The best wines of Bordeaux 2017

Cheval Blanc

2016 release price: €552 p/b
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW: 93-95
Julia Harding MW: 17.5
James Suckling: 97-98
Neal Martin: 93-95

An interesting and rather conflicted wine would perhaps sum up Cheval Blanc 2017.

It’s scores are, fine, and much like Ausone its rank as a grand cru classé ‘A’ will mean its inclusion in the top 10 is no real surprise.

The divide among the critics is not huge but it exists with one half giving the wine very solid high marks and the others…pulling their punches somewhat.

By all accounts it’s one of the more ‘intriguing’ if not outright “fascinating” (according to Martin) wines of the vintage.

Of all the great estates and terroirs , Cheval Blanc was actually hit by frost and rather seriously. As much as 33% to 35% of potential production was lost in two nights and two thirds of the plantings affected in some way, cutting production of the grand vin vs 2016 by half.

As Martin notes, this has led to 2017 being something of a “remix” vintage with a higher proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon than usual and rather less Cabernet Franc.

Depending on one’s preference this might make it something of a Marmite* wine and Martin for one is unconvinced.

It’s “cerebral” to taste he says but ultimately he misses the Cabernet Franc and this is reflected in his “cold-hearted” score – though 93-95 is still nothing to be sniffed at.

On the other hand, it’s perhaps the wine he thinks he’ll be most intrigued to return to in 10 or 20 years.

 

*A powerful, tangy, yeast-based spread that is simultaneously adored and reviled in the UK. Superior to Vegemite.

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