Tom and Nathan’s take on Bordeaux 2017: part 1

Take home – it’s time to send us your pre-allocation list, as this year’s releases will be unpredictable. We offer Tom’s selected shortlist of around 40 wines – please let us know if you’d like us to secure cases of anything else that takes your fancy.
We certainly didn’t expect to be releasing a big wine like Chateau Palmer a whole month earlier than last year’s. It caught everybody on the hop, including (and we’re told this by a reliable friend) their own in-house team. At 17% below the 2016 and a satisfying 98 points, we felt this was a steal and doubled up on last year’s allocation.
Of the main reviewers, we’re still awaiting the verdicts of Antonio Galloni and Neal Martin, who have recently moved to Vinous. But frankly, you can throw your preconceptions of this vintage out of the window, just as Tom had to do on his recent tasting trip to Bordeaux.  Whilst it’s a patchy vintage, it has clear peaks of excellence.  Wine Owners has published some work calculating expected prices based on past vintages in line with 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2014 but we think 2017 is better than all those vintages so if the price is in line with these 2017 IS the better get, it’s sensible to secure an allocation.

Now for this week’s three examples:

Chateau Palmer £1,176/6 and we’d predicted £1,500. A clear buy.
Alter Ego de Palmer £294/6. Up slightly on last year due to lower production, but the drinkability and value of Alter Ego make it worth paying the 2% extra. Buy.
We didn't offer Haut Batailley because of the 65% increase in price under new management. Nevertheless, the fact that Suckling gave the 2017 the chateau's best ever score is clearly an indicator that 2017 can rise to the highest level. Whilst other people have hyped this, our verdict is to pass unless you’re keen on building a vertical.
With a spate of French Bank Holidays coming up, we’re excited to use the interlude for an exclusive early release of some of the world’s best Brunellos from top notch Valdicava estate.  Fill your boots.