Bordeaux 2017: Harding and Perrotti-Brown scores highlight quality

After an intriguing start to en primeur last week, the release of scores from two heavyweight publications; and The Wine Advocate have swiftly followed and further supports the sense of the quality there is at the top end of the region’s production but add to the sense there is less consensus on which estates lead the way in 2017.

Lafleur is one label that is becoming quite a fixture on ‘best of the vintage’ lists; Perrotti-Brown called it “just magic”.

The reports with their extensive notes and scores were put together by Julia Harding MW for and Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW for The Wine Advocate.

Although both gave a number of impressively high scores demonstrating the high quality of the very best wines of the vintage, which châteaux they gave those scores to further demonstrates that this is not a vintage one can boil down to simply a ‘Left’ or a ‘Right’ bank one.

To start with, Harding’s very highest scores (18.5) have largely been given to Right Bank wines, and all Pomerol bar one St Emilion.

They were: Figeac (St Emilion), Lafleur, Petrus, Le Pin and Vieux Château Certan (all Pomerol), and her choice of Petrus in the top ranks chimes with Liv-ex’s global members who (when their choices were averaged out) chose it as their wine of the vintage.

The other top score she gave was to Yquem, and along with Perrotti-Brown’s scores there’s a sign here that, once again, the overlooked wines of the vintage including many of its real stars are going to be the dry and sweet whites.

Among the 18-pointers were rather more Left Bank properties such as Latour, Léoville Las Cases and Mouton Rothschild, and the Left Bank run continued in the 17.5+ category with Haut-Brion, Palmer, Calon Ségur and Cos d’Estournel all picking up that score alongside Angélus.

Perrotti-Brown’s top scores meanwhile, were more split. Those given brackets containing a potential 100-points included Cos d’Estournel (far and away the highest rating for the St Estèphe property – so far at least), Haut-Brion’s white wine and Lafleur (Lafleur actually a fairly consistently highly-rated and mentioned name so far this vintage).

In a slightly bigger bunch with a 97-99 point spread there were: Ausone; Lafite; Latour; Mouton; Pavie and Montrose.

Adding to Perrotti-Brown’s assertion that the whites in 2017 are, in a word, “wow”, Smith Haut-Lafitte’s white wine also had a highly rated 96-98+ spread.

The scores also offer some vindication for Château Palmer, the early release of which was a bit of a surprise to many; being released before a lot of scores had been announced.

Liv-ex noted at the time that should its eventual Wine Advocate score (to which its prices are most closely correlated) be at least 96-97 then it would be ‘fair value’ against previous vintages and with a 96-98 spread perhaps it will be seen as just that.

Both critics were broadly positive about the quality of the wines at the upper end of the market though Perrotti-Brown warned there were some “pretty dire” wines at the lower end.

With the release of the scores from these two leading publications, attention will no doubt turn to Antonio Galloni and Neal Martin, the heavyweight duo at Vinous to see what their take is going to be.

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