"Pensées de Lafleur is not a second wine, as it comes from a single, rather oddly shaped, 0.69-hectare block of clay in the middle of the Lafleur vineyard. Composed of 52% Merlot and 48% Cabernet Franc, the 2017 Pensées de Lafleur is medium to deep garnet-purple in color and comes bounding out of the glass with gorgeous crushed black and red cherries notes, yeast extract, lilacs and rose hips with touches of cinnamon stick and tilled soil. The palate is medium-bodied, elegant, very fine and very fresh with a long, mineral-laced finish.
In 2017, it was pretty much business as usual for Château Lafleur since they were very fortunate not to receive any damage from the frosts. This said, like others on the Pomerol plateau, they did somewhat make their own luck. “We used the candles (buckets of paraffin), 1,500 of these to protect Lafleur,” cellar master Omri Ram informed me. “Along with the wind turbine at Pétrus,” he smiled, referring to the benefit of having Pétrus as a neighbour. This year, Lafleur is taking no chances and they have purchased their own wind machine for frost protection.
So, quantities were stable for Lafleur in 2017, and they enjoyed yields similar to their 2015 and 2016 crops. “A tad less wine than in 2015, a tad more wine than in 2016,” Omri commented. “The berry size in 2017 was tiny—like in 2015.” As readers will ascertain from my scores, Lafleur is one of the few properties that did not miss a beat in 2017, producing a truly extraordinary effort that is stylistically very different from their 2015, but potentially its equal in terms of quality.
At their Grand Village vineyard in Fronsac it was a different story, having been hit by about 50% frost losses there. “We saw that some vines that didn’t look damaged were actually shut down,” said Omri, referring to the difficulty in ascertaining exactly which vines were damaged and which weren’t. “So, we just forgot about 2017 in all the places that were touched by frost and decided to prune back to 87% loss in order to preserve the bud wood for 2018.”
90-92 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
"The difference between this and Lafleur is the soil, and nothing else. 0.69 ha (1.7 acres). 52% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Franc (they prefer to call it Bouschet as it is a right-bank selection of Cabernet Franc). Owner and winemaker Baptiste Guinaudeau thinks it is 'less Pomerol' because of the proportions of Merlot and Bouschet, and although the soils are similar to those of La Fleur-Pétrus, he likens the wine to Vieux Château Certan because he thinks it is more serious than in previous vintages.
Deep crimson. Some violet on the nose and deep and long on the palate. Less charm and more depth than in previous vintages. But opens up to red fruit. Chewy chocolate texture and a delicious hint of spice – nutmeg? – on the mid-palate. Caressing depth of tannin texture. Long as well as deep. Drink 2023-2030"
17 points, Julia Harding MW fro jancisrobinson.com
"For the first time, with respect to the 2017 Les Pensées de Lafleur, 100% of the Cabernet Franc comes from the massaleselection. It has a very well defined bouquet with red berry fruit, pressed rose petal and crushed stone aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, quite a firm backbone with a subtle marine/iodine influence. It is very harmonious in style, becoming more linear and strict towards the saline finish. It is a little standoffish, so don’t be afraid to give this four or five years in the cellar."
91-93 points, Neal Martin
"An impressively tight and solid wine from Lafleur with dark-berry, chocolate and spice character as well as some white-pepper and salty undertones. Full-bodied, very tight and focused. A really pretty young 2017."
94-95 points, James Suckling
Pomerol, on the Right Bank of Bordeaux’s Gironde River, produces some of the world’s most sought-after wines, including those from such storied properties as Chateau Petrus. Yet Pomerol, the smallest of the fine-wine-producing districts of Bordeaux, offers no Grand Cru or Premier Cru wines: It’s the most significant Bordeaux appellation not included in any quality ranking. At the time of the historic 1855 Classification of Bordeaux, Right Bank chateaux were considered remote and difficult to travel to, and so were ignored by the merchants who created the classification. (St. Émilion, a notable neighbour on the Right Bank, created its own classification system in 1954.)
Pomerol has managed to do quite well without this form of validation. Pomerol’s predominantly clay soil is ideally suited for Merlot, the primary grape used in the appellation. Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are also included in Pomerol’s blended red wines. The wines of Pomerol are lush and rich, and generally not as tannic as the Cabernet-based wines of Bordeaux’s Left Bank. Although Pomerol’s very best wines are capable of aging for decades, most are made for immediate consumption. These Merlot-based wines are known for their lush texture, elegance and grace, as well as the softer tannins they offer in comparison to the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines made elsewhere in Bordeaux.