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Column: French Bordeaux to release in BC Liquor stores

Tomorrow, French Bordeaux are Coming to BC Liquor Stores (BCLS). If your autumn travel plans to France have been thwarted, France will come to you. Tomorrow, Saturday, Sept.
Barbara Philip
Barbara Philip, BC Liquor Stores’ European wines category manager presents a 2017 Bordeaux bottle at a recent media tasting.

Tomorrow, French Bordeaux are Coming to BC Liquor Stores (BCLS).

If your autumn travel plans to France have been thwarted, France will come to you. Tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 26, the release of 2017 Bordeaux will hit the shelves of select government liquor stores at 7 a.m. Bordeaux is probably the most famous wine region in the world and that centuries old reputation of quality means that you can expect line-ups at some stores, especially Cambie Street and 39th Avenue in Vancouver.

Barbara Philip, BC Liquor Store’s manager for European wines revealed, “the big story in 2017 was a very late frost in many European wine regions which affected the quantity, but not the quality. A lot of people didn’t even make wine in 2017. They lost their crops.”

Last year, the BCLS was able to bring more than 10,000 cases of the 2016 vintage from over 200 different chateaux to 32 stores. This year, 5,300 cases of the 2017 vintage will be on sale with 181 different wines.

“Thanks to a long standing relationships that BCLS has with Châteaux and negociants in Bordeaux, we were able to source small amounts of our most desirable wines. Cabernet Sauvignon-based First Growths are here, including Château Margaux, Lafite Rothschild, and Mouton Rothschild along with tiny quantities of the Merlot-based wines from the Right Bank like Pétrus, Château Lafleur, and Vieux Château Ceran,” Philip said.

This 2017 Bordeaux release appeals to a broad section of wine lovers. If money is no object, there’s Château Pétrus from Pomerol, a 98 plus point rating in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. This exceptional Merlot sells for $3,200. Drink from 2023-2063.

For those on a tighter budget, there’s the $1,200 Château Haut Brion from Pessac-Léognan. The Wine Advocate rated this Merlot,Cab Sauv, Cab Franc 97 points. It’s a complex, medium to full bodied wine with a bouquet and flavour of raspberries, black currants, kirsch, dark chocolate and more. Drink from 2023 to 2057!

But if your budget rarely goes beyond $70 and you want to enjoy wine sooner than later, there are many 2017 Bordeaux that fit your budget.

For $35, there’s 88 point Château Reynon from Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux, one of Philip’s favourites for the price. Produced from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot with a restrained style of cherry, cassis, chocolate, it’s good now until 2023.

At $45, the Merlot dominated blend Château Puy-Blanquet St-Emilion Grand Cru received 90 points from Wine Spectator, “Sleek and pure, with cassis and cherry fruit racing along, showing lilac, iron, and savory nuances. Best from 2021 through 2029.”

For $55, enjoy Château Lilian Ladouys from St. Estèphe, a Merlot dominant Cru Bourgeois Exceptionel. The Wine Advocate rates it 90 points. Drink 2020-2029.

At that same price, there’s Château La Gurgue, a Cab Sauv blend from Margaux earning 93 points from James Suckling, “This is a really beautiful wine with a clarity that delivers gorgeous dark fruit and firm and silky tannins. Long and polished.”  

Also at $55 is Château du Glana St-Julien, a Cabernet blend. Wine Advocate rates it 89-91 points. “It offers up warm cassis, blackberry and blueberry compote with touches of violets and black pepper. It has a good concentration of fruit and perfumed finish.”

Decanter Magazine gave the Château Ormes de Pez, St-Estèphe ($70) 92 points, “This is a lovely wine. Succulent, bristling and charming, it has suicy brambled fruit extraction and tension. The fruit spectrum is rich with blueberries and damsons.”  Drink 2022-2035.

And finally, a sweet Sauternes with pure elegance, Château Doisy-Vedrines ($50). You’ll be enthralled by its sensual bouquet and heavenly flavour of pineapple, quince, yellow plum, apricot and honey. The bracing acidity keeps the sweetness from being cloying. Serve chilled. Wine Spectator awarded it 95 points. Drink 2020-2045.

Check out Bordeaux 2017 at Richmond’s Brighouse and Ironwood BCLS.

Eric Hanson is a life-long Richmond resident, retired teacher and wine educator. Eric has also taught wine appreciation courses in Richmond and throughout Metro Vancouver for many years. He continues to be a journalistic ambassador for the enchanting world of wine through his weekly column.