There has been a flurry of releases from Bordeaux this morning as the campaign starts to gain some momentum.
Ch Desmirail: one of our Recommended Value Wines of the vintage, we were impressed by the quality of this relatively unknown chateau from the high-performing Margaux appellation.
Ch Armailhac: always a Pauillac classic, owned and beautifully made by Mouton Rothschild, with silky tannins and sweet pure fruit. It is harmoniously balanced and has a lovely textured finish.
Ch Langoa Barton: three generations of the wonderful Barton family are now involved in running this trustworthy St Julien estate. Increased fruit selection has benefited this 2015 – Matthew Jukes says “a crisp, vital wine with punch and excitement.”
Ch Malescot St Exupery: in Médoc terms, the 28 ha of vines at this highly successful 3rd Growth makes this a relative boutique vineyard in Margaux. A lovely example of Margaux’s succulent and harmonious fruit characteristics in this fine vintage.
Ch Petit Village: from the Pichon Baron stable under the watchful eye of Christian Seely, this small Pomerol estate always produces firm, masculine wines with formidable structure. Their 2015 was one of the best in a very successful appellation.
Ch Pape Clement: a powerful and impressive Pessac-Leognan from Bernard Magrez. Awarded 95-97 points by Neal Martin, and described by Antonio Galloni as “stunningly beautiful”.
Large formats up to imperial available on request.
Ch Desmirail 3ème Cru Margaux 2015
£250 per 12 bottles IB
Owned by one of the many members of the Lurton family, Denis, this is a brilliant example of the vintage and Margaux. I just loved it. Full of subtlety, it has a suave graceful mouth-feel, with masses of bright red fruit flavours. The subtle coating of vanilla oak on the finish provides polish and charm. Chapeau, a delicious wine! Drink 2021 – 2033. Goedhuis, Score: 91-93
After a so-so 2014, the excellent 2015 Château Desmirail makes amends. It comes with a very comely, feminine and perfumed nose brandishing a whole bunch of rose petals in the glass. The palate is very well balanced, fleshy but still structured with fine grain tannin. It feels a little oaky towards the finish, but that should be subsumed with 4-5 years in bottle. One to check out after 3-4 years when it has found its groove. Neal Martin, Score: 90-92
Lovely expression of cassis Cabernet fruit with Margaux charm and lift. This third growth is really coming into its classification. Decanter, Score: 91
Ch Armailhac 5ème Cru Pauillac 2015
£310 per 12 bottles IB
A bold and rich wine, with strikingly perfumed aromas of violets and sloe fruits. A really refreshing style, with a bright lifted palate, it is full of joy. A wine destined to give huge pleasure within its price category. Drink 2021 – 2031 Goedhuis, Score: 90-92
Particularly bright crimson. Savoury, lively nose. Drier and lighter than most but racy and satisfying in the new style. Good freshness and breadth. Really very polished. Drink 2024-2040 Jancis Robinson MW, Score: 17.5
This is a very aromatic vintage for d’Armailhac, with lovely, faint, spice notes overlaying a generously fruity core. There is a lovely graphite note piercing the centre of this wine which allows the Cabernet to sing, but the cherry-soaked Merlot softens the whole allowing it to appear forward, appealing and already approachable. You need to wait until the finish creeps in to see any sign of tannin, but it is there and it grows slowly reminding one that this is not necessarily just a forward-drinking wine. I am suitably impressed. Matthew Jukes, Score: 17.5+
Ch Langoa Barton 3ème Cru St Julien 2015
£340 per 12 bottles IB
This has appealing, forward aromatics of sweet fruit tempered by a savoury attitude. There are well-integrated tannins and a lovely drive on the palate, which balance well with the fresh acidity. Drink 2022-2033. Goedhuis, Score: 91-93
A crisp, vital wine with punch and excitement, this is not a lusty, rich Langoa but a tense, nervy style with great line and length. The fruit is a shade lighter than in 2014 and yet it will be a longer-lived wine. Good effort. Matthew Jukes, Score: 17.5+
The 2015 Langoa Barton is fleshy, open-knit and absolutely delicious. Sweet red cherry and pomegranate are pushed forward, while hints of violet, lavender and spice add freshness and lift to the succulent finish. The gracious, feminine side of Saint-Julien comes through in spades. This is very nicely done. Antonio Galloni, Score: 90-93
Ch Malescot St Exupery 3ème Cru Margaux 2015
£370 per 12 bottles IB
The beauty in the fruit here is so impressive. Full body, super fine tannins. It’s very racy and incredibly long. Sexy and rich finish. Better than the legendary 2009? A blend of 70% cabernet savignon, 30% merlot. James Suckling, Score: 97-98
Particularly glowing crimson. Light nose with some wildness about it. A hint of something animal! Distinctive wine that is a bit more daring than the average Margaux. Not the most tannic but very nicely balanced. Drink 2024-2038. Jancis Robinson MW, Score: 17
Ch Petit Village Pomerol 2015
£510 per 12 bottles IB
Smoky bacon aromas on the nose, and a densely fruited palate set this wine apart. It is structured, almost stridently so. The tannins have a masculine frame, but they are amply filled by ripe fresh dark fruit flavours. Very promising. Drink 2022 – 2031. Goedhuis, Score: 93-95
This vintage includes a small parcel from the new plantings at this Château but otherwise everything else used is from the oldest vines. With this amount of the Cabernets in the wine it tethers the very ripe Merlot to the ground and also prevents the whole flavour from getting out of control. The tannins also help to balance the exotic fruit and the wine is very exciting and flamboyant. The only criticism is the slight oiliness on the palate which comes from the Merlot, but this will fade in time. Matthew Jukes, Score: 18+
Ch Pape Clément Grand Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan 2015
£625 per 12 bottles IB
Very dense dark opaque colour, this is full of spice, dark toffee and earthy autumnal aromas. Whilst the oak is apparent at this early stage, there is such a rich fruit content that the wine totally supports it. A strong and powerful wine. Drink 2022 – 2035. Goedhuis, Score: 91-93
The 2015 Pape Clement is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc. It was cropped at 40 hl/ha between 25 September and 15 October with berry by berry destemming. It has a drop-dead gorgeous bouquet that continues the ever greater finesse that has been imparted into this Pape-Clément in recent years. It is extremely precise, almost crystalline. The palate is underpinned by fine tannin, pitch-perfect acidity, a sense of cohesion and harmony that is outstanding. There is not a hair out of place on this barrel sample and it will doubtless evolve into one of the best wines this state has produced since the 14th century, when Bertrand de Goth was planting its first vines. This comes highly recommended – a Pape-Clément that will reward those who can resist temptation and cellar this wine for 10+ years. Neal Martin, Score: 95-97