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    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.

    First surprise

    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. …

    Second surprise

    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.

    Third surprise
    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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    My Today

    All of the tasting notes of the wine critic mentioned above in tastingbook, comes from press releases from wine importers and vineyards, or directly from the critic and can also be found on the critic’s own website, which can be easily accessed by clicking on the link above.



    In 1984-1985, he took a course at the Faculty of Oenology "to learn about taste defects in wine" and obtained a degree in wine tasting with distinction. He also received practical winemaking experience at Domaine de Chevalier in Léognan during the 1985 vintage. While at this famous estate, he became familiar with the leading dry white Bordeaux at the time and learned from Claude Ricard, a great partisan of balance and tannic elegance in red wines. Jean-Marc took part in the tasting to constitute the final blend of the 1984 vintage with Emile Peynaud. "I remember that Peynaud recommended fining twice to smooth out the rough edges of this wine totally dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. It went on to become one of the finest 1984s in all Bordeaux".

    In 1989, Jean-Marc Quarin received his degree in education science, which involved writing a dissertation on teaching people how to taste.He then decided to create Bordeaux Quintessence.
    “Bordeaux Quintessence represents the period which enabled me to identify the enormous wealth of taste of Bordeaux wines. I became able to identify the specific tastes which come from this region and understand what differentiates one Bordeaux wine from another, and then what their differences are compared with other French wines and those from other countries wine critic when I stopped Bordeaux Quintessence in 1998 in order to set up the Carnets de Dégustations, an independent guide for the discerning wine lover, of which I am both the writer and the editor".


    One of Jean-Marc's major strong points is the fact that he is based in Bordeaux. This enables him to follow the situation there closely, taste the new wines when they are very young, anticipate on their quality, and discover the most talented winegrowers. Indeed, "a wine's potential depends on what happens in the vineyard".

    For instance, barely one month after the harvest of vintage 2000, Jean-Marc Quarin published an article announcing the excellence of the vintage, even indicating Château Margaux and Cheval Blanc as the imminent stars. He did not mistake the strong tannins of 1994 for those of a great vintage. In 1995, he hailed the vintage in spite of the rains in September. He realised very early the exceptional quality of the Cabernet Sauvignon in the Médoc in 1996 while in 1998, he was the first to point out the outstanding level of the Pomerols.

    In 1998, the press recognised him as a gifted taster and writer, comparing him to the most famous in his field.

    To help consumers find their way in the world of wine, Jean-Marc Quarin shares his tasting notes and his observations through his publications and training courses, as well as through the many conferences he is invited to world-wide. He also set up an organisation which offers customised wine tours. "As a matter of fact, says Jean-Marc Quarin, I use the values my first work taught me, such as humanity, sensitivity and good teaching methods, to explain in a simple manner about wine and its world, its taste and its subtleties."

    Today, in 2011, now turning in his 23th year as wine critic, Jean-Marc Quarin has written over 6 000 pages about Bordeaux wines and his unique data base contains more than 30 000 wine tasting reviews.

    Read More

    Pro Me

    Jean-Marc is an excellent source of information on Bordeaux as he is a wine writer and good taster who actually lives there and can keep an eye on how vineyards are treated and how wines develop month by month

    Jancis Robinson, Wine Critic, London, UK

    After several years, he has gained an amazing knowledge of soils. This has enabled him to have a well-informed and intelligent opinion of wines he tastes. He also has a real sensitivity, which only adds to his talent.

    Jean-Claude Berrouet, winemaker, Pétrus.


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