The 2017 Bordeaux campaign is officially over. Because reviews for the vintage were initially mixed, many in the industry feared the wine wouldn’t sell. Indeed, a few of our buyers decided not to participate in the futures pre-sell this year.
Clearly, this was a very unusual vintage and many folks still don’t understand what happened in Bordeaux in 2017. There’s no doubt that an unprecedented frost affected many vineyards in Bordeaux. But the sad truth is that the weather damaged the properties that could least afford to lose their production. In Bordeaux, they call it the “Snob Frost.” The Grands Crus Classés were not affected in the least. The best properties are, after all, on the most optimal terroir. On the Left Bank, estates on the Gironde and Garonne Rivers were untouched. On the Right Bank, properties on the Pomerol gravel plateau and Saint-Émilion limestone plateau were also, for the most part, unharmed.
So, what to make of this vintage?
Well, if you listen to the professional critics, there’s little to complain about. The ratings for the classified wines are excellent. Here’s a quick list:
Château d’Issan – 94 from Decanter. Not bad for a $58.49 wine.
Château Cos d’Estournel – Wine Advocate 97-100, priced at $144.49.
Domaine de Chevalier Rouge – An amazing 94-97 rating from Jeb Dunnuck, with a $58.49 price tag.
What of the upper tier? Let’s take a look.
Château l’Eglise Clinet – Wine Advocate 96-98
Vieux Château Certan – Always superb, also scored 96-98 from Wine Advocate.
Château Palmer – 97-98 James Suckling and 96-98 Wine Advocate
Château Mouton Rothschild – Wine Advocate 97-99
You get the drift. Ratings for 2017 are excellent. These critics, from Antonio Galloni and Neal Martin of Vinous to Lisa Perrotti-Brown of Wine Advocate put their name and reputation on the line when they score every wine. So even when we disagree with them, we have to respect their knowledge and opinion.
Our best advice: Look deeper into pricing. When the first wines were offered in early May, the standard pricing was a 15% discount compared to 2016. As time went on and the bigger names came out, the discounts became smaller, and as the First Growths and elite estates debuted, their pricing is almost identical to the 2016 vintage.
Why is that? Ratings, of course! A cult wine like Tertre Roteboeuf was priced only 3 Euros less than in 2016, because the wine ratings were identical. Château Bellefont-Belcier 2017 is the same price as 2016, but that is because the estate is owned by Peter Kwok, who has invested heavily in the property and the industry knows the quality of his wines improve with every vintage.
Bottom Line: Don’t screw up! Find the jewels. More examples of good investments:Château Clinet – When we met Ronan Laborde a few weeks ago, he said his 2017 was a 93-95 pts wine, probably going to a full 95 with bottle age. Accordingly, the price is $77.99. Last year’s Clinet 2016 was $99.99. A sure bet!
Domaine de Chevalier – We’ve already mentioned the great ratings, but it’s also an amazing buy. $58.49 this year, $76.99 last year with identical ratings of 94-97.
Château Montrose – A star of the vintage with sky-high ratings: WA 96-99, is approximately $30 less the 2016 vintage with a WA 97-99 rating.
Château Palmer – $50 less this vintage.
Château Mouton Rothschild – $90 less than 2016.
These are the wines to buy! Again, don’t screw up and suffer from non-buyer’s remorse. There are lots of opportunities in this vintage to own excellent wines at great prices. Obviously you need to be careful. But then, we’re here to help!
All 2017 Bordeaux listed below are the lowest prices in the U.S. as per Wine Searcher Pro
Château Barde-Haut. NM 92-95. $36.49. 48 bottles.
Château Bellefont-Belcier. JS 93-94. $42.49. 12 bottles.
Château Canon. AG 93-96. $90.99.18 bottles.
Château Calon Ségur. WA 92-94. $81.99. 18 bottles.
Château Clinet. JD 93-95. $77.99. 24 bottles.
Château Clos l’Eglise. Vinous 92-95. $78.49. 24 bottles.
Château Cos d’Estournel. WA 97-100. $144.49. 39 bottles.
Domaine de Chevalier Rouge. JD 94-97. $58.49. 30 bottles.
Château d’Issan. Decanter 94. $58.49. 24 bottles.
Château Feytit-Clinet. AG 93-96. $59.99. 24 bottles.
Château La Conseillante. WA 95-97. $163.99. 9 bottles.
Château La Gaffelière. WA 95-97. $64.99. 6 bottles.
Château Lafon-Rochet. WE 92-94. $41.99. 48 bottles.
Château Léoville Barton. JD 94-96. $72.99. 24 bottles.
Château Léoville Las Cases. WA 96-98. $189.99. 3 bottles.
Château Malartic-Lagraviere. WE 94-96. $46.99. 12 bottles.
Château Montrose. WA 96-98. $128.49. 12 bottles.
Château Mouton Rothschild. WE 97-99. $472.99. 12 bottles.
Château Palmer. WA 96-98. $249.99. 6 bottles.
Château Pape Clément. AG 94-97. $85.99. 12 bottles.
Château Pichon Baron. JD 94-97. $128.99. 24 bottles.
Château Pichon Lalande. JS 95-96. $122.99. 12 bottles.
Château Pontet-Canet. JD 94-96. $104.99. 12 bottles.
Tertre Roteboeuf. WA 96-98. $153.99. 30 bottles.
Château Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge. WA 94-96. $92.99. 12 bottles.
Château Tour St Christophe. JS 93-94. $26.99. 72 bottles.
Vieux Château Certan. WA 96-98. $225.99. 12 bottles.
2017 was especially ideal for white Bordeaux. “The combination of cool days, dry weather and even cooler nights created exactly what was needed to produce bright, fresh, crisp, refreshing white wines with character and style. And as the harvest took pace well before the September rains, the grapes were brought in under good conditions.” (The Wine Cellar Insider)
We have only two of the Bordeaux Blancs left, but check out the ratings and grab them while you can!