Weekend White: 2017 dry Bordeaux

Château Tronquoy-Lalande Blanc

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles 

20 February 2021

Much is said of 2019, 2018 and 2016 as recent “great” Bordeaux vintages, naturally regarding red wines. However, this world famous region crafts many whites, dry and “sweet”, so it was useful to taste a just-released 2017 dry white from the excellent Saint Estèphe estate of Château Tronquoy-Lalande.

The density and freshness to match spicy Thai beef and eggplant.

About the 2017 vintage

While September rain seemed to lessen the éclat of the Cabernets (Sauvignons and Francs), “it was not a problem at all to be cooler in the summer for the whites,” stressed Eric Kohler (of Lafite Rothschild) about his dry white Rieussec. “When you have a strong summer, it can make a great red, but then it may make the whites a bit tired,” he said. “This year it was great because the fruits and the clusters, you wanted to eat like a salad.”

It proved also important to pick grapes before a heat wave towards the end of the harvesting season, added wine consultant Thomas Duclos. “Those who harvested before some particularly hot days ended up with very nice wines, but for those who did after – starting on 5 September – it was a bit more complicated,” he said.

Château Tronquoy-Lalande harvested between 21 August and 1 September, avoiding the heat wave that ended up making some 2017 whites taste somewhat flat.

About the terroir

The soil of Château Tronquoy-Lalande on a vineyard 23 meters above sea level, comprises an 8-meter-deep layer of gravel and clay: the gravel ensures drainage and the clay retains water, which the vines can tap as necessary. The nearby Gironde estuary acts as a temperature regulator.

How is the wine? 

The estate has been making dry Bordeaux Blanc since 2011. With its straw color, the 2017 exudes salted toffee, quince jelly, yellow peach, candied red apple and wet stone aromas. The palate may not be the most linear, the most precise, but the opulence proved easy to take, with enough vivacity to make you go back for more. And I did.

Indeed, the 13.5% alcohol is well balanced by the acidity. Its 60% Semillon lends density and thickness without being cloying. The 40% Sauvignon Blanc provides needed energy to the wine, which stood up well to a spicy serving of Thai beef, eggplant and rice. For white Bordeaux, 2017 is the best vintage since 2014 and here a fine illustration.

Available in Europe for about €50 a bottle retail.

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