Bordeaux’s 2015 en-primeur – take five

 

The mystical “rule of five” seems to be holding yet again for Bordeaux’s vintage 2015: it has been noted that every Bordeaux vintage which is divisible by 5 since 1985 has been remarkable.

So here are five prominent properties sharing a quick peek at the latest of their greatest.

 

Ch.Palmer

Thomas Duroux, Director General & CEO, Château Palmer, Margaux

Could you summarize for us why vintage 2015 is looking great for Bordeaux?

We have been very fortunate with the weather in 2015. Especially during the summer, we had mostly warm and dry conditions through to July and then just a little rain towards August so the temperature stress on the fruits did not become too great, so we had a very good veraizon period – the changing of colour of the grapes – that was very homogenous. So by the end of August we were quite confident that the potential of the vintage was very good.

During September, the amount of rainfall was quite varied from one appellation to another. In the Margaux area, we had just a little rain, so it was perfect to finish the ripening process. We were able to start harvesting by the end of September. The fruits were very ripe, all the tannins were ripe – not just the tannis from the skins, but also the pips, which is quite important.  The alcohol potential is higher, which is very classical for a top vintage, but the acidity level was not that high. So to balance the lower acidity with the higher alcohol, the only good option was to build tannins structure, but because all the tannins were ripe, including from the pips, there was no risk of over extraction of the rougher or unpleasant tannin characters.

Comparison with some other great vintages?

From what I can see so far, 2015 Palmer could have the delicacy of the tannins structure of our 2009, which was very soft; and the aromatic intensity of our 2005.

Any interesting developments at Chateau Palmer recently?

For one, in the vineyard we adopted a biodynamic approach. 2015 is now our second vintage where our vineyard is 100% biodynamic. Another thing is that we are lowering our sulphite level in the wine. We found a way to avoid any sulphites in the fruits before fermentation, which means by the end of the aging process in barrels our sulphite level should be lower than what we had in the past, which is good for the wine’s expression.

 

ch.angelus

Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal, Managing Director, Château Angélus, Saint-Emilion 

How is vintage 2015 looking so far at Angélus?

It is a truly great and classical vintage which is characterized by great balance and a long aging potential. I think at Angelus this vintage will have its place among the very finest vintages of the Chateau.

As an exceptional property that is still family owned, do you have some fun facts particular to Angelus to share with us about vintage 2015?

After 2014 being my father [Hubert de Boüard]’s 30th vintage, 2015 is my first vintage in the sense that I got personally involved in the technical aspects of it alongside my father, who remains the chief viticulturalist and chief-oenologist. I participated in the pruning work and was deeply involved in the harvest and winemaking, as well as the aging and blending process.  It is also 70 years after my grandfather[Jacques de Boüard]’s first vintage, and it looks as good as it did at that time. My grandfather was pretty excited by the fact that my first vintage came 70 years after his own first vintage.

 If I need to make space for 2015 in my (fantasy) cellar, which vintage should I drink now that might resemble what 2015 could become? 

I would be tempted to compare this vintage to 1989, 1998 or 2000.

 

 ch.montrose

 

Hervé Berland, Director General, Château Montrose, St Estephe

How would you rate vintage 2015 at Montrose?

The vintage 2015 is definitely one great one, very closed to our 2010 and slightly above our 2014, which has been highly appreciated last year by everybody. The wine shows great potential, huge fruits and extremely fine and sophisticated tannins. The blends for our selections is now finalized, and the wines are in barrels.

Any interesting developments at Montrose?

We continued in 2015 to develop our “HD programme” both in the vineyard and in the cellars: we organize our selection for the picking in a more precise way, coming back sometimes up to 3 to 4 times in the same parcel to wait for the most perfect maturity of the berries. We also fine-tuned our vinification process, going for slightly shorter extractions in the vats and working more the press wines.

What are you looking forward to the most about the campaign?

According to our consumer’s and trade contacts throughout the world, the majority of people are confident in the high quality of the Bordeaux for this vintage. We hope and trust that this vintage will be in big demand, which will do justice to all the fantastic work done by the classified growths. Besides, we also hope that Château Montrose will make another new step in its recognition as a major quality wine, equal to the best names throughout the world.

If I need to make space in my cellar for 2015, which vintage should I drink now that might resemble what 2015 could become? 

Making comparison at this stage is always a tricky game, but personally, the profile of this vintage for Montrose reminds me of 1996, and this would be a perfect choice to enjoy a mature Montrose having reached its peak now.

ch.haut-bailley

Véronique Sanders van Beek, General Manager, Château Haut-Bailly, Graves

Any notable achievements during vintage 2015 at your properties?

At Haut-Bailly, a newly planted plot of Petit Verdot produced superb grapes, all blended into the grand vin.

At Château Le Pape, September 2015 marked the harvest of a superb vintage as well as the launch of our guesthouse.

 What are you looking forward to the most about the up and coming en primeur campaign?

We are impatient to show our work and we trust this preview of Château Haut-Bailly 2015 will make everyone happy – clients, press, negociants…

We believe everyone coming to taste 2015 will wear the same smile as we did when harvesting and making this wine.

If I need to make space for 2015, which vintage should I drink now that might resemble what 2015 could become? 

Without predicting the future of 2015, it is a good time to start to enjoy your 2000 and 2005.

 

ch.hautBailley_harvest

2015 Harvest at Chateau Haut-Bailly

 

 

chateauCoutet 

Aline Baly, Proprietor, Château Coutet, Sauternes-Barsac

 How is vintage 2015 for Sauternes and for Coutet? 

 The year 2015 was one of the driest and sunniest in 50 years. The harvest was exceptional thanks to favorable climatic conditions. It took place in comfortable temperatures and under the sun in September, followed by a bit of humidity in early October, to end again with plenty of sunshine. The harvest was homogeneous with a beautiful maturity and the botrytis attacked very ripe berries.

What are you looking forward to the most about the campaign?

 Our team is excited to hear first-hand people’s reaction to their hard work.

 Any comparable vintages?

 This is a rather atypical vintage due to its strength juxtaposed with its finesse and elegance.

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