There was more than spring blooming this past week in Bordeaux as I attended En Primeur – which signals the arrival of the latest vintage of Bordeaux – the 2015’s. Still young and developing in oak barrels, we will see them in the US market sometime late in 2017 or early 2018. The vintage, in a word, will be sensational.
Winemakers across the region are already comparing it to other highly acclaimed vintages of this millennium, while some truly believe this could be there best vintage ever. This was the consistent talk throughout the region, right bank and left, from the most famous Château’s to the obscure. Perfect weather conditions paired with consistently improving winemaking facilities and techniques yielded consistently great quality throughout the region.
Of the white Bordeaux, Château Carbonnieux and Château Olivier really stood out. Both were fresh and bright, with nice acidity and balance. Château Olivier in fact, really was a pleasant surprise. The vineyard has been consistently improving since 2004, when new plantings on the best soil in the region began making their way into the bottles. The cépage is now 80% Sauvignon Blanc and now only 20% Semillon, instead of 50% Semillon as it was in the past. It is a really pleasant wine.
Where to start with the reds? Wow! What a vintage. Some of my favorites included Château Grand-Mayne, Château Olivier, Château Villemaurine, Château Gazin, Château La Pointe, Château Angludet, Château Kirwin, Château Beychevelle, Château Leoville Poyferré, Château Lagrange, Grand Puy Lacoste and Château Talbot. These wines, after having been in barrels for only a few months, expressed great balance. Even at such a young age they were not overly fruit driven, nor were they attacking with tannins and alcohol. They were sophisticated and they belied their youth.
I had the pleasure of visiting three first growth Château’s – Château Lafite, Château Mouton Rothschild, and Château Margaux. What a pleasure it was to visit these famous, iconic facilities. They represent the best of the best – from artwork and beautifully manicured grounds, to the most incredible winemaking facilities and winemakers in the business today. Then, they let nature do the rest, and 2015 blessed them with another terrific result. I have always been partial to Château Lafite, and of the three, that was my favorite; but their collective success speaks for itself and all are fantastic.
Aside from the wines and the ability to experience the Château’s, the town of Bordeaux itself deserves mentioning. What a fantastic city. Everyone tells me that fifteen years ago you wouldn’t have recognized the place – a terrible river front, shuttered businesses, buildings in disrepair. Today, it seems to be running on all cylinders, and is a fantastic place to visit with great restaurants, a vibrant waterfront, and new public transportation options. It was a really amazing place to have as a base of operations while visiting the incredible French countryside.
Then of course, I want to thank all of the incredible people that supported me and helped organize tastings and experiences that I would not be able to do on my own – including James Sichel, Edouard Braastad, Thierry Gramon, Catherine Martin, and Mathieu Duvert. Their support and attention to insuring that I had a great experience at “En Primeur” greatly enhanced the learning and knowledge that I received while there and made my experience more memorable. Thank you all.
En Primeur was a well-organized event and I am grateful to have been there to witness the unveiling of such an incredibly exciting and anticipated vintage. Kindred Vines Import Company and Woodberry Wine will be participating in offering 2015 futures this year to our valued clients, and we look forward to having our customers enjoy what will prove to be an incredible Bordeaux vintage.
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