Bordeaux red futures 2017 : the good surprises that I did not expect
From Bordeaux I have followed the vegetal cycle live. This winter I tasted separate lots of twenty different wine estates, from the simplest to the most famous ones. A first assessment is essential: irregular results (there is no 2017 vintage but several ones) and no green taste has been noted. The presence of the latter would have been a sign of absence of ripeness, hard tannins and lean body.
Today I have just finished two fabulous weeks, tasting more than 300 wines. Here are the results:
The red wines are very colourful.
The noses are very fruity, precise, quite often pure, without crudity and complex when it comes to the best wines.
On the palate the wines are surprisingly sweet. I did not expect that!
This sweetness will result in very pleasant wines to drink, even when young. It is all the more noteworthy since it does not come from high alcoholic levels. Indeed, the alcohol degrees are around 13. Moreover, it does not come from pH higher than average. Here is a characteristic of the year that can be put down to the summer drought, as in 2016.
Mid palate and finish: the space where wines vary in quality.
Many wines present a weak mid-palate and drop in the finish. Many reasons can be found: the lack of heat felt during summer (true for July and September but not for August), the September rain (average but unevenly spread), excess of production, insufficient bleeding to compensate for the loss in volume due to frost, lack of know-how in the blending process, a difficult balance to find with the press wine etc. …
Some wines prove to be well structured in the mid-palate and in the finish. For them my scores are high and at the level of 2014-2015. Why?
2017 is an early vintage. You have to look for the keys to quality in the dryness of the winter, the even flowering, the summer drought, the strong water stress, especially on early ripening soils and finally in the work of men.
In the hills of the right bank, some growths have vines on the top, in the middle and at the foot. The vines at foot of the hill, often less good, froze. Thus, the blending only includes the best of the estate. And the gustatory profile change. One obtains wines with an expression so far unknown, deeper, more exciting.
The profile of the red wines
2017 is a cool oceanic vintage, but without crudity and without harsh tannin. The best structures are all more elongated than wide, rather aromatic, very fruity, melting and with flesh, but without too much power. The very vintage that will be blessed by ageing. Already it perfectly suits the growths used to this style. The best wines stretch in the finish and mainly rely on the success of the bouchet (high quality Bordeaux cabernet franc), cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot.
The functioning of the Bordeaux market is based on an average standpoint, the best 2017 should see their prices go down and gain the status of outsider; wine where the taste is superior to what the label shows (here the vintage). One appellation in particular shows signs of impertinent success.
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