As always we kept a crazy busy schedule tasting over 1000 wines from the new baby vintage of 2015. We stayed in the Medoc, at Ch. Beauragard in Pomerol and at Ch. Le Thil in Leognan. The hard work was well worth it, I know the wines inside and out and the comparison vintage is an easy answer for me; very much like 2005.
Now that the scores are in and some prices are out we are indeed having our first real Pre-Arrival Campaign since 2010 and everyone who loves Bordeaux is happy with the opening prices, at least so far. I’m thrilled with the wines across the board, the absolute natural beauty the wines feature, and the great purity of fruit, the tremendous freshness and above all, their great taste.
This vintage is the perfect vintage for young people to lay the foundation of a great wine cellar and if you are up there in age it is important to know that this is not a vintage loaded with lots of hard tannin. Many of these wines will drink very well young, just a few years after arriving in 2018, but the exquisite balance found in the wines like the 1982’s 1985’s 2005’s and 2009’s before them will insure a nice life in the cellar.
This vintage offers great value for great tasting wines like, La Tour de Mons, Siran, Malescot, Braniare Ducru, Alter Ego, Croix de Beaucaillou, Clos du Marquis, d’Aiguilhe, Clos de l’Oratoire, Beauragard and Cote de Baleau; this list can go on and on. This vintage also brings to the table wines that will be considered legendary; wines like Ch. Latour, Ch. Margaux, Cheval Blanc, Vieux Chateau Certan, Petrus, Palmer and Ducru Beaucaillou. We always have to remember that great wines taste great from the very beginning of their lives, and in 2015 I wrote down in my notes “tastes great” over and over again.
Here are my notes on the Superstars which I call 3 Star wines that have the potential to be legendary. Please feel free to contact me anytime with any questions you may have and if you would like a copy of my personal notes I’m happy to share them with you. Cheers! Ralph Sands
Because these wines are different in style; each of them can absolutely be considered wine of the vintage and you would get no argument from me.
Ch. Latour- 77% 16M 4CF 3PV Who knows when Ch. Latour will eventually release this wine, but we do know that it is a great one! The extremely deep black-brown fruit is sweet and powerful. Great rich texture, perfect purity, not over extracted in any way. Great freshness and length! A classic Ch. Latour. 3 Stars
Please note… the current release from Ch. Latour is 2000 and I found it to be very strong and direct, loaded with freshness and acidity; I would still stay away from this wine for another 10 years at least.
The release of 2009 Les Forts de Latour is a whole different issue. Flat out delicious wine that is rich and round, soft for Latour, full of ripe black fruit with a hint of black olive. Just entering the drinking window and shows you the great ripeness of fruit in 2009.
The third wine is called Pauliiac and while this is a 2010 it is very impressive wine! In fact the best Pauillac/third wine I have ever tasted from any estate! Strong warm fruit with deep layers. This shows you the greatness and power of 2010.
Ducru Beaucaillou- 95% Cabernet Sauvignon … 100% delicious! If I had to pick just one wine from this vintage to drink forever from 2015 it is DB. If you want to drink the wine young it is without question the wine of the vintage. The wines sweet plush black fruit with cassis notes and its velvety texture is just awesome. The rounded tannins and seamless balance combine to make this a flat out perfect wine. 3 Stars
Palmer- 50%CS 44M 6PV One of the most important elements of Bordeaux greatest wines is longevity. The 2nd wine of Palmer is so delicious young it’s amazing; the first wine has all the great fruit but is much more powerful. Strong attack of spicy black-red grapes yields to a deep long wine with masculine tannins. Super serious, classy and regal. 3 Stars
Ch. Margaux- 87%CS 8M 3CF 2PV A great Ch. Margaux where 35% of the harvest is in the first wine. Expressive nose of wild sweet fruits. The palate is loaded with ripe raspberry and lively cranberry fruit. Perfect extraction combined with long tannins make for an invigorating, classic wine. 3 StarsSadly this is the last wine made under the direction of longtime director Paul Pontaillier, helped create many great vintages in his time that eventually brought Ch. Margaux back to the pinnacle of wine. He will be sadly missed but his legacy will live forever at Ch. Margaux.
Vieux Chateau Certan- 80% 19CF 1CS Tasting this wine is always a fantastic experience and it always blows me away as it is the most elegant wine of greatness in all of Bordeaux. Bright crimson in color it is a silky wine with perfect texture, focus and great taste! Wow is the only way to describe this beauty of a wine. 3 Stars!
Petrus- Fantastic, effusive aromas of bright red fruits jump out of the glass! Petrus has great purity of fruit followed by good solid tannins with no hard edges. Not heavy in any way, fine freshness and great natural acidity. I wrote down that some great wines are soft and plush, some are powerful and strong, some are a combination of all the great elements; like this one! 3 Stars
L’Evangile- 84%M 16CF This wines is absolutely loaded with deep, sweet, glossy black Merlot fruit. The middle fruit texture is awesome and leads to a “forever finish”. I adore this wine. 3 Stars
Canon- 72%M 28CF You have to go all the way back to 1982 to find a Ch. Canon that rivals this wine. In 2015 Canon takes its place alongside VCC, and La Consiellante as the greatest wines of elegance in 2015. Beautiful red fruit with spice, rich middle fruit in perfect harmony and a super clean dry finish. This is a complete wine with great freshness, perfect extraction and by no means sweet. This is a great dry wine, without huge opulent fruit that is all the rage these days, it is all about perfect balance; a mirror image of the legendary 1982. 3 Stars
La Conseillante- 81% Merlot 19%CF La Consiellante along with VCC are the two wines that are the epitome of elegance in 2015! Fantastic freshness and aromatic lift and strike hit you immediately in this wine; followed by perfectly ripe blueberry fruit with hints of blackberry all just perfectly balanced. Delicious! 3 Stars
Cheval Blanc- 45%CF 55M Elegant, pure red fruit, just superb! Not a hint of over extraction or heaviness; a wine in perfect balance and long finishing. Perfect wine??? Just might be! 3 Stars
Angelus- This wine shows you exactly why Angelus was elevated to Premier Grand Cru Classe A. This is a great wine that is just loaded with deep, round exotic fruit that screams of raspberries! A big wine with lovely rounded tannins you can barely feel! While the wine is big it features great freshness from the superb Cabernet Franc in 2015 and the exquisite balance that will insure a long life. 3 Stars!
Malescot Saint Exupery- I am 100% agreement with K&L Vice President Trey Beffa when he says that Malescot is a candidate for Wine of the Vintage! Tasted twice and outstanding both times, at the Chateaux… Deep, silky and sexy! Loaded with fruit… Cherries-Kirsch and Cassis! More accessible than Palmer, sweeter, rounder fruit than Ch. Margaux, just outstanding! 3 Stars! At the Joanne tasting of 170 wines…sweet, round and lovely! 3 Stars again. Bravo to my golf partner and owner Jean Luc Zuger who gets 3 Stars for making a great wine and for having the sense to price the wine where wine lovers can afford to drink it!
Cheers to you! Ralph Sands