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Return to Sauternes: The 2017 Vintage

Return to Sauternes: The 2017 Vintage

The 2021 vintage was one that the stalwart individuals who populate the appellations of Sauternes and Barsac would perhaps rather forget. It is not that it was a vintage of poor quality, far from it. Indeed, tasting the wines at the primeurs earlier this year (April 2022 if you are reading this in the 23rd century) I was struck by the delicious flavours, dense concentrations and fresh vibrant acidities. It was a vintage to buy into.

If you could find any, that is.

The problem with 2021 was not quality, but quantity. In a particularly cruel blow to the region, what eventually turned out to be a vintage of excellent quality had begun with a devastating frost which wiped out most of the crop before the season even got underway. The majority of châteaux reported microscopic yields, many less than 5 hl/ha, some less than 1 hl/ha, while a few resorted to reporting the small number of litres, or even individual bottles, they had managed to produce. You can of course read much more detail about that vintage in my 2021 Sauternes & Barsac report.

What does all this have to do with the 2017 vintage though? Fear not, I have not lost my mind, and the answer to this question is a practical one. Only a small number of châteaux had a sample to show during the 2021 primeurs, as a number of them produced no wine at all. So I ended up with some free time. I had two options. Option one: kick back, enjoy a lazy afternoon, and maybe – if the mood for work suddenly returned – type up one or two of my ever-growing repository of Bordeaux 2021 tasting notes. Option two: taste some different wines. Not a huge vertical, featuring wines back to the 1920s (although that can be fun), but something more relevant, featuring wines which are available to buy.

Another Sauternes vintage, perhaps? Maybe 2017?

Return to Sauternes: The 2017 Vintage

There are obviously no prizes for guessing which option I chose.

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