1997 was largely a problematic year in Bordeaux. According to “The Wine Doctor” it is described thus:
“The 1997 vintage started well, with an exceptionally warm Spring, and very early, although somewhat irregular and prolonged, flowering. Unfortunately this resulted in vines bearing grapes of differing maturity, and this was exacerbated by erratic Summer weather – a hot June, a cool July, and a hot and humid August. Early September saw heavy rain, but by the middle of the month the sun was shining once more. Those who picked early harvested wet, swollen, diluted grapes of variable ripeness, whereas those who delayed at least stood a chance. Nevertheless, despite the long period between flowering and harvest, there was not great concentration in any of the grapes, thanks simply to the poor weather throughout August. These were never going to be wines for long ageing. At worst, dilute and unripe. At best, attractive, approachable, for early drinking.”
The Baron, one of my favourite wineries because it is always good, navigated these challenging vintage conditions with aplomb. Ruby in colour, there were herbs, menthol, dried twigs, cedar/pencil box and spices there by way of aroma. On the palate, the Baron’s usual length came to the fore even though you could tell the vintage was not an amazing one: 20 seconds plus of persistence, and typical blackcurranty flavours. The Baron 1997 proves the sage advice to buy good producers in bad vintages. 95 points.