Bordeaux 2015 vintage in the spotlight

The new barrel hall at Château Montrose. (Photo: Château Montrose)

The private tasting group that I belong to recently held a tasting of 2015 red Bordeaux, which just happened to coincide with Decanter magazine’s report Bordeaux 2015 Revisited by its Bordeaux correspondent, Jane Anson. This vintage surprised and delighted me and other members of our club. The wines seemed riper and richer, fuller, more complete and more approachable in youth than I’d expected.

The 2015 vintage came as a relief for the Bordeaux trade and producers as it followed four more difficult years in 2011, ’12, ‘13 and ’14.

We tasted 18 wines sampled from across the region, and the tasting notes are now on The Real Review website.

The 2015 vintage came as a relief for the Bordeaux trade and producers as it followed four more difficult years in 2011, ’12, ‘13 and ’14. This excitement was reflected in the prices, which jumped by an average of 22.7% over the 2014 prices (source: Eleanor Wine Index).

The 2015 vintage was hailed as an excellent one from the outset, perhaps a little too enthusiastically in some areas, as late rain fell in the northern Médoc, and is said to have affected some Haut Médoc and St Estèphe wines. On the other hand, it was hailed as most successful in Pomerol and St-Émilion, which sadly provided just two wines in our tasting – hardly representative.

Anson writes that she believes Châteaux Cantenac-Brown and Prieuré-Lichine made their best-ever wines in 2015. Fortuitously, we tasted both, and I loved both of them, rating them 94 and 93 respectively.

We tasted mostly 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th growths – who can afford 1st growths these days?

My top wines were Châteaux Montrose (97), Pichon-Longueville-Lalande (96), Ducru-Beaucaillou (95), Lynch-Bages (95), Clos du Marquis (95), Talbot (95), and Pichon-Longueville-Baron (95), the last a massive wine which needs several years.

Cantemerle and Clos Fourtet lived up to their reputations for good value, the cheapest wines at $100 (93 pts) and $75 (92 pts) respectively.

Overall, with a few exceptions (Phélan-Segur, Gloria and d’Issan) the wines were ripe, concentrated and highly satisfying; high-class wines that will cellar well and mature superbly.

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