Tuesday 15th February saw the annual tasting of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux to present the 2015 vintage. This was the perfect occasion to compare this vintage across the appellations. We sent Marie, Elsa and Raphaël down to meet the producers and, more importantly, taste the wines. Here’s the verdict…
As you know, the quality of the 2015 vintage in France was universally lauded, especially in Bordeaux where it has even been described as the “vintage of the century”. We must admit the wines we tasted were thoroughly enjoyable despite their youth. It is the general consensus that the left bank wines came out on top in 2015 and were, more consistently, of a superior quality but we were equally taken by some of the right bank offerings we tried. A special mention goes to Margaux and Pessac-Léognan as wines from these appellations were a cut above the rest, showing well integrated tannins and good concentration.
Here’s a closer look at some of the wines that stood out for us:
From left to right: Anne Bernard, Domaine de Chevalier, Véronique Sanders, Château Haut-Bailly, Habillage du 2015 du château Smith Haut Lafitte.
Domaine de Chevalier (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot): a delightful nose, fresh and fruity, the mouth is dense, structured, fine, complex and elegant.
Château Haut-Bailly (60 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 36 % Merlot, 4 % Petit Verdot): probably our favourite wine from this appellation. A nose of black fruit aromas (blueberry, blackberry); the palate showed much elegance, racy yet soft tannins; overall it is well balanced and fresh.
Château Haut-Bergey (54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot): a very fruity nose (black fruits) that has freshness. In the mouth it is excellent and shows plenty of finesse and fruit, ripe and elegant tannins. A pleasure to drink.
Château Smith Haut Lafitte (63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot): a nose of black fruits. The mouth is fruity, silky, and dense with concentrated and elegant tannins and a long finish. This is one for the cellar.
N.B. The 2015 vintage has a different label to usual to celebrate the 650th anniversary of the Château and to mark the 25th vintage under the Cathiard family.
Nicolas Thienpont, Château Pavie Macquin.
Château Pavie-Macquin (84% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon): red fruits and black fruits on the nose, the mouth is elegant and well-structured with a long finish.
Château Clos Fourtet (90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc): aromas of blueberry, blackberry and tobacco. The mouth shows relatively good structure, ripe and round velvety tannins and a long finish.
Château Grand Mayne (80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc): aromas of black fruit and forest floor with light woody notes. The mouth has great finesse with goof balance and structure and a long finish.
Château Clinet (90% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc): black fruit aromas as well as notes of forest floor and wood. On the palate it is medium bodied with fine tannins and a long finish.
Château Gazin (95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc): a delightful nose with plenty of fruit (blueberry, cherry). Precise, elegant and silky tannins with a fruit-driven finish.
Château Fourcas Hosten: ripe red and black fruit aromas with peppered notes and lightly drying tannins.
Château La Lagune: aromas of blackberry and cedar and tight tannins.
From left to right: Dominique Befve, Château Lascombes and Edouard Miailhe, owner of Château Siran.
Château Ferrière (63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot – matured for 18 months in 40% new barrels): a relatively discreet nose (black fruits and tobacco), a balanced mouth that is both fine and structured, round, fresh and complex with a long finish.
Château Lascombes (50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon et 5% Petit Verdot): a nose of black fruits, liquorice and cigar. The pqlqte is balanced, fresh and shows plenty of depth. This is an excellent wine to cellar.
Château Kirwan (50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot): a delicious nose (cherry, cocoa), good structure and concentration on the palate with closed tannins.
Château Prieuré-Lichine (63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot): aromas of blackberry and a powerful and deep mouth with lots of fine and polished tannins.
Château Rauzan-Ségla: a nose of black fruit and liquorice and a concentrated mouth that is full and fruit driven with fine tannins. Good length.
Château Siran (55% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7 % Petit Verdot): a charming nose of fresh fruit and a delicious palate with spice, fruit and fine-grained tannins.
From Saint Julien
Château Beychevelle (42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot): aromas of red fruit and a powerful mouth, the tannins need time to soften.
Château Lagrange (75% cabernet sauvignon, 17% merlot, 8% petit verdot): ripe, black fruit aromas, plum, spiced notes. The mouth is elegant and fruity with beauitful tannins and notes of menthol in the finish.
Château Haut-Bages Libéral (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot): a fresh nose with crisp fruit aromas, spiced notes, violet and tobacco. The mouth is full, fresh and elegant with racy tannins. A classic but well-made wine that will age gracefully.
Château Phélan-Ségur (53% Cabernet Sauvignon and 47% Merlot): aromas of small red fruit with hints of graphite and wood. The palate has good structure with silky tannins.
From Sauternes and Barsac
Château Broustet: the nose has exotic fruit aromas (banana). The mouth is balanced, fresh and delicate with lots of fruit. A wonderful Sauternes.
Château de Fargues: aromas of baked banana, mango, yellow fruits and honey. A rich and powerful mouth with a long finish.
Château Guiraud (65 % Sémillon, 35 % Sauvignon): Aromas of apricot, ripe grapes, marmalade and honey? A rich and opulent palate with plenty of freshness.
Philippe de Lur Saluces, Château Fargues
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