Friday came and went without significant activity in wines we have serious interest in.
What did arrive on Friday was one of the major reports, in the form of The Wine Advocate’s first major EP review from Lisa Perrotti-Brown. What is clear in Lisa’s report is that at the top end of quality, our positivity about the vintage has been borne out - there are unquestionably some very good wines indeed. In fact Lisa has showered some wines with even more praise than we dared. Of course, there are some estates who will be disappointed with their scores - but these are generally wines that live outside our focus.
Where the excitement really lies, Lisa says:
“Here is a vintage where pockets of extraordinary wines possessing great depth and super ripe, super fine-grained tannins can be found, achieving ripeness in some cases at around 13% alcohol. This is a quality and style of Bordeaux that we have not seen in many, many years and, without getting into a long-winded discussion about the possible impact of climate change on wine styles, is something of a miracle in our modern times.”
The full report can be found (subject to subscription) at robertparker.com - but here is the final paragraph, which we feel really establishes the position of 2017 in the panoply of vintages:
"The greatest 2017 wines are generally medium-bodied, elegant, and perfumed with beautifully ripe tannins and fully expressed aroma/flavor compounds. They possess the structure and intensity of fruit to evolve incredibly and be very long-lived. I’m explaining all this because I was taken aback during my tastings to hear many winemakers talking down their own extraordinary efforts because the wines weren’t more concentrated, weightier and powerful like the wines produced in some of the more consistently great—and also hotter and drier—vintages of recent years. True, some vintages want to give concentrated fruit and richness, and when everything else comes together with these attributes, an extraordinary wine can result. But this is not the only expression of greatness. And this is not the expression of greatness in 2017."
This is the first time Lisa has taken the baton for Bordeaux En Primeur and she has done an excellent and thorough job. Clearly The Wine Advocate brand still holds plenty of weight as many pre-orders were placed over the weekend, corresponding to Lisa’s top scoring wines.
There are many other reports which are well worth you taking the time to read and absorb as this is indeed a complex vintage, but one which rewards those who do their homework.
Matthew Jukes has written an excellent and comprehensive report (£20 at matthewjukes.com) which clearly shows both his personal interest as a long-term buyer of Bordeaux and an experienced critic in this field. Matthew scores out of 20 and his scoring specifics are well listed in the report itself.
Julia Harding is standing in for Jancis Robinson at her eponymous website jancisrobinson.com (subscription required) and has done as thorough a report as you might wish to read, breaking regions down one by one and giving their customary scores out of 20.
James Suckling was as usual the first out of the blocks with scores. His downloadable report at jamessuckling.com (subscription required) is pretty easy to digest.
Jeb Dunnuck is a name you will have seen increasingly. Jeb made his name as the Rhone and California reviewer for The Wine Advocate before heading out under his own steam – he now covers most the major regions and has produced a very good Bordeaux 2017 report at jebdunnuck.com (subscription required).
There are then two significant reports still to come, via the same publication – a throwback to the Parker/Martin crossover days at The Wine Advocate. Tuesday will see the first Vinous report from Neal Martin, and this will be followed on Thursday by the ‘alternative’ Vinous report from Antonio Galloni. Quite how these reviews, and their opinions (and thus scores and notes) will vary or dovetail, is one of the most interesting things about this vintage. As in most cases, these reports require a subscription to read.