Vintages buyer Paul Farrell is heading to Bordeaux to size up the 2017s. This is his overview of the vintage heading into en primeur week and his schedule of château and négociant visits. Paul’s impressions of the wines will be published here on April 26.
The 2017 vintage is being referred to as The Year of the Frost. An unseasonably warm first half of April started things off early, then in the final days of the month came a devastating frost—the impact of which, for those most severely affected, will influence supply for years. This was the region’s smallest crop in decades.
Eighty percent of top wines from 150 leading châteaux were not impacted by frost. This is because vineyards in the best terroirs have all the advantages needed to produce great wine under difficult circumstances. The vintage looks particularly promising for the key appellations of Pauillac, St-Estèphe and St-Julien. At the top end, there should be reasonable volumes and good to very good quality.
|A.M.||Arrive in Bordeaux||UGC Tasting||Ch. d’Issan, Ch. Margaux, Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Ch. Pontet-Canet, Ch. Mouton Rothschild, Ch. Lafite||Ch. Tour Saint Christophe, Ch. Pavie Macquin, Ch. La Confession, Ch. Angelus, Ch. Canon, Ch. Ausone, Ch. Canon-la-Gaffelière||Nathaniel Johnston office tasting, Ch. Smith Haut Lafitte, Domaine de Chevalier, Ch. Haut-Bailly, Ch. Haut-Brion, Ch. Les Carmes Haut-Brion||Joanne Futures Tasting/recap of vintage|
|P.M.||Ulysses Cazabonne tasting/introduction to the vintage. Ch. Kirwan visit.||Moueix and Petrus||Ch. Calon Ségur, Ch. Montrose, Ch. Cos d’Estournel, Ch. Ducru Beaucaillou, Ch. Léoville Las Cases, Ch. Latour||Ch. Figeac, Ch. Cheval Blanc (+ d'Yquem), Vieux Chateau Certan, Ch. La Conseillante, Ch. l’Evangile, Ch. Nenin, Ch. Clinet, Ch. L'Eglise-Clinet, Ch. Le Gay||Review and formalize impressions||Fly home|
Category Manager, European Wines, Vintages
Paul and the Vintages buying team evaluate 25,000 wines per year, bringing approximately 5,000 of these to the market. Paul has been with the LCBO and Vintages since 2001, first as a Product Consultant in stores, next as a writer for its website and catalogues, and, since 2008, as a buyer. Currently he oversees all European wine purchases for Vintages. He holds a WSET diploma and is recognized as one of the top product experts at the LCBO.