2015 Bordeaux en primeur


2015 Bordeaux en primeur preliminary reportWelcome, 2015 Bordeaux

We've been expecting you

Not every commentator needed the recent primeur tastings to conclude that 2015 would be a very good year for Bordeaux. No, some people decided long before those. The fruit arriving at the chais last September and October provided one early indicator, but for some the high quality was by then inevitable. June and July were hot and dry while, prior to that, the spring presented near-perfect flowering conditions. But even then, there was already writing on the wall. The writing, of course, was a vintage ending in a "5".

The curious rule of 5
As we were reminded with a beautiful magnum of the 1955 at Chateau Canon, since 1945 every vintage ending with a 5 - with the exception of 1965 - has produced some beautiful Bordeaux. Does the rule hold true with the region's newest vintage? Ed and I spent a week touring the chateaux, tasting cask samples and talking to winemakers and proprietors. We found some beautiful wines.

05+10=15?
On the left bank, Margaux had the most notable successes. For so long the laggard of the major Medoc appellations, I asked Gonzague Lurton, the president of the Margaux producers' syndicate, why the commune now so often trumps those further north. With typical modesty, he said he thought it was simply because of the fact that it had for so long suffered a bad reputation - encouraging producers to raise their game. At Brane-Cantenac, Henri Lurton said that 2015 has the fruit of 2005 and the structure of 2010: 05+10=15, according to his calculations!

Other producer views of the vintage
Down in Léognan, a very happy-looking Véronique Sanders told us that it's the sort of Haut-Bailly she'd love to make every year, while at Haut-Brion, they feel that it's a cross between 2005 - "with silkier tannins" - and 2010. Further south, an over-the-moon Bérénice Lurton has a Climens comparable to the legendary 2001 - not just in quality but in volume too (good for her, after 3 years of selling very good wines at a loss). But the most consistently successful commune - and the happiest man of the week - were to be found on the right bank. Alexandre Thienpont described 2015 Vieux Chateau Certan simply as "a beautiful wine". Never are the Merlot and Cabernet Franc great in the same vintage, he explained - except in 2015. He "clearly" prefers it to his mighty 2010 (and more surprisingly, he also prefers his Cab Franc 2011 over his 2010).

A few great wines don't make a great vintage
2015 isn't an across-the-board success story like 2010. It's not a contender for wine of the century. It wasn't an easy vintage, and not everyone made all the right decisions. It varies significantly by commune, thanks mainly to an unfortunate period of rain just before harvest which was heaviest in the northern Médoc communes.

Biodynamics
This was the first vintage where we talked at length about biodynamics. Despite that rain, Pontet-Canet has made one of its best wines ever, and there was much discussion about the resilience of vines which have a natural balance. Climens was one of the first properties to convert and is a potential contender for wine of the vintage. A recent documentary by France 2 provocatively titled "Pesticides, Our Children at Risk" appears to be a wake-up call for the Bordelais and the future should see many more wines displaying the purity and freshness which are such hallmarks of the best biodynamic wines.

What else?
Oh yes, I nearly forgot: price. We argue like crazy about this on these trips. But many Bordeaux owners simply don't want to flog all their stock en primeur. If you simply must have Palmer then I'm afraid you have to stump up or shut up. But instead, why not try Rauzan-Ségla, which is as close in style as it is in physical distance, but (hopefully) a fraction of the price. Fond memories of Cos? Try the excellent Calon. Pontet-Canet? Buy Batailley or GPL. For every proprietor who doesn't want to sell there's another one who does.

The campaign
The wines we'll be offering are now displayed here. Tasting notes, scores and prices will be added as they become available and offers of significant releases sent by email. For all the hype, demand for 15 isn't going to be what it was for the 09s and 10s - the hysteria around those campaigns is but a distant memory. Proprietors who have been talking of 10 to 20% increases will have noted sterling's recent decline, though this is only one of many factors which will be receiving their attention. As ever there will be wines worth buying. Some of the best buys should appear over the next few weeks, before Vinexpo Hong Kong at the end of May. Watch out for our offers - on email and on our website - if you want our recommendations, or call in at the shop. In the meantime, we'll be delighted to receive pre-orders - under no obligation - in person, by phone or email, or by clicking 'Order' or 'Buy' on the website. The wines will be shipped and made physically available in 2018. /AR

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Vintage Description Cs sz Bt Sz Cs ib Cs inc Bt inc
2015 young Angludet (Margaux)
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12x 75cl £216.00 - - Buy
2015 young Angludet (Margaux)
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24x 37.5cl £226.00 - - Buy
2015 young Angludet (Margaux)
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12x 37.5cl £113.00 - - Buy
2015 young Angludet (Margaux)
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6x 75cl £108.00 - - Buy
2015 young Batailley (Pauillac)
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6x 75cl £177.00 - - Buy
2015 young Batailley (Pauillac)
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12x 37.5cl £182.00 - - Buy
2015 young Batailley (Pauillac)
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3x 150cl £182.00 - - Buy
2015 young Batailley (Pauillac)
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1x 300cl £148.00 - - Buy
2015 young Berliquet (St-Emilion)
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6x 75cl £125.00 - - Buy
2015 young Branaire-Ducru (St-Julien)
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6x 75cl £200.00 - - Buy
2015 young Chasse-Spleen (Moulis)
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12x 75cl £210.00 - - Buy
2015 young Clos Puy Arnaud (Cotes de Castillon)
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6x 75cl £90.00 - - Buy
2015 young Marquis de Calon (St-Estephe)
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6x 75cl £90.00 - - Buy
2015 young Cantemerle (Haut-Medoc)
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6x 75cl £105.00 - - Buy
2015 young Coutet (Barsac)
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6x 75cl £145.00 - - Buy
2015 young Domaine de Chevalier Blanc (Pessac)
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6x 75cl £340.00 - - Buy
2015 young Doisy-Vedrines (Barsac)
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6x 75cl £125.00 - - Buy
2015 young Durfort-Vivens (Margaux)
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6x 75cl £165.00 - - Buy
2015 young Guiraud (Sauternes)
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6x 75cl £160.00 - - Buy
2015 ready Goubau Rose (Bordeaux)
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6x 75cl £27.00 £47.40 £8.99 Buy
2015 young La Clarte de Haut-Brion (Pessac-Leognan)
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6x 75cl £320.00 - - Buy
2015 young Lacoste Borie (Pauillac)
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12x 75cl £180.00 - - Buy
2015 young Latour-Martillac Blanc (Pessac)
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6x 75cl £115.00 - - Buy
2015 young Leoville-Barton (St-Julien)
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3x 150cl £295.00 - - Buy
2015 young Echo de Lynch-Bages (Pauillac)
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6x 75cl £135.00 - - Buy

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