Médoc and Graves, 1997

1997 was an irregular Bordeaux vintage and a wine drinker’s vintage rather than a speculative one for investors, with a wealth of soft, attractive user-friendly wines.

1997 experienced unstable weather across all appellations. Uneven flowering resulted in unequal ripening, followed by early summer rains and a humid August. There were many problems with rot, and those who picked early harvested dilute, unripe bunches. The news was not much better for those who picked late, and generally the wines had little concentration.

There were some good wines made in 1997, the finest wines being light and charming and a refreshing change to the backward tannic wines of much of the 1990s. However, their immediate appeal was scuppered by inflated pricing, as growers sought to continue the upward scale of 1996. But, with hindsight, 1997 does offer some real bargains for early consumption.

There were some very good whites made in the Graves and Sauternes, and once again d’Yquem was the star sweet white. 

The wines

Despite the many dilute offerings and overpricing, the left bank produced some nice, early-maturing reds that are a refreshing change from the glut of rather austere vintages in the 90s which require hefty cellaring.

Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild and Latour proved their reliability in even tricky years, justifying their occupation of the top 3 spots – albeit at a price premium. Below this, it may be worth checking out the ‘super seconds’ of Pauillac, which offer better value at a slight reduction in quality.

Médoc and Graves, 1997

1997 was an irregular Bordeaux vintage and a wine drinker’s vintage rather than a speculative one for investors, with a wealth of soft, attractive user-friendly wines.

1997 experienced unstable weather across all appellations. Uneven flowering resulted in unequal ripening, followed by early summer rains and a humid August. There were many problems with rot, and those who picked early harvested dilute, unripe bunches. The news was not much better for those who picked late, and generally the wines had little concentration.

There were some good wines made in 1997, the finest wines being light and charming and a refreshing change to the backward tannic wines of much of the 1990s. However, their immediate appeal was scuppered by inflated pricing, as growers sought to continue the upward scale of 1996. But, with hindsight, 1997 does offer some real bargains for early consumption.

There were some very good whites made in the Graves and Sauternes, and once again d’Yquem was the star sweet white. 

The wines

Despite the many dilute offerings and overpricing, the left bank produced some nice, early-maturing reds that are a refreshing change from the glut of rather austere vintages in the 90s which require hefty cellaring.

Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild and Latour proved their reliability in even tricky years, justifying their occupation of the top 3 spots – albeit at a price premium. Below this, it may be worth checking out the ‘super seconds’ of Pauillac, which offer better value at a slight reduction in quality.

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