Bordeaux 2015 Overview
Back from Bordeaux and having tasted widely across all the
major communes, for a good proportion of the wines at least twice, we can
report that 2015 will be a very good to excellent overall vintage.
The wines have nice density accompanied by varying degrees
of power. But it’s best to avoid sweeping generalisations in this vintage, as
this overview explains. Read on...
Those who say the heights were achieved on the right bank
are overlooking a number of exceptional wines from across many other appellations. St. Emilion has been proposed as the top-performing commune
of the vintage, but there are plenty of examples that are too big and powerful.
Those Chateaux really do need to wake up to the changing market that is
thankfully favouring balance once more.
Pomerol has seen some great successes, yet different styles
of vinification between producers have resulted in wines with very different
characters. On the one hand are those that are pure with a brightly illuminated
core of fruit, ripe elegant tannins and a taut finale. On the other are styles
that are evidently riper, with imperceptible tannins and an extremely smooth,
even edgeless, finish. Whilst these are extremely attractive and very easy to drink after just a few months in cask we wonder if they will stay the
long-term course and evolve into compelling wines worthy of their glossy and alluring first
Many state that the higher up the Medoc peninsular you go,
the less good are the wines due to higher mid-season rainfall than the right
bank, Margaux and Pessac-Leognan. That isn’t necessarily evident, perhaps with
the exception of Haut Médoc and Listrac.
Much-touted Margaux is indeed extremely consistent across
the board, to a degree we’ve not seen for many years. Yet in our view the most
impressive individual wines from the Medoc come from Pauillac and St. Julien,
perhaps with the exception of Chateaux Margaux itself and the broodingly structured Chateau Palmer.
St. Julien is a very consistent appellation once again.
Graves (Pessac Leognan) is excellent, and some historically big styled wines
have reined it in with exceptional results,making for a very impressive showing for the appellation overall.
Soil composition would appear to have as much to do with
variation between properties as levels of rainfall. It’s possible that this
variable will have been accentuated by a scorching July when drought conditions
had set in, with the vines showing heat stress by starting to drop leaves.
Relief came in early August with some heavy downpours and temperate August weather
accompanied by comparatively high hours of sunshine.
The dry, hot July conditions were compared to 2003. Yet
unlike that vintage when night time temperatures were steamy, 2015 experienced
cooler hours of darkness, and many of the wines do have a pleasant acidity in
the mid palate, whilst the best have a crystalline fruit quality and are salivant - mouth-watering.
Notwithstanding the very high July temperatures, picking
took place from around the middle of September through to October 7th,
with lovely late-season weather giving the fruit plenty of hang time to fully
ripen, and producers were able to pick selectively at their leisure ahead of
the forecasted rains at the start of the second week in October.
It’s been said Merlot is the standout grape of the vintage
and the best since 2010. That’s true of
the right bank overall, but not in the Medoc, where the best wines contain
85%-92% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Also, some of the greatest expressions of the vintage are
wines that contain significant proportions of Cabernet Franc in their blends.
Vieux Chateau Certan, Cheval Blanc, Figeac and Carmes Haut Brion are all gorgeous
Finally the big question: is 2015 in the same league as
2009/ 2010? Or perhaps 2005, a vintage which in our opinion may well prove the
equal of 2010.It doesn’t look
like it at this stage, and many Negociants
and producers we spoke to didn’t look to equate 2015 with the monumental 2010s.
This is undoubtedly an excellent vintage. We do not think it is a legendary one.
We'll be sharing our tasting notes of the vintage over the
next few days.
You’ll be able to view a number of videos we shot of
producer, Negociant and merchant opinion of the vintage and their favourite
We’ll review our recommendations and wines we cautioned
against buying early from the 2014 vintage release based on the best wines of
the vintage, which we subjected to a rigorous price per points analysis. You’ll
be able to judge for yourself how well our ‘buys’ and ‘do not buy early’ guidance has performed in the last year - notwithstanding they are still pre-arrivals.
As prices of Bordeaux 2015s release (which we are told will be a long and drawn out affair this year) we shall publish our
price per points analysis, highlighting the buys of the vintage; pinpointing
comparable back vintages that look like good value against a range of other
vintages; and highlighting the wines that are too highly priced at first
release to warrant buying early.
Tags: #Bdx15, Bordeaux 2015, Bordeaux First Growths, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaux, Merlot, Passac-Leognan, Pauillac, Pomerol, St Emilion, St Julien, vintage report,