Clos Apalta Le Petit Clos [Pre-arrival] 2017
JS96: This is so delicious with blackcurrants, spice, sweet tobacco, lavender and roses. Full-bodied, tight and very polished with gorgeous texture and finesse. Shows tannin tension at the end. A blend of mostly cabernet sauvignon, the rest cabernet franc. Better after 2022.
WA93+: The second wine, in the Bordeaux sense, the 2017 Le Petit Clos has a different blend from the grand vin, in this case 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Carmenere, 9% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot and is quite different every year. It fermented in 7,500-liter oak vats with indigenous yeasts and a four- to five-week maceration followed by malolactic in new barriques. It matured in new French barriques for six months and spent the next 16 months in first, second and third use French oak barrels. I found a lot less influence from the oak here than in the "grand vin" and a more classical profile with dominance of the Cabernet Sauvignon—ripe without excess, powerful and concentrated but with very good balance. It's quite approachable even when it feels quite youthful; the tannins are round, and the wine is neat and velvety with some creaminess. It has an elegant profile within the powerful character of the vintage. It surpassed my expectations, and I find it every bit as good as the 2016. 72,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in October 2019. This has only been produced since 2014.