A Final Word (or two) on Bordeaux 2015

So, the 2015 Bordeaux are already in, or on the way via refrigerated containers, from France. We worked hard to receive as many wines as we could early in the year in order to ship as  quickly as possible. Still to arrive are the First Growths, but the balance of our wines should be in by May. We know the summer heat is on its way and soon it will be impossible to ship.

At this juncture of the 2015 cycle, we thought we’d share a few of our thoughts regarding the vintage and its evolution:

We were right!
Most experts agree that 2015 is outstanding. Comparisons with 2009 abound, but our final take is that the wines are for the most part very pleasurable. Balancing fruit, acidity and focus, they feature excellent character and depth. If they fail sometimes, it is because the winemakers waited a little too long to harvest and the fruit became slightly overripe. But that is only the case with a small number of wineries. Some of the wines are already starting to drink, having gone through their “closed phase” while the more serious wines will require your patience for another 5-8 years.

Regardless, there are no hard tannins to deal with. One hint in that regard is Château Tour Saint Christophe, the new star property of Hong Kong businessman Peter Kwok, who is taking Saint-Émilion by storm! The wine is rich with cassis, black currants, cedar and spice aromas and is layered with sweet, integrated tannins. “A blockbuster” says Jeb Dunnuck, who gives it 95-pts while James Suckling applauds it with a 96-pts rating. All that for $29.99!!! We have 144 bottles coming in 8 weeks. Pre-order yours now.

Where we agreed with the pros:
The top wines of the vintage are (in alphabetical order) Ausone, Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion, la Mondotte, Margaux, Palmer, Pavie and Vieux Château Certan. Our personal favorite was Palmer, a lush, hedonistic wine that characterized the vintage. In truth, it was the very first wine we tasted en primeurs. And, although many others came close, none matched Palme for overall refinement. At $300 a bottle, it is expensive but the other top wines cost more.

Beyond the very top wines, we agreed there was a wealth of outstanding wines such as Beausejour-Duffau, Clinet, Pichon Lalande, Pontet Canet, and most everything within the Margaux appellation.

Where we disagreed with the pros:
Why did Wine Spectator give an average rating to Le Gay? Did they sample the same wine we did? In our opinion the best wine in decades from that property. Also, l’Evangile was a stellar Pomerol in 2015, and we think it deserved perfect or near-perfect scoring.

Château Margaux celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2015. Photo by Marla Norman.

We wonder about the craziness
Château Margaux seems to have garnered much of the attention. The wine is wonderful, but we sold it en primeurs at $489 a bottle and it’s currently selling for $1750 a bottle!! That is insane. We’re amazed that buyers focus on one single wine, causing prices to skyrocket. Meanwhile, there are many other excellent wines at a fraction of the cost.

Clearly this vintage is significant for Margaux and collectors — the Château is celebrating its 200th anniversary. Additionally, this vintage was the last supervised by the estate’s much-admired technical director Paul Pontallier, who passed away in March 2016. To honor both the anniversary and Pontallier, the estate has issued a special label. All of these factors certainly play a part in increased pricing, but still…Margaux at $1750 and Palmer at $300..really?

Marla Norman & Michel Thibault at Château Haut-Brion during Primeurs 2015.

The good news for everyone
The Futures Market works! There are, and always will be skeptics. But if  you bought the 2015 vintage before it was released, you now own some of the most beautiful Bordeaux produced in a long time. Prices were also quite good with the combination of a solid dollar (at purchase time) and competative producer pricing. To purchase the same wines from Negociants today, will cost 30% or more for many wines — quite an increase in two years. Aside from these compelling reasons, the 2016 wines are also seeing fast and furious sales. Lots of good news.

Our conclusion
Grab the few remaining Bordeaux we still have. There’s no doubt this vintage will become more difficult to obtain and prices will excalate quickly.

 

The “Big” Winners
Château Palmer. JS-100. $309.99. 48 bottles available. Arriving mid-April
Château Haut-Brion. RP-100, JD-100. $549.99. 42 bottles available. Arriving mid-April.
Château la Mission Haut-Brion. JS-100. $439.99. 48 bottles available now.
Château Ausone. JD &WE-100. $899.99. 6 bottles available. Arriving in May.
Château Pavie. JS-100. $378.99. 60 bottles available. Arriving mid-April.
Château l’Evangile. JS-100. $229.99. 48 bottle available now.
Château Angélus. JS 99-100. $369.99. 60 bottles available. Arriving mid-April.
Château Mouton Rothschild. JD-99, DC-98. $559.99. 48 bottles available. Arriving mid-April.
Château Lafite Rothschild. WE-100, JS-99. $589.99. 48 bottles available. Arriving mid-April.

Château Lafite Rothschild, one of the largest and most historic estates in the Médoc, produced one of the most exceptional wines of the 2015 vintage.

 

Other Top Wines of the Vintage
Château Bellevue Mondotte. JS-99. $159.99. 12 bottles. Arriving mid-April.
Château Cos d’Estournel. JS 97-98.$169.99. 12 bottles. Arriving mid-April.
Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion. JS-94. $99.99. 12 bottles available now.
Château Durfort-Vivens. WE 94-96. $49.99. 12 bottles available. Arriving mid-April.
Château Calon-Ségur. WE-96. $78.99. 12 bottles available now.
Château la Fleur de Gay. AG-95. $85.99. 24 bottles available. Arriving mid-April.
Château Gazin. JS-97. $69.99. 12 bottles available now.
Château Magrez Fombrauge. JS 97-98. $109.99. 12 bottles available. Arriving mid-April.
Château Petit Village. AG-96. $69.99. 24 bottles available now.

 

Best Values
Château Berliquet. JS 96-97. $42.99. 24 bottles available now.
Château Cantemerle. JS-95. $35.99. 12 bottles available now.
Clos de l’Oratoire. JS-95. $45.99. 12 bottles available now.
Blason d’Issan. AG-91. $29.99. 12 bottles available now.
Château la Croix de Casse. JS-95. $29.99. 12 bottles available now.
Château Quinault l’Enclos. JD-95. $35.99. 12 bottles available now.
Château Lafon Rochet. WE-95. $45.99. 24 bottles available now.
Domaine de l’Aurage. RP-90-92. $33.99. 24 bottles available now.
Château Tour Saint-Christophe. JS-96. $29.99. 144 bottles available. Arriving mid-May.
And dearest to our hearts… Château Poesia. JS-94. $48.99. 48 bottles available now.

 

Superb Whites
Domaine de Chevalier Blanc. JD-98. $95.99. 24 bottles available now.
Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc. DC-96. $89.99. 12 bottles available now.
Château Malartic la Graviere Blanc. JS-95. $56.99. 24 bottles available now.
Château la Tour Martillac Blanc. NM-94. $39.99. 12 bottles available now.

2018-09-03T20:25:28+00:00March 8th, 2018|0 Comments