2017 Margaux is the first appellation in the Left Bank to show frost damage. Some estates lost a good percentage of their crop. Others lost between 10-20% of their harvest.
2017 Margaux is a winemakers vintage. The terroir, picking dates and choices in the cellar set the tone for the vintage. There are several good wines. But the wines are not at the level of the stunning 2015 vintage, or 2016.
In Margaux the vintage started off with an early budbreak. Because Margaux is such a large appellation with terroirs that vary in quality, several vineyards were struck by the frost.
The vines that survived when through a normal flowering period. July and August were cooler than usual, and there was also less sun. The harvest was still slated to be early. But the September rains pelted Margaux in a similar way they had an affect on the 2014 vintage. For a detailed look at the weather and harvest that shaped the 2017 Bordeaux growing season 2017 Bordeaux Vintage and Harvest Report
The overall style of the successful wines display soft tannins, freshness and purity, over concentration and riper, darker fruits. Margaux, which is prized for its aromatic qualities shines in this department, with strong floral and red fruit notes. Alcohol levels are also lower than you find in more recent years like 2016 and 2015.
Many 2017 Margaux wines will offer pleasure in their youth, which is a good thing, because that will allow consumers to wait while their 2015 and 2016 wines evolve in the cellar.
All of the 2017 Margaux wines were tasted in non blind conditions in Bordeaux from March 22-April 12. I was able to taste most of these wines at least twice and the results were always consistent.
Overall I tasted 500 of the best wines from the vintage and all of those tasting notes will be on the site by Friday, April 27.
2017 dArsac – Light, fresh, soft and already fun and tasty, this will be one of those wines –delicious, easy to like and fantastic upon release. 86 – 88 Pts
2017 Bellevue de Tayac – Medium bodied and soft textured with a core of bright red fruits, this is the distinct style of an early drinking charmer. 85 – 87 Pts
2017 Boyd Cantenac – One of the more uncommon Classified Growths from Margaux, the wine is medium bodied and rather classic in nature. The fruit is bright and there is a dusty quality to the red berry finish. 87 – 89 Pts
2017 Brane Cantenac – Offering an intoxicating mélange of floral, earthy and spicy scents along with cedar, tobacco and black raspberry notes, it’s very apparent something brilliant is about to happen. In the glass, you’ll find elegance and refinement. The fruits are on the red side but the tannins are so delicate, the juice so plentiful, that attention is elsewhere. From a blend of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13% alcohol with a pH of 3.76. It represents 60% of the harvest. The higher than usual percentage of the Grand Vin is due to the frost, which hit the parts of the vineyard customarily reserved for the second wine. The harvest took place from September 14 to October 10. 93 – 95 Pts
2017 Le Baron de Brane – Fresh, bright, sweet red fruits, this wine is medium bodied, soft, elegant and ready for prime time drinking on release. 86 – 88 Pts
2017 Cantenac Brown – Showing respectable dark color in the glass, the wine opens with vanilla, licorice, smoke, black cherry and the scent of a leafy wet valley. Medium/full bodied, forward, polished, sweet and fruity, the wine is focused on the creamy tannins and subtle mouth feel. You’ll notice sweet cherries throughout and a light splash of cocoa for an easy drinking finish. Already great now, the wine was produced from blending 67% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Merlot. The harvest took place September 14 to October 2. 92 – 94 Pts
2017 Dauzac – Medium bodied and pashmina soft, there is a smooth sweetness emanating from the fruit. This is not complex, instead it offers a straightforward, laid-back moment of pleasure. The wine was produced from blending 69% Cabernet Sauvignon and 31% Merlot. 89 – 91 Pts
2017 Desmirail – Medium bodied, floral and on the bright, crisp side of the red fruit range, the tannins are soft, giving you a Margaux for early drinking enjoyment. 89 – 91 Pts
2017 Deyrem Valentin – Charming, medium bodied and soft with ample sweet red plums and cherry notes on the palate, this wine is about silky textures you can enjoy on the young side. 88 – 90 Pts
2017 Durfort Vivens – This is an elegant, lighter styled, red berry-oriented wine with good purity of fruit, a lot of bright acidty and leafy, floral notes. 88 – 90 Pts
2017 Ferriere – Medium-bodied, sharp, bright, crunchy, red fruits with a nice floral accent. The wine is correct with light, red spicy fruits from start to finish. 86 – 88 Pts
2017 Giscours – Flowers, thyme, red fruits and just a hint of espresso arise but most of what will transpire is being held in reserve. On the palate, the energetic, red berries offer sweetness, purity and silky tannins. The finish is fruity, bright and long. The wine was produced blending 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, reaching 13.2% alcohol with a pH of 3.65. The picking took place from September 15 to October 5. 92 – 94 Pts
2017 La Sirene de Giscours – Focusing on its freshness, silky tannins, medium body and forward attitude, you can enjoy the sweet cherries and floral nuances on release, while waiting for its big sister to mature. 87 – 89 Pts
2017 dIssan – A silky style of wine that is medium bodied, forward, polished and fruity. There is lift, ripe red fruits, forest leaf and tobacco strokes from start to finish. The juicy fruits in the endnote offer melodious, creamy textures. In three to five years this will develop even more intriguing complexities and softer textures. From a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Merlot, the wine reached 13.18% alcohol with a pH of 3.68. The Grand Vin was produced from 47% of the harvest. The picking took place September 18 through October 3. 92 – 94 Pts
2017 Blason d’Issan – Forward, and already approachable, the wine is medium bodied with a bright, fresh cherry and earthy character. This is all about its early drinking, elegant, soft textured charm. 87 – 89 Pts
2017 Kirwan – With its floral notes and spicy red fruits, the wine is medium bodied, sweet and fresh with an upright cherry core, creating a lighter style and an early drinking vintage. The wine was produced from blending 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. The harvest took place September 14 to September 28. 88 – 90 Pts
2017 La Tour de Mons – There is brightness along with a leafy component in this soft, forward medium-bodied wine. Displaying sharp red fruits, this is relatively classic in nature. 87 – 89 Pts
2017 Labegorce – Floral, black raspberry, espresso and earthy notes initiate a fresh, round, forward wine. This is soft, medium bodied with elegant textures and a sweet, ripe, fruity finish. Made from a blend of 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot, the wine reached13% alcohol. Thirty percent of the harvest was hit with frost. 91 – 93 Pts
2017 Lascombes – The wine is round and flashy. The fruit is ripe and sweet, damp with warm earth, tobacco and licorice. Made from blending 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot, this is the first vintage in recent times made from a Cabernet dominated blend. The wine is aging in 50% new, French oak barrels, which is a choice I hope they stick with, as the wines in the past often suffered from too much oak. 90 – 92 Pts
2017 LAura de Cambon – From a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon and 44% Merlot, you’ll notice the deep ruby hue before discovering the floral, licorice, espresso and cherry resonance. Soft textured, medium bodied and showing more brightness in the fruit than usual, a few years. 89 – 91 Pts
2017 Malescot St. Exupery – Deep and rich in color, this wine quickly evokes dark fruits, tobacco leaf, espresso, smoke and earthy nuances. On the palate, you’ll find a sweet, soft, fruity, full-bodied wine that expands in your mouth and delivers freshness and verve. Created from a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon and 42% Merlot, this reached13% alcohol with a pH of 3.75. The harvest took place September 19 to October 7. The estate lost close to 20% of their harvest to the frost. 93 – 95 Pts
2017 Chateau Margaux – Dark ruby in color, the wine is silky and seductive. This is not a powerful wine, instead a velvet and satin texture with complexity and length. On the palate, the wine beguiles you with its sweetness, lift and sumptuous qualities. This vintage contains a record amount of tannins for the estate, yet these tannins are so ripe and soft, you’ll barely notice them. This gem will have the ability to age for several decades. Made from a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.5% alcohol with a pH of 3.7. The Grand Vin was produced using only 37% of the return. The harvest commenced on September 18 and finished October 3 and the average yields were 35 hectoliters per hectare. Bravo for Philippe Bascules, the managing director who supervised this sublime production from start to finish. 96 – 98 Pts
2017 Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux – This medium-bodied wine, quite floral in nature, generates the perfect forum for the gently smoked, red fruits and pure cherry found on the nose and in the palate. The wine was made from blending 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. 92 – 94 Pts
2017 Marojallia – With a plummy, cassis, smoke, thyme and espresso profile, the wine is full bodied, round, soft and fleshy. Produced from a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. 91 – 93 Pts
2017 Marquis dAlesme – Blending 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 6%, Petit Verdot, the wine quickly shows off its floral essence with black cherry and spice box notes. Sweet and fresh, the wine is full bodied, soft, refined and displays its freshness and ripe cherries with a bit of cocoa just as you approach the endnote. The wine reached 13.5% alcohol. The harvest took place between September 25 and October 6. 92 – 94 Pts
2017 Marquis de Terme – Deeply colored with a nose that focuses on fresh red fruits, licorice, espresso and bitter chocolate, the wine is medium bodied, bright and almost crisp on the palate. There is fruit, sweetness and a lot of lift. 90 – 92 Pts
2017 Monbrison – Medium bodied, lighter styled, down-to-earth and filled with red berries, this wine is laced with a leafy tobacco edge. You can drink this young. 86 – 88 Pts
2017 Palmer – Flowers, exotic spice, black cherry, plum and licorice are announced as soon as the wine the hits the glass. Sensuous, sexy, silky and finesse driven, the red and dark fruits express a purity from start to finish. Give it five to ten years to gain softness and nuance. The wine was made from 54% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot. The harvest took place September 20 to September 29 and the wine reached 13.2% with a pH 3.75. Fifty-five percent of the harvest was used to produce the Grand Vin. 95 – 97 Pts
2017 Alter Ego de Palmer – Fresh-picked flowers, thyme, herbs, espresso and cherry griotte rise to the surface, just for the asking. Refined, silky with a hint of dust on the tannins, the wine spotlights elegance and purity of fruit. Produced from a blend of 53% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot, the harvest took place September 20 to September 29 15 hectares of vines, which normally go into Alter Ego were damaged by the frost. 91 – 93 Pts
2017 Paveil de Luze – Earthy, floral and tobacco filled, there is a hint of herbs along with the sweet and tart red fruits. The wine is fresh and bright, with an earthy, dried, red pit fruit character in the finish. 87 – 89 Pts
2017 Pouget – This medium-bodied wine is centered around its earthy, floral and bright, red berry character. This should drink well with just a few years of age. 88 – 90 Pts
2017 Prieure-Lichine – Showing deep color, the wine opens with coffee bean, black cherry, wet earth and floral tenors. Soft and silky, round and full bodied, there is abundant sweet, fresh dark red fruit with a touch of oak and thyme in the finish. 91 – 93 Pts
2017 Rauzan-Gassies – Medium bodied with an herbal, leafy accent to the bright red fruits, a few years in the cellar will add more complexity and softness to the wine. 87 – 89 Pts
2017 Rauzan Segla – Deep in color, this wine is violets, licorice, coffee bean, thyme and ripe red fruits which take no effort to find. The wine is luxurious, concentrated and bright with a texture that feels like the deep fruits were polished with velvet. On the palate, there is a sweetness and juicy quality to the fruit combined with energy and a kiss of oak. Give this a decade or just a bit longer and this beauty will really shine. The wine was produced from blending 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot, reaching 13.0% alcohol with a pH of 3.68. The harvest took place September 12 to September 28. The Grand Vin was made from 55% of the harvest. 94 – 96 Pts
2017 Segla – With floral accents along with sweet red fruits, this medium bodied, elegant, soft textured charmer is going to be ready to go on release. Segla is not sold En Primeur, so you need to look for it once it is bottled. But it is worth seeking out, as this is a good example of a top value from Margaux. 87-89 Pts
2017 Siran – Cherry blossom, licorice, espresso and ripe plums get the medium bodied wine off to a good start. It’s the blend of sweet, red fruits, soft, polished tannins and acidity that create the personality. You’ll be able to enjoy this while waiting for the 2015 and 2016 to mature.
The wine was made from blending 46% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petit Verdot. The harvest took place from September 18 to October 5 and he wine reached 13.5% alcohol. 90 – 92 Pts
2017 du Tertre – Walk into a flower store with a basket of cherries and you get the idea, especially if you add peppery spice, tobacco leaf and wet earth. Soft, polished, refined and sweet, the tannins are silky, the fruits are juicy and there is length. This is going to be delicious in its youth, and it will age well too! From a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot Franc, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.5% alcohol with a pH of 3.9. The harvest took place from September 14 until October 2. Due to the frost, they lost 35% of the crop. 91 – 93 Pts
Stay tuned because 2017 Pessac Leognan and Grave is up next. We will have it online later today.