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Bordeaux 2017: Guiraud first out

Sauternes estate Château Guiraud has fired the first round in this year’s en primeur campaign, releasing its 2017 wine with a 4% increase on last year.

Château Guiraud

The price was announced this morning (4 April) at €31.20 a bottle ex-négociant, a rise of 4% on the €30 asked for last year.

Guiraud – and indeed many other Sauternes – have taken to releasing the prices for the new vintage considerably in advance of the major tastings in the region, giving them a little in the way of exposure rather than being lost in the glut of Left and Right Bank releases in late April, May and June (however long the campaign lasts).

Last year Guiraud was, in fact, even more precocious, out on 27 March.

With so little critical consensus on the vintage, it is difficult to know quite what to make of the very modest price rise.

Speak to any merchant or commentator of course and the immediate desire is (as always) to see prices perhaps recede (just a little) on last year and certainly not to go up.

This sentiment, however, is directed rather more at the cru classé of the Left and Right Banks and most tend to treat Sauternes with a greater degree of leniency in this regard due to the quality of the wines that have been produced in recent years, the costs associated with it and the less wild fluctuations in price campaign after campaign.

Sauternes and Barsac were hit by the frosts as cruelly and vicariously as any other commune in 2017 and Guiraud has produced 50,000 bottles in 2017 compared to 80,000 in 206 but producers are not down on the quality of the wines they have produced (are they ever?).

One of the few critics who has tasted the 2017s in any volume so far is, of course, James Suckling, who has said that the white wines, dry and sweet, are “very beautiful” and has already tipped Château d’Yquem as one of his wines of the vintage.

Fellow American James Molesworth meanwhile awarded it 92-95 in his recently released notes and complimented the wine’s orange peel, almond cream and apricot flavours as “juicy and brightly defined”.

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