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!

Points on Wine - Bordeaux en Primer 2015

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!

Bottom Line

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. 

Château Clinet 2015

99 points


Look out! Best wine of the night goes to Clinet. I was expecting Canon to sweep these awards but no Clinet won hands down. light red fruit, plums, cherries, chocolate velvety texture, smooth tannins. Nice depth of truffle and mushrooms, the length goes on forever. This is perfectly balanced now and I cannot see how it can get better. Previous experience though tells me it will get better and better. This will hit 100 points, however, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying this today. Wine of the vintage

Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 2015

97 points

My favourite white of the evening by far. This is a Bio wine made with 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Semillon. Dry, mineral fresh but with a long rich finish. Citrus, pineapple, peaches. What came across the most was the length of this wine which was lasted for several minutes after. Drinking beautifully already. The finish was significantly better than Pape Clement or Domaine de Chevalier. Wow!

Château Pavie Macquin 2015

96 points


Favorite St. Emilion of the night. This had everything going for it, dark red fruit tart, fresh and ready to go. Still a little tight as others have mentioned but the potential is 100% here. Smooth and soft tannins and perfectly balanced. Long and stunning finish. This was a joy to drink.

Château Coutet 2016

96 points


Wow! Beautifully balanced, not overly done with too much sweetness. Honeysuckle, orange blossom light and delicate. Can be enjoyed in the next couple of years or to be kept. Sometimes I feel that Sauternais is overdone. Not here, this is wonderful. Pick some up now and enjoy!

Château Durfort-Vivens 2015

95 points


Favorite Margaux of the night. Bio, well balanced, fine tannins, dark red berries, chocolate, well balanced within the oak. Really enjoyable. Drinking wonderfully now, however I know this will just keep on getting better and better

Château Smith Haut Lafitte 2015

95 points


Once again Smith Haut-Lafitte comes out the top of all the Pessac's tasted. Ripe Red and black fruits. Fruit forward, refined and smooth finish. This is again drinking wonderfully now, however, you should wait 3 years for all of the tannins to properly balance out.

Château Valandraud 2015

95 points


Just behind Pavie Macquin, this had everything going for it. Smooth texture, firm tannins red fruit, and power. This will only get better and better. Prefer PM for the price

Château Gazin 2015

95 points


More earthy than Clinet, tannins were well structured however room for improvement, saying that with red fruit, truffles, and chocolate this is singing beautifully now. Less fruit than Clinet and a little more spice.

Château Rauzan-Ségla 2015

94 points


Enjoyed this only slightly less than Durfort-Vivens. Very nicely done with good balance. Smooth tannins and long finish This will be a superstar in a couple of years.

Château Rouget 2015

94 points

Where did this come from? Strawberries, cherries chocolate, truffle and mushrooms. Not as complex as client, but for a wine of this price I was mesmerized by the finish. Rouget are now Bio and this vineyard really is one to watch for the future. Best valued Pomerol on the market today.

Château de Fieuzal Blanc 2015

94 points


Our second favorite white of the night. This was elegant with crisp lime and lemon pie, with a good amount of texture which allowed a nice and firm finish. Was surprised at how well this performed. Picking up a few of these. Excellent for the price.

Clos Fourtet 2015

94 points

Drinking very nice now. 88% Merlot, 10% Cab Sauvignon and 2% Cab France. Firm tannins, velvety, smooth, dark red fruits and chocolate. Really a pleasure to drink. Pretty well balanced and I can only see improvements from here.

Château Beychevelle 2015

94 points


More Merlot than Cab, Really enjoyed this one. Well balanced, smooth tannins more earthy than the Margaux's just tasted. Probably my favorite St-Julien that I tried.

Château Guiraud 2015

94 points


Classic Sauternes, 100% Bio, Honey, butterscotch, and caramel. Do not drink this young, keep this for 20 years and you will be forever happy!

Château Lynch-Bages 2015

93 points


Favorite Pauillac of the night. The full power of Pauillac, but with smooth and refined tannins. This is not over done and will be singing a lot sooner than other Pauillac's

Château Pichon-Longueville Baron 2015

93 points

77% Cab, 23% Merlot, Firm tannins less fruit, tar, smokey. Do not touch this for 10 years, you will be happy you waited.

Château Canon 2015

93 points


73% Merlot, 27% Cab France. Excited is not quite the word describing my feeling going into this tasting. Canon has been given 100 points by so very many wine critics. I was expecting to be blown away. You have to remember this is still very young and I had that in my mind when trying it. Dark red cherries, ripe fresh with a deep finish. The length was long but the tannins were a little everywhere and this is far from ready to be properly enjoyed. Do not even try this wine sooner, especially if you only have a few bottles. Having tried around 50 wines that evening and Canon being first and a couple of hours in I still feel a certain unbalance which I cannot put my finger on. At the moment I just cannot see it hitting the high 90's. 

Château Haut-Bailly 2015

93 points


Not as settled as SHL, Firm tannins, fruit forward with dark blackberries and some good cedar characteristics this is pretty racy at this age, however, I am expecting it to settle down. Still developing, however, has great potential.

Château Giscours 2015

93 points

90% Cab Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% PV. Light, floral, smooth tannins and chocolate. This is a very smooth however is missing a little depth.

Château Kirwan 2015

93 points


Excellent depth, easy to drink, nice finish. Missing the fruit from Durfort-Vivens or Rauzan-Segla however very enjoyable

Château Malescot St. Exupéry 2015

93 points

70% Cab, 30% Merlot. Floral, dark red cherries, cedar more tannic than other Margaux's tried. A little unbalanced for now. This needs time prior to trying again. Edit: Try more 10 years if you can wait that long ;)

Château Pape Clément Blanc 2015

93 points


50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon, and 10% Sauvignon Gris. Very ripe fruit came over nearly sweet with honeysuckle and orange blossom. Vanilla and spice. The finish is not perfectly balanced yet and the so to get that perfect finish you should wait a couple of years (5+).

Château Larcis Ducasse 2015

92 points


Power along with chewy tannins and firing on all cylinders. Will re-visit in 5-6 years.

Château Léoville Barton 2015

92 points

more firm, earthy and chewier than Beychevelle

Château Léoville Poyferré 2015

92 points

Pretty tannic, ripe dark fruits, earthy edging towards a Pauillac than a Margaux. Finish not all there 92-94

Château La Gaffelière 2015

92 points

70% Merlot, 30% Cab France. Firm tannins, red fruits, dark chocolate. Everything is there just no wow moment

Château Ferrière 2015

92 points

Less depth than other Margaux tried this evening. Bio

Château Canon-la-Gaffelière 2015

92 points


55% Merlot, 37% Cab Franc and 8 % Cab Sauvignon. The color of this wine is beautiful, deep and concentrated. Notes of red berries, violet, chocolate still quite tannic though. This is not fully settled yet and when speaking to the producer this should be drunk for at least 10 years. 15 will be optimum.

Château Cantenac Brown 2015

92 points


75% Cab, 25% Merlot, better than Brane-Cantenac, smoother and finer tannins. Good fruit balance.

Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2015

92 points


The balance was not quite where I would expect. This has potential to be a leader, however, for now, it is nowhere close to being ready (3-5 years). High citrus, lemon pie, Sharpe finish. Will be interesting to re-visit this in 3+ years time

Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2015

92 points


The power of Pauillac comes across. This needs to be put aside for 15 years before being able to fully enjoy. Smoky, tar, dark blackberries. This will sing in 15 years. Finish is unbalanced for now, but I have no doubt it will come together in the future.

Château Beau-Séjour Bécot 2015

92 points

Fresh, quite mineral, firm tannins and dark red fruit. This was pretty different from the other wines tried this evening.

Château Beauregard 2015

92 points

Ready to drink now! This Pomerol has less depth than other with notes of red fruit and chocolate, little spice or truffle. This is easy to drink and should be enjoyed young.

Château La Cabanne 2015

91 points


Fun to taste, higher acidity than other Pomerol's less fruit and fewer structures. tannins were on the more medium+ side. This will need a couple of years to develop

Château Brane-Cantenac 2015

90 points


Quite acid, tannic, chewy. Dark red fruits and chocolate but feels very unbalanced. Difficult to assess. Maybe a bad bottle? The owner did not think so....

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