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  • Country ranking ?

    956
  • Producer ranking ?

    16
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    from 2025
  • Food Pairing

    Duck

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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BORDEAUX 2017: PETRUS ‘WINE OF THE VINTAGE’

Every year in advance of the annual en primeur campaign, Liv-ex polls its 400 global members to get their thoughts on the vintage, compiling their answers to give something of a snapshot of the vintage including; the best wines, those tipped to be (with any luck) the ‘best value’, where the vintage ranks against its recent peers and expected demand from customers.

When asked to rank the ‘best’ wines of the 2017 vintage it was an even split of Left and Right Bank wines but all of them are the region’s most storied names including all of the first growths, and then Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Lafleur, Vieux Château Certan and Petrus on the Right Bank with Petrus ranked the best overall followed by VCC then Margaux.

For the eighth year in a row, Grand Puy Lacoste was nominated as the wine expected to be the best value (that is to say not exceeding £500 a dozen), which has not always turned out to be the case in recent years.

Also listed were Langoa Barton, Brane Cantenac, Capbern, Gloria and Talbot among others. With a certain grim irony, Haut-Batailley was among the best value hopefuls.

As the questionnaire was sent out a little while ago, many merchants at the time of answering no doubt expected the Pauillac fifth growth to stick to its fairly usual course of releasing around €30 a bottle ex-Bordeaux.

But Haut-Batailley’s new owners, the Cazes family, released the wine on Wednesday this week (25 April) with a hefty 46% increase on the 2015 vintage (the 2016 has not been released) in what was a clear intention to ‘reposition’ the estate.

At £495-£500 a case it does technically fall into the ‘value’ parameters of the questionnaire but it’s likely a bit ‘toppy’ for many. The Cazes’s other property, Ormes de Pez, was also listed in the best value chart – maybe better luck there?

There was such division over the list of most disappointing wines that there was no clear consensus although a few of the ‘best’ wines listed clearly left some unimpressed.

Overall the vintage was rated 92.6 points (out of 100), putting it just above the 2014 (by a nose), a little better than the 2008, 2011 and 2012 and much better than 2007 and 2013 but not close at all to 2009, 2010, 2015 or 2016.

 

Source: Liv-ex

The most comparisons in character were to the 2014 and 2012 vintages and while a few suggested it was redolent of 2001, many also set it completely apart from any vintage, certainly of recent times.

When ranking the quality of the first growths alone from 2011-2017 (though excluding the 2016s), the 2017 wines were ranked third behind 2015 (which was ranked first by 93% of respondents) and 2014.

In terms of expected demand, a cheery 4.1% are apparently expecting more demand than last year, 10.9% expect demand to be about the same but after that the views quickly become more pessimistic, with 31.5% expecting demand to be down as much as 20% and a considerable 53.4% expecting demand to be more than 20% down on last year – highlighting 2017’s position as a ‘conundrum’ vintage, perhaps filled with some very good wines but at a time when no one especially wants them.

Finally, when given a ‘shopping basket’ of labels (see chart) and asked to suggest their expected (not desired!) ex-négocient release prices compared to the 2016s, the average reduction turned out to be 11.5% – will it be enough?

 

The 2017 Petrus is deep garnet-purple in color and opens with incredible notes of preserved plums, baked blueberries and cherry compote with nuances of hoisin, violets, lilacs, licorice and exotic spices—a very open-knit, flamboyant and atypical Petrus barrel sample! The palate is medium to full-bodied, rich, plush and decadent with a firm frame and layers upon layers of perfume and spices on the very long finish. Wine Advocate 93-95

Extremely aromatic already with lavender, violets, mulberries and lots of ripe fruit. Very generous in terms of fruit but this remains tight and compacted with long, powerful tannins. They are strong and frame a muscular and racy Petrus, but everything remains in harmony and balance. James Suckling 97-98p

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The Story

Drinking Pétrus may be an unforgettable experience. We has been lucky to have the opportunity to taste most of its great vintages. That is why wine enthusiasts often come to us for advice. First, WeI advise you to choose a good vintage, an excellent one if your wallet allows. If you taste a poor vintage, you will notice how it raises above most other wines of the same vintage, but you will miss the actual point of Pétrus.

Second, purchase wine that is at least 10 to 20 years old, because a young Pétrus is difficult to approach, besides which oak and tannins predominate in its taste. Young Pétrus may be impressive, but it ages fantastically and requires more time than any other Pomerol wine to reach its culmination. Finally, We would advise you to decant the wine with care and well in advance, and also to give it time to develop in the glass. Then you will have the opportunity to enjoy an unforgettable experience.

 

Little known 50 years ago, this château has seen the rise of a myth about the uniqueness of its wine. The wine’s inimatibility is due to many factors, first of all, an exceptional terroir - 40 meters above sea level, the highest point of the appellation - with a layer of heavy clay soil and an iron subsoil. These are ideal conditions for the expression of the Merlot grape. With such a special terroir, the approach in the vineyard and cellar is traditional and respectful.

The work done in the vineyard is fastidious - severe pruning in the winter, regular ploughing, crop-thinning, de-leafing, manicuring the clusters in the summer - and allows the perfect ripening of the fruit. The grape are manually harvested within two afternoons and sorted before crush.

Fermentation is carried out gently, without any overextraction, in temperature-controlled concrete tanks. The blend, very often pure Merlot, is defined in December and the young wine is aged in 100% new oak barrels.

This property made famous by Madame Edmond Loubat and then by Monsieur Jean-Pierre Moueix, culminates at 130 feet on the plateau of Pomerol. Ets Jean-Pierre Moueix is responsible for the cultivation, vinification and aging as well as the export distribution of Petrus wines.

 

 

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Wine Information

A heterogeneous vintage, 2017 will remain in the memory of a lot of vintners with very mixed feelings. An early bud break put hopes very high for a good vintage. These hopes were destroyed by a frost period of historical dimensions. On April 20 an 21 as well as on April 27 and 28 the frost destroyed 30 to 50% of the harvest in the Gironde area, though the best terroirs and famous appellations have been less affected. An early and regular flowering set new hopes. Summer was very dry and the harvest was quite early, even accelerated by rain at the beginning of September. This was rather a problem for the Merlot grapes than for Cabernets. The Cabernet-Sauvignon took advantage of a dry Indian Summer.

 

Overall the vintage produced remarkable dry white wines above the qualities of 2015 and 2016. The sweet wines took advantage of a fast and regular Botrytis resulting in great wines. The red wines are in general more heterogeneous. However, concerning the wines tasted and presented below, it is a vintage without aromas of peppers and vegetal components, therefore suggesting a good ripening level. For the vineyards suffering frost, often the second generation of grapes had to be used to produce wine. These wines are less impressive than the previous vintages. The best terroirs were offering wines with expressive fruit with a character allowing a good evolution.

 

On the left bank, Pauillac was doing remarkably well as well as Saint-Julien and generally the vineyards facing the river. On the right bank the situation is much more heterogeneous, with very good results on the plateau calcaire of Saint-Emilion and the centre of the plateau de Pomerol. Overall fruit is dominating the tasting notes and at this early stage, the aromatic expression is mainly based on red and dark berries and stone fruit for the reds.

 

For the whites the range goes from yellow fruits and citrus fruits up to tropical fruits especially in the sweet wines. Looking back to the last vintages ending on "7" it seems, that this vintage again respects a certain "7"-Tradition. It is a vintage bringing back Bordeaux to its roots, offering a very classic wine style with lower alcohol levels than in the previous years but with often excellent aromatic expression. 2015 and 2016 have surely been better vintages than last year, but based on a first impression 2017 seems to be better than 2014. The evolution will show, that 2017 is far from becoming a "forgotten vintage". Some nice surprises will be waiting for us.

Markus del Monego MW

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

14 tasting notes

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Written Notes

The 2017 Pétrus was tasted on two occasions just over one week apart, the second on 9 April being significantly different to the first. My note comes from the second and as usual I afforded the sample 10 minutes to open. It has an expressive bouquet that is slightly confit in style with red cherry, blackberry, black truffle and light iris scents, all detailed and focused. The bouquet needs less encouragement to open than the previous two vintages. The palate is extremely well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, fresh and vivacious from the very start. At its core lies a mixture of red and black fruit laced with black truffle and cracked black pepper, a discrete spiciness towards the velvety finish and then modest salinity lingering on the aftertaste. It is the second reading that attested to the “serious” side of this Pétrus and its cerebral side. I found more grip and linearity, clearly more complexity and less fatness towards the finish and I anticipate that these facets will become more accentuated as it develops in barrel. Whilst not the greatest Pétrus that I have tasted out of barrel, Olivier Berrouet has fashioned an almost mercurial and beguiling Pomerol.

  • 96p

The 2017 Petrus is simply stunning. A rich, deep and voluptuous wine endowed with rapturous beauty. Vivid and wonderfully alive, with ripe, polished tannins, the 2017 is simply impeccable. Jean-Claude Berrouet told me he had never seen a harvest at Petrus stretch out over a three full weeks. Olivier Berrouet added that the berries were quite small. He opted for longer skin contact than normal, about 30 days, with pumpovers of one volume of wine per day at the beginning of fermentation. Even in the early going, Petrus is shaping up to be truly magnificent.

  • 97p

The 2017 Chateau Petrus is, as always, 100% Merlot that's from the top of the Pomerol plateau. The 2017 is an incredibly elegant, perfumed example from this estate that has terrific cassis, raspberry, and red currants fruits as well as lots of floral and violet hints, medium to full body, a beautiful spine of acidity, and building tannins. It's not a blockbuster like the 2015 and 2016, yet it’s flawlessly balanced, with stunning purity of fruit and a great, great finish. Give bottles a solid 7-8 years, and it should keep for 20-25+.

  • 95p

Extremely aromatic already with lavender, violets, mulberries and lots of ripe fruit. Very generous in terms of fruit but this remains tight and compacted with long, powerful tannins. They are strong and frame a muscular and racy Petrus, but everything remains in harmony and balance.

  • 98p

Less than 50% new oak.
Very dark and super-fragrant. Beautifully intense cassis aroma, very pure, gorgeous dusty graphite nose, and a light note of violets. Beautifully dry and with finest of textures. Opens up to sweet spice and some red fruit. Iris root – used in perfume – says winemaker Olivier Berrouet. Caressing texture, supple. Becomes ever more floral with air. Incredibly smooth. A beauty.

  • 95p

Ruby. Incredible purity on the nose, blueberries, dark fruits, some red berries, an array of floral notes nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fresh, fruity, playful and detailed, lovely balance, nuanced and long, superb! 97-99

  • 98p

Dark purple red with violet hue and almost black core. Very expressive nose with complex fruit, blackcurrants, blackberries, hints of raspberries and black cherries. Elegant aroma reminiscent  of violets, iris, peony?, very pure aromatic structure. Opulent nose with a wonderful, almost creamy texture, ripe tannins, very elegant and complex fruit, discreet flowery flavour and a wonderful sweetness. A great wine with incredible length on a very fruity base. A wine with excellent length, potential and great balance! My star of the vintage. 99+

  • 99p
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Information

Origin

Bordeaux, Pomerol

Other wines from this producer

Saute-Loup Reserve de La Famille

Inside Information

Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth is in France for his 2017 vintage Bordeaux barrel tastings. While there, he's visiting the châteaus of some of the region's top estates, as well as some up-and-coming new producers.

Having worked my way down the Left Bank, a view of the 2017 vintage begins to come into focus: ripe, fresh, clean and direct wines that are more modest in terms of concentration, with lighter-bodied but ripe tannins and good acidity. A solid vintage that will provide tasty drinking while you wait for 2015 and '16 to mature.

But there's still another bank to go. So, I change hotels and cross the Dordogne into Pomerol to start my tastings on the Right Bank, where Merlot rather than Cabernet Sauvignon takes the lead.

Winemaker Olivier Berrouet describes 2017 simply as "A crazy year."

"We faced a lot of issues, starting with the frost on April 27 and 28. Luckily we had bought candles and an anti-frost tower (large mobile fans) a couple of years ago. Everyone thought I was a little crazy when I did it," Berrouet says. "But after the frost they were asking me where I got the machine."

With Berrouet's prescient foresight, there was no frost damage at Pétrus in 2017. And on this visit, not only did Pétrus' vineyard have mobile frost-protection windmills in them, but a few of the neighbors' did as well.

"It's quite a different year for us. '16 was red fruit, very classic structure, very typical Pétrus. '17 is more fruity, with black fruit and a touch of tar. We had to be careful if we pushed a little too far, as we could have gotten something a little more aggressive or raw tannin," he says. "So, we used a paradox, longer vinification but less working of the wine during the maceration. We had 23 days of vinification versus 17 in vintages like '09 and '10. And then we did less pump-over and we made sure not to go over 27° C during the maceration—in other years it can reach 30°."

"I was talking with my dad and he said you have to be careful with this kind of vintage," Berrouet recalls. "It's like eating a ripe melon. You keep eating and eating, but suddenly you get that one bit close to the rind and you've gone too far, and the bad taste is in your mouth."

"Harvest started Sept. 8, finished on the 26th. Three weeks is quite long for us because we are a small estate. But the blocks were behaving differently. It was hard to find the development of maturity. The young vines reacted quite differently from the old vines. The old vines handled the change from wet and cold spring to the warm and dry season better."

Note: These wines were tasted non-blind. Official barrel scores and tasting notes for wines submitted to Wine Spectator's blind tasting here in Bordeaux will be published at the end of my trip.

The 2017 Pétrus is all raspberry and boysenberry puree, which glides through effortlessly, picking up flecks of anise, black tea and mineral. This young wine has a sublime mouthfeel with a long, beguiling perfume through the finish. At first sip it seems a touch lighter in frame than usual, but it steadily puts on weight in the glass. It's easily better than the '11 or '13 version and should settle in somewhere around the '14 in terms of quality.


While Pétrus is essentially a varietal (all-Merlot) that sits solely on the blue clay in the center of the plateau of Pomerol, its neighbors spiral outward from there, with the terroir shifting to clay and gravel and then eventually sand, while Cabernet Franc plays a role as well

At Vieux Château Certan, Guillaume Thienpont works alongside his father Alexandre, sourcing their grapes from a mix of clay and gravel soils. This has become a reference-point estate over the past decade and is also a regular stop for me.

"We have a feeling of relief now," says Guillaume. "We escaped the frost, as did all the estates on the plateau in Pomerol. And then from there the year was early from flowering through the harvest—one of the earliest in 20 years. But even though it is early, we were able to take our time a bit with harvesting. Young-vine Merlot, then we stopped. Then the old-vine Merlot and we stopped, and so on."

Harvest went from Sept. 9 through Oct. 2 and yields here were a respectable 2.7 tons per acre, just a touch less than in 2016. The 81 percent Merlot, 14 Cabernet Framc, 5 Cabernet Sauvignon blend has a bit more Cabernet Sauvignon than usual, as the late-ripening grapes did well in 2017. Aged in its typical two-thirds new oak, the wine checks in at an evenhanded 14.2 percent alcohol.

The 2017 Vieux Château Certan is brimming was dark plum, raspberry and blackberry puree flavors. It's silky, but powerfully rendered, with a terrific bolt of licorice snap through the finish and a long mineral note underneath. All that and it still maintains a sense of freshness. This is another stunner in the making, even in this slightly more modest vintage.

The Thienponts also manage a little vineyard for Alexandre's cousin, Jacques Thienpont.

The inverse of Pétrus, the 2017 Le Pin is also 100 percent Merlot, but from vines situated only on gravel, as opposed to clay. 

"There was a little bit of hydric [stress] on the gravel soils as opposed to clay," says Guillaume. "But not as much as '16."

Aged in 100 percent new oak, it delivers a torrent of blackberry and fig sauce flavors with a light brambly edge weaving throughout. It sports lots of melted licorice and black tea as well, with the fruit kicking into another gear through the finish. 

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