Estephe and Pauillac.
The positive aspect of UGC tastings is it gives you a good overview of the vintage, specific to an area. The majority of the wines we tasted here were impressive, showing the vintage specific elements of their wines, (freshness, charm, and elegance). Some excelled and we were impressed with Pichon Comtesse de Lalande, Pichon Baron, Lynch Bages. St Estephe and Pauillac are looking good!
Cos D’Estournel: Personally, I like the change in style at Cos in recent years. The wines are now only 60% new oak and the have a lovely welcoming and appealing fresh palate, yet retaining the power and structure, albeit tamed. Goulee is very enjoyable and Pagodes de Cos has a lovely texture and broad mid palate.
Cos D’Estournel is pure, creamy textured with power, finesse, and elegance. As with our tasting at Lafite earlier – there is a similarity here with all 3 wines – they all have a lovely perfume and fragrance and are similarly textured
Pontet Canet: we were shown the impressive new cellars with concrete tanks coated in the same soil as the vineyard. Alfred Tesseron and his winemaking team are fully ensconced in the biodynamic and organic culture here e.g. there is no electricity in the new cellar. Tasting the wine, it certainly bears the fruits of their labour. It is beautiful again this year.
Pedesclaux: we were delighted to meet with Paris rugby club Racing 92 owner Jacky Lorenzetti (C’mon Leinster in the Champions Cup). His wines here are on a massive trajectory of quality in recent years. We had a super lunch of charcuterie and terrines washed down with the 2012 vintage of Pedesclaux. The mains were rare beef, bursting with flavour, enjoyed with the 2010 vintage
Beychevelle: (UCG Event). We tasted all the wines of this small commune. Personally, I found the wines here in St Julien varied in quality in comparison to the communes of Pauillac and especially St Estephe. As is typical with the 2017 vintage there are exceptions and a few from St Julien did excel, most notably the 2 Leoville estates of Poyferre and Barton. Langoa Barton was very attractive too. I was a little disappointed by the quality of some other estates here.
Leoville Las Cases: We tasted Chapelle Potensac and Potensac. The quality of Petit Marquis and Clos du Marquis, Petit Lion and Leoville Las Cases is great considering the weather conditions that they experienced. Leoville Las Cases is certainly of 1st Growth quality. But I loved the energy and layered mid pallet of Clos du Marquis. There is a similarity amongst these wines also. It is like a secret family recipe that shines through each wine.
Ducru Beaucaillou: We tasted the wines with the mischievous Rene Lusseau, who speaks no English. As we speak no French, every year we taste here we have good fun communicating with Rene. Ducru Beaucaillou and La Croix are very good this year with a juicy freshness and remarkable length.
Chateau Margaux: Pavillon Rouge is always a wine that is in high demand and the quality this year is very good. These wines will be scarce due to a 50% reduction this year. Due to the rigorous selection process, Chateau Margaux has produced an opulent and expressive wine. It is not as big and concentrated as the 2015 or 2016, but has good power and elegance. Pavillon Blanc is simply stunning. Hard to believe it is 100% Sauvignon Blanc, beautiful richness and a waxy texture coated in exotic fruit flavours.
Mouton Rothschild: We taste Armailhac and Clerc Milon for the 2nd time that day. It must be said, both showed better at the Chateau (often the case). Armailhac is the lighter style, with Clerc Milon showing more depth and structure. Petit Mouton and Mouton Rothschild show more promise, they were tight and unrevealing at first. However, the quality expressed itself to show its power and finesse – it was very refined. Mouton is a great wine that sits proudly amongst its peers in Pauillac.
Siran: (UGC Event). Margaux as a region has struggled in 2017.They had their heyday with the previous 3 vintages. The wines that stood out for us this year were, Malescot St Exupery, Kirwan, Du Tertre and Brane Cantenac. Although not the same league as the 2015 and 2016 vintages, if these wines are sensibly priced they could be worthy of a purchase.
If you asked me to compare the Bordeaux 2017 vintage to similar vintages from the recent past – I would say that 2017 is comparable to 2001 and 2014. And if asked which bank of the Gironde would I favour? – I would answer neither, because of the even split between both this year, it just makes for an enigmatic en primeur vintage.
Here is a link to my Right Bank Tasting.
By way of experiment, we brought a non-expert with us on our trip to EP17 and here is his account of same.
Green Acres will be releasing the various en primeur offers to our customers as we receive them from the Chateaux. If you would like to be included in our mailings, please opt-in by contacting me at email@example.com and I’ll add you to our email list.
Thank You – Donal.