The Vintage 2017 in Bordeaux

Smith-Haut-Lafitte 2018

Smith-Haut-Lafitte 2018

2017: the best "7" vintage since 1947

By Aymeric de Clouet

(Originally written in French)

I take this quotation from Edouard Miailhe at Château Siran, which sums up to me the technical progress accomplished for 70 years. This vintage is finally close in its structure of 1977, 1987, 1997 and 2007 which were all pleasant in their youth, but with a still better technical success. Progress does exist, contrary to what obscurantists of all kinds want us to believe.

So 2017 is quite successful, but in some areas only. Pomerol and Graves de Léognan are not at the top, with rare exceptions. Saint-Estèphe is very successful, Saint-Emilion, Pauillac and Saint-Julien get away with honours, Margaux is very heterogeneous. However, there are real success stories to be acquired absolutely. The dry whites are rather successful (I never taste Sauternes).

The real drought of the beginning of the year, followed by a particularly bad freeze, led some chateaux to not produce wine. Others had partial harvests, but the wines from the water's edge fared better than those at the edge of the forest. The rain during the grape harvest could have ruined everything, but the patience of producers gave good results, with the harvest spread out over September and october.

However, the blends will be rather unusual in many properties that have had plots lost on this or that variety. Note that the Petit Verdot is doing well, it is to wonder why it is not more widespread in the vineyard.

Crus Bourgeois have had more trouble than in previous years, some wines are doing well, but the great ones of the vintage are almost all crus classés, with the notable exception of Quinault L'Enclos which continues cheerfully on the way of excellence in recent years.

No big disappointment this year! An average vintage is less disappointing than a big one, so I tend to favor only very good successes (surprises or not, by the way). Without further ado, here they are, without order of preference:











And I will add for the performance, in a difficult region, Domaine de Chevalier and for the first time Smith-Haut-Lafitte, whose constant progress in recent years have him at the top of his area!

This list is unfortunately not exhaustive, thanks to our friends from the French train company on strike, so I indicate the main wines not tasted for lack of time: Mouton, Lafite, Latour, Haut-Brion, Petrus, Las-Cases, Ducru-Beaucaillou, Canon and their associates, who present only on premisesy.