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July 1, 2018 : LAST NOTICE

We finish our overview of the critics' priority choices with the opinions of Mr Jean-Marc Quarin (independent taster, see quarin.com) and Mr Bernard Burtschy (former editor-in-chief of the Revue du Vin de France with Mr Bettane, then at Le Figaro).

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The 4 crus classés which, from 55€ to 63 € the bottle, are quoted among the greatest 2017 for M. Quarin.

Rated 95/100, like Figeac, Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion, Le Pin, Trotanoy... :

 Brane-Cantenac "Dark, intense, beautiful and deep colour. Medium aromatic nose, fine, fruity, ripe and subtle. Fat on the attack, smooth to the development, particularly fruity, full and complex in the middle of the mouth, the wine melts towards a noble finish with great taste and fine tannins. It's delicious and long. A very beautiful bottle". Price: 55 € HT the bottle.

• Grand-Puy-Lacoste "Dark, intense, lively and beautiful colour. A discreet but fruity nose. Scented as soon as it enters the mouth (this is what distinguishes this cru from all the other Pauillac wines except Lafite), caressing, with great taste and brilliance, body and fine tannins, the wine finishes on a good length. A delight". Price: 62 € HT the bottle.

 Léoville-Barton "Dark, intense, beautiful and lively colour. Very aromatic nose, with fresh, pure and ripe fruit that smells of black fruits! Caressing on the attack, juicy on the development, particularly fruity, tasty and even complex from the middle of the mouth, the wine stretches in finale on a fresh and mentholated aromatic touch. Tannicity well wrapped. Ink and flower flavor in persistence. Highly recommended". Price: 62 € HT the bottle.

Léoville-Poyferré "Dark, intense and beautiful colour. Intense, ripe fruity nose. Delicate on the palate, very, very fruity in the middle, melting, with a taste of black fruits, the wine slips on the palate to finish fragrant and sapid on a good length. Price: 63 € HT the bottle.

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The 6 crus classés which, from 38€ to 62 € the bottle, are quoted among the greatest 2017 for M. Burtschy.

Rated 96-97/100, like Angélus, Ausone, La Fleur-Pétrus, Lafite-Rothschild, Margaux, Palmer, Trotanoy... :

Malartic-Lagravière (already mentioned as Mr. Bettane's priority choice) "The robe is dark, almost black with a discreet nose. The attack in mouth is soft, it is followed by a rigorous and strict cabernet, with tannins certainly fine but well present, the whole is far from being melted, but the freshness lets him predict a beautiful future" Price: 38 € HT the bottle.

• Domaine de Chevalier "Dark colour with purple highlights. Pretty refined and intense nose, very cassis. The wine is dense, elegant, relatively fresh, the tannins are very fine, with beautiful very precise aromas. It does not have the density of a 2015 or a 2016, but it is of a great harmony and more elegant" Price: 49 € HT the bottle.

La Gaffelière "The dark robe with a superb nose, of great complexity. The wine is dense and compact, very elegant, tannic with fine tannins, a beautiful length, a very fresh finish. A huge success " Price : 55 € HT the bottle.

• Larcis-Ducasse "The robe is dark with a very pretty refined nose. The wine is dense, tight, tannic, the tannins are very fine. The wine has elegance and length, beautiful aromas of black fruit, pretty spicy finish. Its reading is not as immediate as the 2016, but it has a lot of bottom " Price: 56 € HT the bottle.

• Pavie-Macquin "The dress is black with a pretty distinguished nose, but where leather notes are well present. The wine is incredibly elegant under its usual softness, the tannins are of great finesse, beautiful length, splendid finish on spices " Price: 60 € HT the bottle.

• Canon-La Gaffelière "The robe is dark with a pretty nose of red and black fruits. The wine is dense, beautifully fresh with pretty tannins, it is quite tannic but without excess. The wine is of a beautiful purity, the middle palate is a little thinner than that of 2016 but fresher, pretty liquorice finish. He will surprise his world in a few years " Price : 62 € HT the bottle.

 

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News of the week from June 25th to 29th: FIRST ECONOMIC REPORT

No more 2017 will be added to our lists by the beginning of next year, after this small Pomerol wine of barely 2.2 ha put on sale last Monday :

• Pomerol: LE PIN

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Now that the prices of the 2017 Bordeaux wines are known, an initial economic report can be made.

After the 2016 vintage, it was logical, legitimate and expected prices to fall. With an average drop of -12% erasing last year's increases, the price level of the 2017 Bordeaux reds has globally returned to that of the 2015 futures, notwithstanding the loss of harvest.

But this fall is not uniform and the comparison of the evolution of the prices of 2017 with those of 2015 or 2014 is instructive on the final destination of the wines of each château:
 

• those whose 2017s more or less recover the price at which the 2014 vintage was offered, thus returning to their price of 3 years ago, mainly intended for local consumers (Europe).

Comparison of the price 2017 compared to the price 2014:
  0% to +5%: Petit Manou, Clos Manou, Dalem, Virginie de Valandraud
+5% to +7%: Reynon, La Mauriane, Haut-Carles
 

- the reasonable, those whose 2017 are more expensive than 2014 but cheaper than 2015, faithful to their traditional markets but also attentive to new markets.

Comparison of the price 2017 compared to the price 2015:
-33% : La Mondotte
-20%: La Mission Haut-Brion
-16% to -10%: Troplong-Mondot, Cheval-Blanc, Haut-Brion, Cos d'Estournel, Branaire-Ducru, Lynch-Bages
- 9% to - 6%: Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild, Pagodes de Cos, Pichon-Comtesse, Montrose, Domaine de Chevalier
 

the strongest increases compared to their price in 2015, where, not surprisingly, we find the second wines of the first great classified growths in the lead, driven by insatiable Asian demand for these prestigious labels.

Comparison of the price 2017 compared to the price 2015 :
+28% : Pavillon Rouge
+34% : Carillon d’Angélus
+36% : Carruades de Lafite
+41% : Petit-Mouton

 

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News of the week from June 18th to 22nd: ENDGAME

It is the right bank which, this week, will have closed this 2017 campain:

• Pomerol: LA PETITE ÉGLISE, L'ÉGLISE-CLINET, VIEUX CHÂTEAU CERTAN, LE PIN
• Saint-Émilion: CHAPELLE D'AUSONE, CHEVAL BLANC, AUSONE

We will come back next Saturday on the lessons to be drawn from the 2017 prices. In the meantime, we continue our overview of the priority choices of the critics, these less upscale vintages - therefore less expensive - which are interspersed between more prestigious neighbours - therefore (much) more expensive.

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The 4 crus which, although at less than 40 € the bottle, are among the best of the 2017 classification by M. Galloni (rather right bank oriented).

Rated 93-96/100, like Cheval-Blanc, Haut-Brion, Lafleur-Pétrus, Le Pin, Palmer, Trotanoy...:

• Larrivet Haut-Brion rouge « The 2017 Larrivet Haut-Brion is magnificent. Frost took out a large portion of the château's parcels. As a result, the wine is a highly unusual blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot. In the glass, the 2017 is rich, sumptuous and explosive, with serious density to match its flamboyant personality. A highly unusual wine, the 2017 has so much to offer. Wow! Now, for the bad news. Production is down 75% ». Price : 27 € ex-VAT per bottle.

Rated 92-95/100, like Angélus, Cos d'Estournel, La Mission Haut-Brion, Montrose, Mouton-Rothschild...:

• Barde-Haut « A rich, unctuous wine, the 2017 Barde-Haut is endowed with magnificent concentration and richness. Inky black fruit, chocolate, menthol, licorice and spice infuse this spectacularly rich, voluptuous Saint-Émilion ». Price : 29 € ex-VAT per bottle.

Rouget « The 2017 Rouget is gorgeous. Bright, aromatically lifted and pliant, with tremendous depth and intensity, the 2017 hits all the right notes. Bright red cherry, plum and pomegranate are pushed forward. In 2017, Rouget has an extra level of aromatic intensity and overall finesse that makes it compelling ». Price : 36 € ex-VAT per bottle.

Clos Saint-Julien « Don't miss. The 2017 Clos Saint Julien is a wine of real personality and class. Rich, inky and explosive, the 2017 rushes across the palate with waves of blackberry jam, gravel, smoke, licorice, spice and new leather. Even with all of that intensity, the 2017 retains terrific nuance as well as freshness. There is so much to like here ». Price : 36 € ex-VAT per bottle.

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The 3 grands crus which, for 100 € to 200 € the bottle, are at the absolute top of the 2017 classification by M. Martin.

Rated 95-97/100 (Bordeaux reds highest rating), tied with Lafite-Rothschild and Lafleur:

L'Église-Clinet « The 2017 L'Eglise-Clinet is one of the most polished, sensual wines of the year. Bright, precise and yet full of flavor, the 2017 has a lot to offer. Cedar, licorice and rose petal are just some of the many nuances that add aromatic dimension. Deceptive in its mid-weight structure, the 2017 offers notable intensity and persistence. What a gorgeous wine it is ». Price : 196 € ex-VAT per bottle.

Rated 94-96/100, like Angélus, Ausone, Haut-Brion, Latour, Mouton-Rothschild, Petrus...:

Montrose « The 2017 Montrose is wonderfully polished and nuanced. Silky tannins and mid-weight structure confer finesse to a Montrose that possesses superb harmony from start to finish. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. Although alcohol alone can never tell the whole story of a wine, at 13.5% alcohol, Montrose has a very attractive freshness to it. The 2017 is all class ». Price : 112 € ex-VAT per bottle.

Cos d'Estournel « The 2017 Cos d'Estournel is a sleek, polished wine built on finesse more than power. Sweet, perfumed aromatics and silky tannins add to that impression. In 2017 the Grand Vin shows a distinctly red-fruit and floral character that matches its mid-weight personality nicely ». Price : 126 € ex-VAT per bottle.

 

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News of the week from June 11th to 15th: WE NEAR ONE'S GOAL

With the arrival of the first classified growths from the left bank, our "Primeurs 2017" selection is now almost complete (only Ausone, Cheval-Blanc, Le Pin, Église-Clinet and Vieux-Certan are missing, probably for next week):

• Dry white Bordeaux: AILE D'ARGENT

• Graves/Pessac-Léognan red: LA PARDE HAUT-BAILLY, LA CHAPELLE DE LA MISSION HAUT-BRION, HAUT-BAILLY, CLARENCE DE HAUT-BRION, MISSION HAUT-BRION, HAUT-BRION
• Margaux: PAVILLON ROUGE, MARGAUX
• Saint-Julien: LÉOVILLE BARTON, LÉOVILLE POYFERRÉ, DUCRU BEAUCAILLOU, LÉOVILLE LAS CASES
Pauillac: PONTET-CANET, PETIT MOUTON, MOUTON-ROTHSCHILD, LAFITE-ROTHSCHILD
Saint-Estèphe: MONTROSE

• Pomerol: LA CONSEILLANTE
• Saint-Émilion: CLOS SAINT-JULIEN, CARILLON D'ANGÉLUS, LA MONDOTTE, FIGEAC, ANGÉLUS

Ballon d'Or : in the Best of the Best section, we have grouped the wines mentioned (by at least one of the 7 tasters we follow) among the 10 most successful of the 2017 vintage, with exceptional notes and enthusiastic comments. The biggest names of Bordeaux, therefore the most expensive, appear in this list but also several challengers who create the surprise...

Podium of the left bank: here are those which our 7 preferred tasters placed at the head among the whole of the Médoc and Graves vintages in 2017. As might be expected since this is a vintage where the subjectivity of men (sorting, vinification, selection of lots, grape varieties...) prevails over the natural quality of the terroir, all the 1st classified growths are mentioned but none is unanimous..:

Mr Bettane notes 18-18.5/20 : LATOUR, LÉOVILLE-LAS CASES

Mr Quarin notes 97/100: LES CARMES HAUT-BRION

M. Burtschy notes 97-98/100 : LATOUR, MOUTON-ROTHSCHILD, PONTET-CANET, HAUT-BRION

M. Dupont notes 18,5/20 : MOUTON-ROTHSCHILD, HAUT-BRION

The Revue du Vin de France notes 18.5-19/20 : MARGAUX

Mr Galloni notes 94-97/100 : LAFITE-ROTHSCHILD, LATOUR, LÉOVILLE-LAS CASES, MARGAUX, PAPE-CLÉMENT, SMITH-HAUT-LAFITTE

Mr Martin notes 95-97/100: LAFITE-ROTHSCHILD

 

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News of the week from June 4th to 8th: RESTART

The 2017 campaign is back with about thirty vintages on offer this week. There are only about twenty grands crus classés remaining to come, which we will certainly have next week (Mouton-Rothschild is announced for next Tuesday and the other premiers crus classés will follow).

This is last week's harvest:

 Dry white Bordeaux: SMITH HAUT LAFITTE

• Graves/Pessac-Léognan red: SMITH HAUT LAFITTE
• Margaux: BARON DE BRANE, DURFORT-VIVENS, BRANE CANTENAC, D'ISSAN
• Saint-Julien: SARGET DE GRUAUD, GRUAUD LAROSE
Pauillac: LACOSTE BORIE, RÉSERVE DE LA COMTESSE, GRAND PUY LACOSTE, PICHON COMTESSE DE LALANDE, PICHON BARON
Saint-Estèphe: MARQUIS DE CALON, PAGODES DE COS, CALON SÉGUR, COS D'ESTOURNEL

Bordeaux red/Right Bank: ALCÉE
• Pomerol: FEYTIT CLINET
• Saint-Émilion: DRAGON DE QUINTUS, LA DOMINIQUE, LA GAFFELIÈRE, LARCIS-DUCASSE, PAVIE MACQUIN, TROPLONG MONDOT, CLOS FOURTET, BEAUSÉJOUR-DUFFAU, QUINTUS

Several appellations are now complete (Sauternes, Haut-Médoc, Moulis...) or almost complete (only Aile d'Argent in dry white wines, Château Margaux in Margaux, Montrose in Saint-Estèphe), we invite you to make even partial choices without delay. We see several vintages running out in our lists quickly and unusually (Potensac, Sarget de Gruaud, Connétable de Talbot, Clos de l'Oratoire, La Dominique...), because of the small quantities produced (frost and/or retention).

Revival: we welcome with joy the great return in 2017 to the front of the Saint-Émilion scene in Troplong-Mondot. New owner (the reinsurer Scor), new manager (M. de Gironde, ex-Pichon-Baron then Cos d'Estournel), new style where finesse and aromatic freshness prevail over concentration and over-ripeness (more La Gaffelière than Pavie), and new price (!): 83.00 € HT/bottle in 2017 against 122.00 € in 2016. Profound changes already identified by Mr Quarin "What a revolution!", rated 95/100, and Mr Galloni "Easily one of the wines of the vintage", rated 95-98/100, best score of the vintage, tied with Ausone, Lafleur and Vieux-Certan.

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Priority choices of Michel Bettane: if the ratings given by the critics fairly faithfully match the established order of rankings (the best growths have the best ratings), there are nevertheless in each category exceptions, less upscale growths - and therefore cheaper - which are interspersed between more prestigious neighbours - and therefore (much) more expensive. Besides the raw note, it is especially by reading the comments that we discover these crus which, with the tasting, aroused to them particular emotions. And they see them as priority choices.

We start with the three great wines of the left bank which more than enthusiastic Mr Bettane in 2017 :

Gruaud-Larose: "Very great success, certainly due to the talent of the two talented oenologists who are now in charge of vinification. Delicious sweetness of texture, surprising aromatic fullness, just like the evidence of the expression of a great terroir. Don't miss it. It equals or even exceeds certain premiers crus. Tasted four times, with the same sensations", rated 18/20.

Malartic-Lagravière rouge: "Our best blind tasting note this year, in this appellation, confirmed a second time at the château. Remarkable finesse, superlatively elegant texture. Fresh feedback on a first vintage menthol. Bravo", rated 17.5-18/20, in front of Haut-Brion rouge.

• Grand Puy-Lacoste : "Very great success, with finesse, delicacy, freshness without greenness and especially a length which place it at the level of the second and first growths of the appellation. A personal crush", rated 17.5/20.

 

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News of the week from May 28th to June 1st: DEAD CALM

It was the week of the cut before the coming avalanche because most of the classified growths, including the first, want to be "out" before the Fête de la Fleur on Friday 15 June. The next two weeks will be provided!

Only two Bordeaux and Dominio de Pingus made the news this week:

Pauillac: CARRUADES DE LAFITE

• Bordeaux rouges/Libournais : HAUT-CARLES

Spain : PSI, FLOR DE PINGUS, PINGUS

Frozen penguin: the frost of 28 April 2017 also affected the Ribera del Duero and the Dominio de Pingus (short for penguin, Peter Sisseck is Danish), up to -53% of harvest in second wine Flor de Pingus. Only the plots of the great Pingus wine are relatively safe (-20%) thanks to the use of wind turbines installed after the 2007 frost episode. The old vines adapted to the drought of June and July and the early vegetative cycle (harvest from 17 to 27 September) explain the high quality of 2017, combining freshness (early), maturity and concentration (drought). Prices unchanged despite loss of production.

Painstacking work: once again, we are amazed by the debauchery of efforts of the winegrowers associated with the PSI project (=Peter Sisseck Initiative). In 2017, they harvested a mosaic of 841 plots (on average 0.27 ha per plot) spread over 27 villages, for a total harvest of barely 225,000 bottles, or a yield of 7.4 hl/ha. This for an unchanged and unbeatable price of 17.50 € HT the bottle!

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Now that all the white Bordeaux wines are known (only Aile d'Argent and Smith Haut-Lafitte expected in the next few days are missing), here are our general comments on the 2017 vintage:

A very great vintage for dry whites: the dry and mild summer, without a heat wave, was a blessing for dry white wine producers. The sauvignons and semillons were able to ripen slowly, develop their aromatic precursors, preserve the acidity synonymous with freshness, while running no risk of rot.

The harvest having taken place in optimum conditions well before the rains of mid-September, 2017 is in fine a very great vintage for the dry whites of Bordeaux (when the puncture of the frosts was not too harsh), with tonic, complex, intense and brilliant wines.

This is confirmed by the Faculté d'Œnologie de Bordeaux: "The 2017 vintage is a major success for Bordeaux's dry white wines, clearly superior to 2015 and 2016. The sauvignons are ripe and lively, very aromatic, with a lot of breed and brilliance. On the great terroirs, the semillons shine by their characteristic softness while keeping a northern balance. ».

Rich and powerful sweet wines, "the old-fashioned way": richness being a natural characteristic of the 2017 vintage for sweet whites, the challenge was to preserve the acidity that guarantees balanced wines. Those who have managed to preserve it have produced pure, aromatic wines (honeysuckle, citrus zest, honey, candied fruit), ample and voluminous while remaining elegant.

These wines of great liquor and power will be refined in bottle and will eventually recall the smoothness and roundness of vintages such as 2003, 1989 or 1976. Their keeping will defy time (count at least 40 to 50 years for classified growths).

 

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News of the week from May 22nd to 25th: NEXT STOP HONG KONG

A week not so quiet while all Bordeaux (owners and merchants) pack their bags to get to Vinexpo :

 Dry white Bordeaux: CARBONNIEUX, BLANC DE LYNCH-BAGES

Graves/Pessac-Léognan red: LARRIVET-HAUT-BRION, CARBONNIEUX
• Margaux: CANTENAC-BROWN
• Saint-Julien: LES FIEFS DE LAGRANGE, LALANDE-BORIE, GLORIA, LA CROIX DUCRU-BEAUCAILLOU, LAGRANGE, SAINT-PIERRE
Pauillac: PÉDESCLAUX, LYNCH-BAGES

Bordeaux red/Right Bank: LA VIEILLE CURE
• Pomerol: CLOS L'ÉGLISE (nouveau), LA VIOLETTE
• Saint-Émilion: MOULIN SAINT-GEORGES, CANON LA GAFFELIÈRE, ROCHEYRON

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Simultaneously, three producers not concerned by Vinexpo offered us their 2017:

Xavier Copel: sélection d'1 vin blanc sec et de 5 vins rouges de BORDEAUX, CAHORS et RIBERA DEL DUERO

5+1 superb vintages: second vintage for Xavier Copel, who adapted his range to the vicissitudes of 2017: no vintages in Sauternes, Pomerol and Rioja because of frost, appearance of an new elite dry white Bordeaux, 100% Semillon on a clay-limestone terroir close to Langon, a magnificent wine of freshness and length.

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Domaine Jean Chartron: 10 vins blancs de Côte de Beaune, de MEURSAULT village à BÂTARD et CHEVALIER-MONTRACHET grand cru

A full harvest (at last !): after three vintages 2014, 2015 and 2016 hampered by frost and hail, Domaine Chartron returns to normal production in 2017. And highly qualitative since 2017 promises to be one of the greatest vintages of the last 20 years for Chardonnay. No Corton-Charlemagne this year but the selection of five new vintages: Bâtard-Montrachet grand cru, Meursault "Les Pierres", Savigny-les-Beaune "Les Pimentiers", Saint-Aubin "Perrières", Rully "Montmorin.

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Tardieu-Laurent : 4 vins blancs (3 nord et 1 sud) et 14 vins rouges (7 nord et 7 sud) de la VALLÉE DU RHÔNE

Beautiful vintage combining freshness and maturity, for white like red: the freshness of spring disrupting the flowering (coulure) of the syrahs, grenaches, mourvèdre and the dryness of summer explain the low yields (and the quality of the vintage) in the north as in the south of the Rhone Valley. The summer without heat wave gave fresh, balanced wines, with a more northern aromatic profile and lower alcoholic degrees than usual. If quantities are in decline, quality is there in 2017, in both colours and on all appellations, from the north to Bandol. A novelty in Côte-Rôtie from this year with a cuvée Vieilles Vignes (aged 60 years and over), vinified in whole bunches.

 

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News of the week from May 14th to 18th: END OF THE FIRST WAVE

With the transhumance of the owners and traders to Hong Kong next week (Vinexpo will be held there this year, from 29 to 31 May), the next two weeks will be quiet, before the marketing of the greatest growths as soon as they return from Asia early June.

As expected, this week was very active, with a number of wines on the market, including some tenors:

 Dry white Bordeaux: CAILLOU BLANC de TALBOT, DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER
 Sauternes/Barsac: CARMES DE RIEUSSEC, RIEUSSEC, SUDUIRAUT

Graves/Pessac-Léognan red: DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER
• Médoc/Left Bank: CHASSE-SPLEEN, POUJEAUX
• Margaux: LA TOUR DE MONS, LA GURGUE, SIRAN, PRIEURÉ-LICHINE, DU TERTRE, FERRIÈRE, MALESCOT SAINT-EXUPÉRY
• Saint-Julien: CONNÉTABLE de TALBOT, CLOS DU MARQUIS, TALBOT, BEYCHEVELLE
Pauillac: D'ARMAILHAC, DUHART-MILON, CLERC-MILON
Saint-Estèphe: HAUT-MARBUZET

Bordeaux red/Right Bank: PUYGUÉRAUD, D'AIGUILHE
• Pomerol: ROUGET, NÉNIN, GAZIN, CLINET, L'ÉVANGILE
• Saint-Émilion: FONROQUE

Surprisingly tender, velvety and mellow Bordeaux: after the summer drought, we expected to discover more or less austere 2017 reds, set on firm or even dry tannins. Our surprise was real from the very first tasting sessions to taste, on the contrary, charming wines, nuanced, structured by mellow tannins.

This surprising sweetness of the reds is explained by the length and slowness of the maturity cycle. Instead of roasting quickly under the effect of a blazing sun, the vine has patiently matured and developed polymerized tannins in 2017, thus more velvety and less catchy.

That being said, two conditions had to be absolutely met to produce great reds 2017 :

• to eliminate early Merlot picked in haste before or during the mid-September rains,

• to eliminate the grapes of second generation, resulting from the regrowth after freezing. With a mixed summer, they were not able to catch up (nearly a month) to reach sufficient maturity before the end of October.

Several journalists/tasters have spoken of a heterogeneous vintage. The heterogeneity of 2017 is not the fact of the vintage but only the fact of the men, and the respect (or not) of the conditions above. Many had the wrong reflex to harvest the second grapes to compensate for the thinness of their harvest, and/or to over-extract during vinification to compensate for the lack of flesh in their musts. It was easy to spot these because the tasting was without appeal.

But, in properties where only the qualitative will prevails, the Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon, the late Merlot and the Petit Verdots have given excellent results. The wines have a clean, intense and expressive fruitiness, no greenness, a medium body and a sweet and delicate tannic profile that already makes them seductive.

It won't be density and power that will be the hallmark of the 2017 vintage, but softness and charm. Moreover, they will be quickly accessible (from 2022 for the crus bourgeois, from 2025 for the majority of the crus classés).

 

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News of the week from May 7th to 11th: STOP AND GO

During this week interspersed with public holidays, few estates put their 2017 on sale. We expect a rush next week, strong 5 real working days.

We take this opportunity to offer you 6 new estates or wines that appear for the first time in our selections:

 Dry white Bordeaux: LA TOUR-CARNET (new), VALANDRAUD (new)

• Médoc/Haut-Médoc/Listrac: MILLE-ROSES in Haut-Médoc (new)

• Bordeaux red/Right Bank: LA CHENADE, MONTLANDRIE, DOMAINE DE L'A, LES CRUZELLES
• Pomerol: MAZEYRES (new)
• Saint-Émilion: POESIA (new), BARDE-HAUT (new)

2017, the year of the whites: the summer without a marked hot period and the early harvest at the end of August explain the success of the dry white Bordeaux wines (when the frost puncture was not too harsh), tonic, intense and brilliant. Two new wines with vintages known until then for their reds: Château La Tour-Carnet with a pretty fruity, fat, expressive white from 4 ha all north of the Médoc (Saint-Christoly), 3/4 sauvignon and 1/4 sémillon, and Château Valandraud with a great white, long, tasty and distinguished, confidential (6 barrels in 2017), from a 2 h plot north of Saint-Émilion, 2/3 sauvignon, 1/3 sémillon.

Barely a hundred roses: heavily affected by frost (90% loss), Château Mille Roses will not produce Margaux in 2017 but only its Haut-Médoc cuvée, with a medium-bodied, frank, fine wine with a fine balance. And as always 100% organic.

Moueix in Pomerol: it is not Petrus, Trotanoy or Hosanna but Château Mazeyres held since 1992 by Alain Moueix (co-owner of Château Fonroque in Saint-Émilion). A Pomerol all in refinement, delicacy and biodynamics, on the lighter soils (sandy-clayey) of the west of the appellation.

Vignobles Garcin: with the famous Clos L'Église in Pomerol, Hélène Garcin also owns two crus in Saint-Émilion: a Classé, Château Barde-Haut, and a nicely named nugget, Château Poesia. Both, at less than 30,00 € HT the bottle, triggered our enthusiasm as that of the critics: Quarin prefers Poesia " Finale grasse reminding the taste of Syrah. That's very good! "spectacularly rich, voluptuous Saint-Emilion."

Isolated case : 20 years ago (1997), Peter Kwok bought his first château in Saint-Émilion (Haut-Brisson). A Hong Kong native of Vietnam and in love with France, he patiently wanted to build a range of great wines highlighting the most beautiful terroirs of Libourne. All this in the purest respect for French traditions, heritage and culture, at the antipodes of the myriad practices of Chinese investors who later arrived in Bordeaux. His latest acquisition (2016) is Château Bellefont-Belcier, a grand cru classé with a magnificent terroir covering the eastern part of the Pavie coast, between Larcis-Ducasse and Le Tertre-Rôteboeuf. With the help of Michel Rolland and his team, his first 2017 vintage is already a master stroke.

 

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News of the week from May 1st to May 4th: KICK-OFF

The "Primeurs 2017" campaign has got off to a flying start, with a number of significant launches this week, small châteaux and Grands Crus Classés, covering the main Bordeaux appellations (let's bet that next week will be calmer, interrupted by public holidays).

We will return in detail in our next messages on the climatic circumstances of 2017 but here is a summary of the 5 important points that characterize the vintage in Bordeaux:

• strong frosts at the end of April, sparing the prestigious terroirs but touching hard (sometimes annihilating) the others. On the Gironde as a whole, the crop loss is 32%.

• a very great vintage for dry white wines: bright, intense and complex, perfectly balanced between power and tension. Comparable to 2014, greater than 2015 and 2016.

• a good vintage in Sauternes, with rich and powerful sweet white wines due to their sugar concentration. In the 2003 style.

• for reds, two key factors: little (or no) impact from frost, having late Merlot, Cabernet or Petit Verdots. When these conditions were met, 2017 produced fruity, tender, velvety wines with great tannic sweetness.

Because of their charm, the 2017 reds will quickly be appreciated and will enjoy guaranteed success in tasting in 5 to 8 years. The 2017 reds are a combination of 2012, 2004 and 2001, in varying proportions depending on the vintage. So a good (to very good) vintage, at the level of 2014 or 2012, without equalling of course 2015 and 2016.

Here are the 42 wines already selected this week:

Dry white Bordeaux: DOISY-DAËNE dry, Clos FLORIDÈNE, VIRGINIE de VALANDRAUD, LATOUR-MARTILLAC, MALARTIC-LAGRAVIÈRE, PAPE-CLÉMENT
Sauternes/Barsac : Clos HAUT-PEYRAGUEY, DOISY-DAËNE, COUTET, LAFAURIE-PEYRAGUEY

Graves/Pessac-Léognan red : Clos FLORIDÈNE, LATOUR-MARTILLAC, MALARTIC-LAGRAVIÈRE, PAPE-CLÉMENT
Médoc/Haut-Médoc/Listrac : LOUSTEAUNEUF, PETIT MANOU, du RETOUT, FONRÉAUD, CHARMAIL, Clos MANOU, POTENSAC, La TOUR CARNET, SOCIANDO-MALLET
Margaux: DEYREM-VALENTIN
Saint-Julien : LANGOA-BARTON, BRANAIRE-DUCRU
Pauillac : FONBADET, PAUILLAC
Saint-Estèphe : TOUR des TERMES, ORMES de PEZ

Bordeaux rouges/Libournais: de FRANCS "Les Cerisiers", REYNON, La MAURIANE, Clos DE BOÜARD, Les TROIS CROIX, Clos PUY ARNAUD, DALEM, Clos LOUIE
Saint-Émilion : FOMBRAUGE, VIRGINIE de VALANDRAUD, BELLEFONT-BELCIER (new), VALANDRAUD

And, among the vintages we follow, those which will be absent having not or too little produced in 2017 to participate in the sales in primeur (list a priori and not exhaustive) :

- left bank: CLIMENS, de FIEUZAL, BELLE-VUE, Clos du JAUGUEYRON, MILLE-ROSES (Margaux), MAUVESIN-BARTON
- right bank: FLEUR de BOÜARD, FUGUE de NÉNIN, CÔTE DE BALEAU, PETIT GRAVET AÎNÉ