As the reviews on Bugundy 2017 begin to be published, we have collated a brief summary of what the critics are saying. As the reviews roll in, we will continue to update this article, but with full reports on Chablis from Neal Martin (Vinous), William Kelley (Wine Advocate) and Nick Stock (James Suckling), as well as a Cote de Beaune report from Stephen Tanzer, there is already plenty to get excited about...
COTE DE BEAUNE
Stephen Tanzer (Vinous) on the 2017 Vintage
Stephen Tanzer has been the first leading critic to publish a report on the 2017 vintage for white wine in the Cote de Beaune. Following a fairly easy-going growing season (by Burgundian standards), he describes the wines as: “elegant, pure wines with considerable aromatic appeal”.
Tanzer suggests that a positive point for the vintage overall is that the wines do not suffer from 'surmaturite'. "Few wines display super ripe notes of tropical fruits. On the contrary, the better 17s entice, with high pitched notes of minerals, flowers and white pepper and noteworthy delineation of flavour."
He continues, “The 17s will be considered more classical in style than either the 2016 or 2015 by those who prefer supple balanced wines without extremes”. Judging from this comment, 2017 may well be the best vintage for whites in Burgundy since the epic 2014.
Whilst he describes many of the wines as “easy-going fruit-driven wines of considerable charm”, he goes on to clarify that "a good number of them are more serious than that.”
After having the opportunity to taste through a large selection of 2017 Chablis, we can confirm that the quality from the top producers is outstanding. The wines have great tension as well as a fruity core (very much on the citrus spectrum, rather than riper melon and orange). It is a much more classic vintage than 2015 and 2016 and reminiscent of the very underrated 2012s.
In Chablis there is a growing movement raising the bar in terms of quality. Whilst Raveneau and Dauvissat are leading the way with regards to quality and collectability, a new generation of growers are hot on their heels and represent astonishing value.
As Neal Martin of Vinous attests: “Some oenophiles’ interest in Chablis does not extend beyond , which is understandable but short-sighted since there is a clutch of growers who are making Chablis on almost the same level, such as Samuel Billaud, Gilbert Picq and Patrick Piuze…".
Neal Martin (Vinous) on the 2017 Vintage
“A region that is becoming one of the most exciting in Burgundy… if you are thinking of getting into Chablis, then the time to do it is now.”
“Generally speaking, I find the 2017 vintage to hold more promise than the 2016… I discern more brightness and clarity”.
“Several growers describe the harvest as stress-free, like in 2014, and that makes a difference… overall it is a vintage that may end up being the best since 2014.”
“Chablis articulates terroir with greater transparency than any other wine region.”
“That tang of struck flint. The tension and energy sprung-loaded into great Chablis"
“In talented hands Chablis can satisfy both the senses and the intellect.”
Nick Stock (James Suckling) on the 2017 Vintage
Nick Stock of James Suckling is also quick to praise the 2017 vintage: "The wines from 2017 are covered in considerable depth and, to my taste, well and truly outperform the 2016s for quality. A vintage that shows a great deal of promise, 2017 is more vertical than 2016 in terms of palate shape and more vibrant and energetic, with a greater sense of tension. The wines are more succulent, often characterized by a thread of lively acidity that cuts nicely through ripe-fruit flavors."
Stock does, however, reference yield as a quality-defining factor in 2017: “If we don’t talk about the problem of yield, 2017 was a very good vintage. Temperatures were not too hot or too cold, good rains arrived at the right time and the vintage delivered good maturity and concentration at harvest. So you have acidity and concentration. A blend of 2014 (acidity) and 2012 (fruit) perhaps?”. He continues, "Good times lie ahead in Chablis, but, for now, buy 2017s with confidence."
William Kelley (Wine Advocate) on the 2017 vintage
Finally, we turn to William Kelley of the Wine Advocate for his initial impressions on the 2017s...
“The 2017 is a much more homogeneous and classical vintage than 2016”.
“At this early stage, the wines display a generous, sun-kissed quality without attaining the extremes of ripeness, concentration and extract found in 2015. Readers may wish to think of them as a somewhat fresher, brighter version of the 2009 vintage, and the best wines evoke a hypothetical blend of that year with the cooler, tangier 2010 vintage”.