En Primeur 2017

The wines with tasting notes

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[Add to shopping basket] Branaire Ducru St Julien £410 91-93 92-93 88-90 89 90-93 -
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The 2017 Branaire Ducru was picked 13 September until 4 October over a three-week period, cropped at 39.6hl/ha. The alcohol here is 13.2°. The wine is aged in 60% new oak, which is how the sample was made. It has a harmonious bouquet with brambly black fruit, melted tar and tobacco scents, not powerful but precise. The palate is medium-bodied with a smooth texture, fine tannin, just a subtle savory note developing and merging nicely with the black fruit, hints of white pepper and cedar towards the poised finish that is quintessential Saint-Julien. There is an essence of drinkability about this Branaire-Ducru and I can imagine this being approachable after three to four years. This is a very fine Branaire-Ducru.

Score: 91 - 93 Neal Martin, Vinous Media.com Maturity: 2021-2040

This is very tight and focused with a precise depth of blackberry and blueberry fruit. Full body, melted tannins and a fresh and vivid finish. Shows a compacted style.

Score: 92 - 93 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

The deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Branaire-Ducru gives up notes of baked black berries, red cherries and mulberries with touches of potpourri and smoked meats. Medium-bodied with a lively line lifting the good concentration of red and black fruits, it has a chewy frame and grippy finish.

Score: 88 - 90 Lisa Perotti-Brown MW, robertparker.com

A little tight, austere and hard to read. I tasted this on several occasions and each time it needed to be taken slowly, giving it time to unwind and to come out of its shell. There is a lovely richness to it that builds through the mid-palate, and the well expressed plum and blackberry fruit is soft. It's a balanced and elegant St-Julien, but just a touch underpowered.

Score: 89 Jane Anson, Decanter.com Maturity: 2024-2038

The plum and cherry paste flavors show good energy, with floral lift and sleek graphite accents adding to the sense of range and definition. Well done.

Score: 90 - 93 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2017 Branaire-Ducru offers lovely depth and density. The characteristic dark red/purplish fruit character of Brainaire comes through beautifully. As always, Branaire is a wine of polish and finesse. Stylistically, the 2017 comes across as a smaller scaled and more accessible version of the 2015. If that sounds appealing, well, it is. The 2017 is really quite lovely. Tasted three times.

Score: 91 - 94 Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media.com

The deep purple-colored 2017 Château Branaire-Ducru offers a fresh, focused, classic style in 2017. Beautiful spring flowers, black and blue fruits, and a kiss of minerality all emerge from this medium-bodied effort that has nicely integrated acidity, a balanced, clean texture, and plenty of mid-palate depth. My money is on this ending up being an outstanding wine.

Score: 90 - 92 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

Deep cherry red. Fragrant with pure, pretty cassis on the nose. Slightly leafy. But a little dilute on the palate. The tannins are light enough to give balance but it's pretty lightweight overall, hence the rather early drinking date.

Score: 15 - 16 Julia Harding MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2022-2030

[Add to shopping basket] Brane Cantenac Margaux £576 91-93 92-93 - 93 88-91 -
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The 2017 Brane-Cantenac was picked from 14 September to 2 October at 31.2hl/ha after frost destroyed 35% of the vines in April. It is matured in 75% new oak and 25% one-year old and it has 13% alcohol. It has a tightly wound bouquet with broody black fruit, tar and a touch of graphite, very Pauillac in style as usual. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, very linear and precise, not a deep Margaux and unashamedly classic in style with dry, slightly brusque tannin. The finish is dominated by tobacco and pencil lead notes with healthy pinch of pepper on the aftertaste. Classic Brane-Cantenac through and through. Tasted on three occasions.

Score: 91 - 93 Neal Martin, Vinous Media.com Maturity: 2022-2040

Dark currant, berry and fresh herb character. Full-bodied, juicy and flavorful. Very structured. Solid finish and length. Better than 2014?

Score: 92 - 93 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

A lovely wine that sits extremely prettily though the palate, with a seductive expression of florality and blackberry fruits. It's not as powerful as the past two years, but is skilfully worked with soft grilled oak notes. It doesn't sacrifice the excellent quality that this estate has been producing.

Score: 93 Jane Anson, Decanter.com Maturity: 2025-2038

A light singed alder hint leads the way here, along with light bay leaf and savory notes, while the core of gently steeped black cherry and plum fruit fills in slowly. Shows modest intensity through the finish but the flavors knit nicely.

Score: 88 - 91 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2017 Brane-Cantenac opens with a good burst of fruit, but then loses some intensity in its mid-palate and finish as the tannins clamp down on the fruit. In this tasting, the 2017 comes across as a bit slender. Some of that may be attributable to the relatively high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (74%) in the blend. Two thousand seventeen is also the first vintage to include Petit Verdot. All those details aside, the 2017 is an attractive Brane-Cantenac built on persistence.

Score: 88 - 91 Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media.com

The 2017 Château Brane-Cantenac should be a terrific wine and offers a medium-bodied, nicely concentrated, silky, elegant style. Loads of black raspberries, cedar pencil, and dried flower notes as well as sweet fruit, ripe tannin, and a complex, layered texture make for a classic Margaux that’s going to drink nicely for two decades.

Score: 89 - 92 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

Deep crimson. Complex aroma that pulls together black olive as well as sweet spice and cassis leaf and fruit. Creamy texture, nicely balanced, lightish and elegant with a juicy finish.

Score: 16 - 17 Julia Harding MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2022-2032

[Add to waiting list] Calon Segur St Estephe £750 Sold Out 92-94 94-95 92-94 94 91-94 -
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The 2017 Calon-Ségur was cropped at 43.5hl/ha and underwent a 20-day cuvaison after which it is matured entirely in new oak for 20 months. It contains 13.2° alcohol. At the moment the aromatics convey the 100% new oak but there is sufficient fruit underneath. There is a palpable sense of “coolness” imbuing the aromatics and like other Saint-Estèphe barrel samples, it conveys a subtle estuary-like tincture. The palate is medium-bodied with saturated tannin, beautifully integrated new oak that lends this a silky texture. Perhaps this is the smoothest of all the 2017s I encountered within this appellation, a classy and sophisticated Calon-Ségur in the making and heightened by the thrilling tension towards the finish and the latent energy that lingers in the mouth. Excellent.

Score: 92 - 94 Neal Martin, Vinous Media.com Maturity: 2024-2045

This is very delicate on the attack but it grows on the palate with firm and silky tannins that turn lightly chewy. Builds consistently. Compacted and tight.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

The 2017 Calon-Ségur is tentatively blended of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple in color, it opens with pronounced black currants, crushed blackberries and fresh black plums with hints of cigar box, sandalwood and cinnamon stick plus a waft of mossy bark. The palate is medium-bodied, elegant, energetic and fresh with layers of black fruit, perfumed incense and fragrant earth notions, lingering nicely with exotic spices coming through on the finish.

Score: 92 - 94 Lisa Perotti-Brown MW, robertparker.com

This is rich, with fresh blueberry and cassis notes. The fruit is on the elegant side, and this should be earlier to drink than the 2016 and even the 2014. Technical director Vincent Bache-Gabrielsen and the team took an interesting approach to building the mid-palate, increasing the persistency by re-integrating the press wine immediately after vinification, so having both free run and press wine together during maceration. Blending the press wine at such an early stage took a leap of faith, as did using so much of the young, nine-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon in the first blend. But it works - this is precise, balanced and appealing, building slowly over the palate. Yield of 43.5hl/ha, 40% of production into the grand vin. 3.7pH.

Score: 94 Jane Anson, Decanter.com Maturity: 2025-2040

This is very pure and sleek in feel, with an iron note running from start to finish while cassis, cherry and damson plum fruit plays out. The long, focused finish has light bay and savory hints while letting the minerality sing.

Score: 91 - 94 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2017 Calon Ségur is a classy, polished wine. Conditions favored Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes up 76% of the blend. Open-knit and supple, the 2017 is surprisingly open and harmonious in the early going. Hints of espresso, mocha, red cherry jam, cinnamon and dusk of new French oak add accents, but it is the wine's gentle personality that stands out most. In some vintages, Calon Ségur speaks loudly. In 2017, the Grand Vin is hushed and yet very expressive. The blend is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Tasted three times.

Score: 90 - 93 Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media.com

Inky core with black-cherry rim. Ripe, dark and with a fine mineral cast to the cassis fruit, which is ripe but not sweet. Paper-fine tannins in many layers. Great ageing potential but also accessible. Deceptively accessible, suggesting lack of ageing ability, but I don't think that is the case. Cool, fresh, serious, fine cassis fruit. The finesse comes from the lack of sweetness but there's no lack of fruit. Dry, firm and very St-Estèphe, with tannin structure. But the structure is filled molecule by molecule with the fruit. It's so finely balanced. There's more firmness than in Cos but there's still excellent harmony. Opens to a hint of violets. Super-moreish and juicy even with the structure of the terroir. (17.5+ Points)

Score: 17 - 18 Julia Harding MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2025-2040

The 2017 Calon Ségur is a smoking effort and lends credence to the idea that the northern Médoc (Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe) was the place to be in 2017. Deep purple-colored, it’s packed with notions of ripe blackberries, black cherries, crushed rocks, and Asian spice characteristics that all flow to a medium to full-bodied, rich, concentrated, sexy 2017 that has more fruit, depth, and richness than most. The 2017 is a rough blend at the moment of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot, which will spend 20 months in new French oak.

Score: 92 - 94 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

[Add to shopping basket] Canon St Emilion £810 92-94 94-95 94-96 94 93-96 -
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The 2017 Canon was picked 4 to 21 September and 22 to 27 September for the Merlot and Cabernet Franc at 42hl/ha and matured in 56% new oak. There is 14.0° alcohol this year and the pH comes in at 3.66. This takes a little time to open, eventually revealing blackberry, briary, crushed stone and light iris scents. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannins and good backbone. Strangely, it reminds me a little of modern-day Figeac, that Cabernet component smaller here but very expressive with touches of graphite and flint towards the linear but beguilingly fresh finish. I like the manner in which the limestone shines through the wine here, something noticeable in recent vintages. Whilst not the sensational 2015 or 2016, it is a damn fine Saint-Émilion that will settle at the top of my banded score.

Score: 92 - 94 Neal Martin, Vinous Media.com Maturity: 2022-2045

This is very focused and fresh with limestone and crushed-stone character. Medium to full body, integrated tannins and a salty finish. Shows lots of minerality already. Umami licorice undertones.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

The deep purple-black colored 2017 Canon offers-up intense notes of crushed blackberries, black cherries and warm cassis with touches of fertile loam, yeast extract, beef drippings and iron ore plus a waft of garrigue. Medium to full-bodied with great freshness and firm, rounded tannins, it's very earthy in the mouth, finishing long and mineral-laced. A very serious wine, it is also fun, bright and vivacious and should age impressively.

Score: 94 - 96 Lisa Perotti-Brown MW, robertparker.com

Another successful year for Canon; not as voluptuous as in 2016 or 2015, but it has a wonderful salinity and a crisp, fresh curl to the fruit. They aim for crystalline flavours, vibrant fruit and a sense of forward motion, and for me it has that again this year. The flavours of blueberries, blackberries and soft, smoky almonds are drawn out through the palate, and by the time it has finished you are ready to go again. It has an austerity that is overridden by the juice, not quite overriding the vintage, but it's a delicious wine that again showcases the beauty of limestone. 50% new oak. Thomas Duclot is consultant here, and it really is a great year for the estates that he works with.

Score: 94 Jane Anson, Decanter.com Maturity: 2025-2040

A very pretty, slightly high-pitched version, featuring sleek cherry, cassis and damson plum fruit racing through, picking up light savory and mineral notes. The minerality blooms through the finish, with a floral gilding adding a sparkly effect on the long, unencumbered finish.

Score: 93 - 96 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

One of the gems in the vintage is the 2017 Château Canon, which checks in at 73% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc. Sensational notes of black cherries, blueberries, liquid violets, awesome graphite, and scorched earth-like minerality all give way to a medium to full-bodied, concentrated, incredibly pure, yet masculine beauty that has building tannin, beautiful purity of fruit, and a great finish. It's not going to match the 2015 on sheer size and scale, but it's a sensational wine. It’s going to need 3-4 years of bottle age to be drinkable and will keep for two decades or more. Tasted twice.

Score: 94 - 97 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

Deep crimson. Sweet dark plums and a touch of vanilla. Lovely pure black fruit that sings, if quietly for now. Silky and elegant. Refined and just slides over the palate to a very long finish. Subtle beauty.

Score: 17 Julia Harding MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2022-2032

A rich, explosive wine, the 2017 Canon exudes class from the very first taste. Huge aromatics resonate through to the palate, where the wine is deep, fleshy and beautifully layered. Effortless and gracious, Canon is a wine of real pedigree. I don't think the 2017 will reach the dizzying heights of the 2015 or 2016, but it will be interesting to see how close it gets.

Score: 93 - 96 Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media.com

[Add to shopping basket] Canon La Gaffeliere St Emilion £654 87-89 94-95 91-93 - 90-93 -
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The 2017 Canon-la-Gaffelière was picked 18 September to 10 October at 16hl/ha, matured in 55% new oak. It has a fairly straightforward bouquet with high-toned black cherry and cassis fruit, the second-generation fruit lending freshness, though it does not have the complexity or depth of a great Canon-la-Gaffelière and there are a number of those in recent years. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, fleshy in the mouth and well balanced with notes of raspberry preserve, blackberry and light tea-leaves; smoky notes emerging towards the finish. This was sampled several times during my tastings, the final two showings undoubtedly superior. Yet despite the Herculean efforts I still feel that the second-generation fruit discombobulates what could have been a better wine. It should still offer a decade’s worth of drinking pleasure and in any case, it will be fascinating to see how it evolves.

Score: 87 - 89 Neal Martin, Vinous Media.com Maturity: 2021-2034

This is really excellent for the vintage with wonderful density of fruit in terms of plum liqueur and creme de cassis. The palate’s plush but velvety with round tannins and a long finish. Should drink fabulously when young. So generous but silky and dialed-in.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Composed of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2017 Canon la Gaffeliere contains a large part of second-generation fruit because 65% of the crop was affected by frost. Deep garnet-purple in color, it has pronounced crème de cassis, blueberry pie, red currants and red plums notes with touches of Chinese five spice, fragrant earth, tapenade and tobacco. The palate is medium-bodied with nice firm tannins giving a sturdy frame along with plenty of freshness supporting great mid-palate density, finishing long and earthy. (91-93+)

Score: 91 - 93 Lisa Perotti-Brown MW, robertparker.com

Charming cassis and blackberry puree flavors glide along the polished structure, with light rooibos tea and anise accents chiming in. Offers a bright, polished finish.

Score: 90 - 93 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

A blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in 55% new French oak, the 2017 Canon-la-Gaffelière offers a Burgundian mineral-laced bouquet of crushed flowers, forest floor, earth and both black and blue fruits. It has sensational purity, moderate depth, building tannin, and a great finish. It’s certainly one of the fresher, more vibrant wines in the vintage, and the tannins will need to be watched, but its purity and elegance are something. I suspect the cellar will be your friend and it should be long-lived. Tasted twice. (92-94+ Points)

Score: 92 - 94 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

Very dark, black core. Lightly minty black fruit, suggesting ripeness, and a touch of oak char. Sweet and juicy on the palate, surprisingly light overall but harmonious and mouth-wateringly fresh.

Score: 16 - 17 Julia Harding MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2023-2030

The 2017 Canon La Gaffelière is superb. Compelling in its aromatics and overall balance, the 2017 has so much to offer. All the elements simply fall into place. As is the case with all of Stephan von Neipperg's wines, the 2017 is wonderfully fresh and nuanced, with less muscle than in the past and noticeably more finesse. Bright floral and mocha notes add lift to the dark red stone fruits. What a gorgeous wine this is. Tasted two times.

Score: 92 - 95 Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media.com

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