“Vintage seeks home”: Neal Martin on Bordeaux 2017 in bottle

“The 2017s are a testament to the consistency that Bordeaux now achieves, such that even unexceptional growing seasons or those affected by a late spring frost can bestow great wines at healthy volumes. And therein lies Bordeaux’s greatest asset and greatest weakness.” – Neal Martin

Neal Martin scores

Vinous has just released Neal Martin’s report on Bordeaux 2017, in which the critic assesses the vintage’s quality in light of the current market situation. Martin recognises that “there is little incentive to buy 2017 Bordeaux”, partially due to the relatively high prices and even higher volumes, the “clogged-up distribution chain” and the 25% US tariffs.

But Martin’s account of the vintage is largely positive. For him, the wines “are smart, respectable and self-effacing, not ambitious, but they do have class. They know their place within the hierarchy and have no desire to snatch glory away from 2016. They do what is expected with minimum fuss: that is to say, they express their respective terroirs, reflect the DNA of the château and give drinking pleasure within a limited time frame.”

Martin also looks “beyond the frost that blighted hopes early in April” and tells a story of winemaking progress, “a step in the right direction”.

He claims that many Right Bank wines “in particular within Saint-Émilion, have meliorated during their élevage [and] testify to a new breed of winemaker with revised techniques and tenets”. He adds that “on the Left Bank, such is the meticulous approach and dedication at the top estates that hardly anyone produced what I might call a disappointing or underperforming wine”.

Martin further advises that the 2017s are perceived as “fertile ground for those who could not afford the 2016s”.

His top-scoring wines, along with their current Market Prices, can be found in table above.

You can read Martin’s full report on Vinous, here.