Loire 2017 at Three Years: White Wines
Looking back at the 2017 vintage now that three years have passed allows it to be viewed in a new context, one which highlights the mouth-wateringly fresh structures many of these wines possess. At the time this feature of the white wines did not necessarily stand out as being special; after all, the 2016 vintage had also produced many poised and acid-fresh wines. And although 2017 could not hold a candle to the 2014 vintage, which from the outset shimmered with electric minerality and acid drive, the wines of 2017 clearly had freshness and balance. Job done. Nothing to write home about.
The three years that have since passed, however, cast 2017 in a very different light. First came the 2018 vintage, with its long, incredibly warm and sunny summer, generating a slew of richly textured and aromatic whites of often rather modest acidity, and powerful, tannic and occasionally alcoholic reds, not to mention some glorious sweet wines. Hot on its heels came the 2019 vintage, another season characterised by a long and dry summer, producing wines with even more modest acidity levels (although, curiously, many tasted a little fresher than their 2018 counterparts). And not wishing to let the side down, the 2020 vintage seems to have followed in much the same suit; I have not tasted as many wines from this latter vintage as I usually would by this stage, but it seems clear this is another year characterised by whites rich in fruit, aroma, and texture, but which in some cases might come up a little short on zip.
All of a sudden 2017, with its wines of poise and balance, looks like a very desirable vintage, in dry white at least.