2017 Haut Medoc wines are the product of a distressing growing season. This is due to the extreme frost that wreaked havoc on the vines for 2 consecutive nights in late April.
The same fate befell 2017 Moulis, 2017 Listrac and 2017 Medoc wines. While the majority of the vineyards in the Left Bank located closest to the warming effects of the Gironde survived with minimal or no damage from the frost that is not the case with vineyards situated further inland.
The level of damage varied from vineyard to vineyard. The cool and dry summer conditions with the June heat wave and the blast of rain before harvest did not help matters.
However, those with the best terroir that waited to harvest their Cabernet Sauvignon were able to produce nice, early drinking, aromatic, but quite fresh wines.
The following 2017 wines from Haut Medoc, Listrac, Moulis and the Medoc were tasted in non blind conditions in Bordeaux from March 22-April 12.
2017 Belgrave – Forward in style, the wine is medium bodied, fresh and fruity with a sense of brightness in the earthy, red berry finish. The wine was made from a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. 89 – 91 Pts
2017 Belle-Vue – Juicy, fresh, spicy black raspberries with a crunchy, bright character, soft tannins and a forward approach are found here. The wine was made from a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 20% Petit Verdot, reaching 13.5% alcohol. 88 – 90 Pts
2017 Le Petit Verdot Belle-Vue – Dark in color, the wine is fresh, spicy and crisp with a lean to dark fruits. This is a rarity in Bordeaux as it is one of the few wines made from 100% Petit Verdot. 88 – 90 Pts
2017 Bernadotte – Tobacco, cedar and bright red fruits load you up. The wine is medium bodied, soft and forward, with gentle tannins and a smooth, bright, fruity finish. 88 – 90 Pts
2017 Maison-Blanche – Rustic with earth and cherry, this wine delivers a big, juicy mouthful of tobacco tinged, dark red fruits. You should enjoy this on release. 84 – 86 Pts
2017 Branas-Grand-Poujeaux – Crisp, bright and juicy, the wine offers licorice and earthy accents to the dynamic cassis, which permeates the nose and the palate. 89 – 91 Pts
2017 Cambon La Pelouse – A well-priced, easy drinking, soft textured, medium-bodied wine that is already showing its earthy, bright fruit and tobacco charms. This is not for aging, it is, however perfect for near term consumption. 88 – 90 Pts
2017 Cantemerle – Floral in nature, the fruit is ripe, crisp and even a bit sharp, but the tannins are soft and there is a lot of juicy, sweet fruit in the medium bodied, berry-filled finish. 91 – 93 Pts
2017 Caronne Ste. Gemme – Cranberry and cherry notes compete for space in a medium bodied, lean and classic wine. For those of you who enjoy the style, this is an early drinker. 85 – 87 Pts
2017 Charmail – With soft, crisp, textures, the wine opens with ripe, chewy, black raspberries, red plums and spice. Already accessible with a bright, fresh, finish. Give it a few years and it will be quite tasty. The wine is made from blending 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. 90 – 92 Pts
2017 Chasse Spleen – Crisp and peppery, the cassis has a juicy quality that carries through to the classically styled finish. 87 – 89 Pts
2017 Cissac – Medium-bodied, this classically styled wine is bright with crunchy red fruits and a leafy complexity. The tannins are a bit strict, producing a sharp, red berry finish. 84 – 86 Pts
2017 Citran – A medium bodied, soft, uncomplicated, red berry and thyme-filled wine with olive accents in the finish. This is best for early drinking pleasure. 85 – 87 Pts
2017 Clement Pichon – Prime cherries, cedar and tobacco frame the wine. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied, bright, offering red cherry and a sharp, rudimentary, cranberry finish. The wine was made from blending 85% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc. 85 – 87 Pts
2017 Clos Manou – Fresh, juicy, round and ripe, you find red fruits, cedar and tobacco, soft tannins, a medium body and bright, fresh red fruits on the palate and in the finish. 88 – 90 Pts
2017 Coufran – Round, soft textured and simple, you’ll find red fruits in a forward style. Truly without faults, this is already easy to imbibe. 84 – 86 Pts
2017 Ducluzeau – Floral with peppery cherries, this medium-bodied wine is ready to roll with a sweet, red fruit, approachable charm. 86 – 88 Pts
2017 Fourcas Borie – Plums, licorice and herbs create the center of the wine. A touch of oak intermingled with bright plums and more licorice capped by red fruits on both the soft-textured palate and in the finish. You will not find a better value from Medoc. 88 – 90 Pts
2017 Goulee – Forward and round, the wine is all about the fruity entry and the sweetness harmonizing with a touch of olives and thyme on the back end. A blend of 72% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Cabernet Franc, this wine reached 12.8% alcohol. 87 – 89 Pts
2017 Greysac – Medium bodied, forward, easy drinking, sweet, fruity and earthy with just a touch of tobacco, the wine offers early cordiality. 86 – 88 Pts
2017 Haut Condissas – With early approachability, the deep-colored wine shows some agreeable sweetness and a little flesh. There are soft tannins and a licorice, espresso, red fruity finish. 87 – 89 Pts
2017 La Lagune – An attractive garnet hue, this medium-bodied wine kicks off with the aromatics of roses, licorice, earth, espresso and crème de cassis. Freshness is first, followed by a sweet, berry-filled finish. Produced from a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13% alcohol with a pH of 3.65. The harvest took place September 12 through September 30. This estate was lucky, only 5% of their vineyards were damaged due to the frost. 90 – 92 Pts
2017 La Tour Carnet – Scarlet hued, this wine offers an earthy, smoky, forest and blackberry profile. On the palate, this is fleshy, voluminous and smooth with fresh, dark red fruits, licorice and strong notes of toasty oak in the finish. 90 – 92 Pts
2017 La Tour Carnet Blanc – Light in color, this wine offers lemon peel, herbs and licorice on the nose. In the mouth, you find fresh yellow citrus fruits and a trace of honey that remains with you through the crispy finish. The wine was made from blending 60% Semillon and 40% Sauvignon Blanc. – 91 Pts
2017 La-Tour-de-By – Medium bodied, succulent, in your face and easy to understand, this wine has a vibrant, spicy personality. Drink it early. 86 – 89 Pts
2017 Lamarque – Sweet dark fruits are available out of the gate. Medium bodied, soft and forward, the wine delivers an open, fruity finish. 86 – 88 Pts
2017 Lanessan – Sharp red fruits with espresso and tobacco nuances bring you to a piquant layer of cassis with soft, gentle tannins and a medium-bodied finish. The wine was made from 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot. 87-89 Pts
2017 Les Grands Chenes – Smoke and black cherries deliver on the nose as this full-bodied, energetic and vibrant wine unfolds with dusky red fruits on the palette. Come for the sensation and stay for the dark chocolate edge which extends through the fruit and espresso tinged finish. The wine was made with a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. 88 – 90 Pts
2017 Malescasse – Soft, round and forward with espresso, cocoa and earthy black cherries on the nose and on the palate, the wine is soft with gentle tannins and a sweet, dark plummy finish. This should be easy to drink on release or with just a year or two of age. 88 – 90 Pts
2017 Paloumey – Medium bodied, forward and easy drinking with its red fruit and tobacco tinted character, there is a quick dash of chocolate in the endnote to help round things out. 86 – 88 Pts
2017 Patache dAux – Medium bodied, soft and approachable, the wine offers a sweet cassis, cherry and tobacco profile in a crowd pleasing style — tailor made for early drinking pleasure. 85 – 87 Pts
2017 Potensac – Ruby in color with a cedar wood soul and leafy green spirit, you’ll find bright red fruits assigned to the nose. Medium/full bodied and nearly approachable right now, the willing, accessible fruit displays a cheerful and zippy personality. The wine was produced from blending 47% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. 89 – 91 Pts
2017 Poujeaux – Spice, flowers, espresso bean, red plum and black cherry scents mingle on the nose. On the palate, this is way cush yet spicy with a cheerful, red fruit character. The wine was made from blending 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 13% Petit Verdot. Th 90 – 92 Pts
2017 Reysson – Medium-bodied with fresh red fruits, soft tannins and an open, red cherry-plum personality. You can drink this on the young side. 87 – 89 Pts
2017 Rollan de By – Licorice, tobacco, and red fruits along with soft tannins and an early drinking charm define the medium bodied wine. 87 – 89 Pts
2017 Saint-Paul – It is easy to find true red fruits, tobacco and espresso notes. The wine is bright, medium bodied and should offer pleasant, easy drinking on release. 87 – 89 Pts
2017 Sociando Mallet – Piquant red fruits with a firm wall of tannins greet you in the mouth. This OG, classic wine is going to need cellaring before it’s able to be enjoyed. 89 – 91 Pts
2017 Tour-du-Haut-Moulin – A medium/full-bodied wine with an earthy, fresh, crisp red berry character, there is a dash of cocoa, a tinge of tobacco, soft tannins and a forward personality. 87 – 89 Pts
Tomorrow, we are adding tasting notes, ratings and comments for the best wines from the Margaux and Pessac Leognan appellations.