Bordeaux En Primeur 2015
Bordeaux strikes back! After great vintages of 2009 and 2010, Bordeaux struggled in 2011,2012 and 2013. 2014 seemed like a slow starter, but after a year in the barrel, 2014 comes out with freshness. A new dawn is born and then 2015 arrives. No high alcohol, jammy fruits or high tannins. But soft textures and well-balanced tannins, a marriage in harmony between fruit and oak notes. Bordeaux had re-found itself after pushing too hard 5 years earlier. The Bordeaux UGCB went on tour in North America in early 2018, I headed to this event with much enthusiasm.
Whilst waiting for the doors to open there was a certain excitement in the air. It was a cold January afternoon in Montreal, Canada. As the producers arrive they had smiles on their faces. They knew what we were about to try was special, and were excited for us to try it. The wines were fresh, well balanced and ready to go. Most of the wines you could drink today, however, the producers told us to wait since they will only get better from here. Most did mention they slightly changed their vinification process to allow for their wines to be enjoyed earlier. Look back 10-15 years and you would still be waiting for the wines to peak. ing better than this!
The afternoon started with the White's of Bordeaux. Smith-Haut Lafitte (97 points) showed exceptional depth, with generous notes of citrus fruit and a length which lasted several minutes. The red of Smith Haut Lafitte (95 points) was also a very impressive showing. The cabernet was not over-ripe, just enough was good layers of velvety tannins. Moving on to Saint-Emilion, Château Canon (93 points) had received raving reviews, but I was less impressed. All the elements of a great wine in the making were there, the tannins were just too lively to fully reveal the true potential. I tried this wine from two different bottles and both showed the same tendencies. A highlight was Pavie Macquin (96 points), very tight at first, but with a little air this opened up with bouquets of and layers of fresh fruit with a wonderful depth and finish. This is not ready to fully enjoy today, give this 5-8 years and it will be entering it's perfect drinking window. Moving to Pomerol, Château Gazin (95 points) and Château Clinet ( 99 points), were the highlights of this small appellation. Château Clinet showed incredible fruit, chocolate, truffle with smooth tannins. I would open a bottle now, but Ronan Laborde (Owner of Château Clinet) insisted that I wait 5-8 years. I strongly suspect this will hit the top of my scales in the coming years.
On to the left bank. Margaux was showing to be very soft and delicate. This is really such a sexy region. Château Durfort-Vivens (95 points) and Château Rauzan-Ségla (94 points) coming up tops. St-Julien is often overlooked due to it's two famous neighbors of Margaux and Paullic. However St-Julien often is able to offer the best of both worlds. The finesse of Margaux with the power of Paullic. The prices here often to be more reasonable than those of its neighbors. Château Beychevelle( 94 points), was coming along nicely in the bottle and had an earthy but fresh finish to it. Paulliac is where the most amount of first growths are located. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to try any of these first growths, but the Paullic's I tried showed the power and structure I was hoping for. Château Lynch-Bages and Château Pichon-Longueville (both 93 points) showing the way.
A sweet finish. 2015 was also a great year for Sauternes. Château Coutet (96 points) was showing a delicate orange blossom, honeysuckle with a light finish. Château Coutet is just getting better and better, a vineyard to watch out for in the future. Château Guiraud (94 points) had notes of honey, butterscotch, and caramel. With some foie-gras or some cheese, I could not think of anything better than this!
2015 was a fantastic year for Bordeaux, the wines are fresh, well balanced and approachable. They are going to please both consumers who like to drink their Bordeaux's young as well as those who like to wait 10-15 years. With 2016, which is another fantastic vintage, Bordeaux is back and the wine world is just as excited as the producers showcasing their wines. The wine of the vintage for me is the Château Clinet for reds and the Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc for whites.