In April, the Sotheby's Wine tasting team – Serena Sutcliffe MW, Jamie Ritchie, Adam Bilbey and Nicholas Jackson – spent eight days in Bordeaux tasting the most important vintages from 2017, from Pomerol to Pauillac and St Emilion to St Estephe. Read ahead to learn about the wines that have already been released; click here to view the current list of Bordeaux Futures releases.
The first week of the 2017 Futures campaign saw a couple of good releases, notably the excellent Palmer, one of the very best wines from the Medoc in this vintage. Palmer was a standout wine on the Left Bank this year – perfumed, rich and with that touch of the exotic that is so typical of the estate. At a significant discount to the previous vintage, Palmer represents a good buy.
Merlot 54%, Cabernet Sauvignon 42%, Petit Verdot 4%. 55% of the crop. 38 hl/ha. A brilliant, vital, multi-dimensional nose of dazzling fresh fruit – does this derive from the biodynamic policy? A terrific mouthful of clean, vibrant black fruit, with deep, curranty flavors. An incredible velvety texture, with great verve at the end. This is a star for its pure beauty. —Serena Sutcliffe, MW
An energy and freshness to the nose with aromatics that jump out of the glass. Blackberry, bramble, mulberry and a menthol forest floor edge. Delicacy, purity and a lovely cashmere-like flow. A wonderful nose! Elegance and poise to the palate with a pure blackberry and kirsch core and gentle lift and grip from the very fine tannins. Focused, defined with a seamless texture, a delicacy and an attention to detail that few have this year. Deceptively powerful and almost Burgundian (Bonnes Mares) like. One of the wines of the vintage. —Adam Bilbey
US$1,590 (6 x 750ml)
US$3,180 (12 x 750ml)
US$265 per bottle compared to $317 for 2016; 16% decrease
HK$11,688 (6 x 750ml)
HK$23,376 (12 x 750ml)
HK $1,948 per bottle compared to $2,450 for 2016; 20% decrease.
Alter Ego de Palmer
The Alter Ego de Palmer is Palmer in a more understated guise: elegant, refined and will make for very attractive early drinking.
Healthy, bright, voluptuous blackberry and blackcurrant. Spicy and creamy with good intensity. Juicy and vibrant with a luscious texture. Harmonious and beautifully integrated, with sweet fruit, ripe, fine grained tannins and freshness. Lovely fresh blackcurrant finish. Pure, fresh and elegant but with concentration. —Jamie Ritchie
Merlot 53%, Cabernet Sauvignon 41%, Petit Verdot 6%. 45% of the crop. An attractive blueberry nose, with a touch of fenugreek. Lots of coffee and chocolate on the palate. Soft and with finesse – great care obviously taken with extraction. —Serena Sutcliffe, MW
US$420 (6 x 750ml)
US$840 (12 x 750ml)
US$70 per bottles compared to $66 for 2016; 6% increase
HK$3,054 (6 x 750ml)
HK$6,108 (12 x 750ml)
HK$509 compared to $500 for 2016; 2% increase
One of the top performing Pomerol properties in this vintage, Hosanna 2017 is velvety, succulent and spicy – everything that you could want from a Pomerol! Moreover, it was already tasting delicious in April and should be accessible relatively early. Hosanna is always a solid buy and this is another successful vintage for the wine.
Merlot 70%, Cabernet Franc 30% (in the vineyard). Quite tight on the nose, bursting to express itself. Very polished and glossy on the palate, with tannin at the end. —Serena Sutcliffe, MW
Raspberries, red cherries, plums, liquorice and spice. Very classic, elegant Pomerol. Violets, toasty oak, cherry finish. Seductive and charming. Good length and lovely purity. —Jamie Ritchie
US$978 (6 x 750ml)
US$1,956 (12 x 750ml)
US$163 per bottle compared to $140 for 2016; 16% increase
Only available for sale in USD with delivery to New York
In 2017 there is no doubt that Lafleur is one of the top wines not only of the Right Bank, but of all Bordeaux. Everything that makes this such an outstanding property is here in abundance: a velvety texture, particularly sensual and complex aromas and flavors and a long, satisfying finish. Highly recommended.
Cabernet Franc 53%, Merlot 47%. 46 hl/ha. A lovely scent assails you immediately – violets and cassis. On the palate, there is real concentration in the center, with an explosion of myriad fruits, a long finish and a sweet sign-off. The family are smiling here. —Serena Sutcliffe, MW
More depth and volume than the Pensées and the Cabernet Franc – far more. Expanse to the nose with black cherry, plums and blackcurrant leaf and a raspberry-like menthol lift. There is also a saline edge that really offers an added dimension. Not as brooding as some Lafleur vintages but a great balance of fruit and the freshness of vintage. A darker core of fruit, with a tannic grip giving this a broad shouldered structure. The fresh, saline character of the vintage gives focus and direction. More age-worthy than most, I think. —Adam Bilbey
US$5,034 (6 x 750ml)
US$839 per bottle compared to $795 for 2016; 5% increase
Only available in USD shipped to New York
Pensées de Lafleur
The other wine of the property, Pensées de Lafleur, represents excellent value for what is a brilliant Pomerol in its own right – aromatic, concentrated and very beautiful.
Merlot 52%, Cabernet Franc 48%. This is, of course, not a second wine of Lafleur, but a different parcel. There is a lightness to the scent and the weight of Les Pensées – not at all like the 2015 here, in spite of the similar analysis. The red fruit is to the fore and the tannins have real finesse. —Serena Sutcliffe, MW
Excellent mandarin orange nose, so typical of the best Pomerol wines in this vintage. So succulent and sweet on the palate. Very concentrated in the context of the year. Compact tannins: powerful and sweet. Will be very good but, unusually for the vintage, will need some time. —Nicholas Jackson
US$1,026 (6 x 750ml)
US$171 per bottles compared to $148 for 2016; 15% increase
Only available in USD shipped to New York
The lovely 2017 vintage of Beychevelle is particularly elegant, fresh, pure and well made – a textbook Saint Julien. This is a classical wine that will drink well from a relatively young age. There’s so much to like here.
Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Merlot 45%, Petit Verdot 4%, Cabernet Franc 1% (from press juice). 60% new oak. A berryish nose leads to a good fruit center on the palate, with glossy tannins, in the Beychevelle manner. Silky smooth. —Serena Sutcliffe, MW
Primary red and blackcurrants and cherries. Fresh, juicy and fruity, with a savoury, spicy, cherry finish combined with tobacco and cedar. Attractive, well made. —Jamie Ritchie
US$444 (6 x 750ml)
US$888 (12 x 750ml)
US $74 per bottle compared to $78 for 2016; 5% decrease
HK$3,240 (6 x 750ml)
HK$6,480 (12 x 750ml)
HK$540 per bottle compared to $585 for 2016; 8% decrease
Wine currently held in Bordeaux. Estimated arrival in the US: fall 2020. Only available in 6-bottle original wooden cases.
Pricing for other formats (375ml, 1.5L, 3L, 6L) for select vintages available on request: please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire.
Click here to browse the full list of current 2017 Bordeaux Futures releases.