This week is the final round up of the 2017 campaign with the last and arguably the best wine of the vintage Chateau Ausone being released on Thursday. Other major right bank releases this week included Chateau Cheval Blanc, Le Pin and Chateau L’Eglise Clinet.
Now with everything out and with a bit more time to consider the campaign as a whole, it becomes easier to identify the real highlights. On the right bank it was the small micro sites that really benefitted in 2017. Managing the frost, drought and the Autumn rains as well as benefitting from the ability to have a precise picking regime became paramount in this complex vintage. When managed well, these sites produced concentrated complex wines with an additional freshness distinct in 2017.
For the left bank, higher than normal proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon seemed to be the key to success in 2017. Whilst the distinct freshness typical of the vintage created something very different from the big blockbuster vintages of 2015 and 2016. Again when managed well the Left Bank produced some very fine wines.
Beyond how the wines taste, getting the price right was also key to individual producers success in the campaign. Top releases in terms of quality to price ratio included Chateau Mondotte, Chateau Leoville Barton, Chateau Canon, Chateau Pontet Canet, Chateau Feytit Clinet, Chateau Carmes de Haut Brion and Chateau Marquis d'Alesme. High sales of each of these wines indicated a well informed buying market that were interested in the vintage, providing the price was right. Considering the heightened interest and coverage of the exceptional 2015 and 2016 vintages, 2017 was always going to be a difficult follow-up, but the wines that excelled in both quality and price made for a compelling buy.