Is 2015 the best vintage since the two superlative years of 2009 and 2010? We are soon to find out, for in a week’s time, six of us will be travelling to Bordeaux to attend the famous ‘Union des Grands Crus’ tastings. There is huge anticipation and much excitement throughout the team.
I had a sneak preview three weeks ago and although I am wary of early predictions, initial reports suggest that the Right Bank appellations of Pomerol and St Emilion have fared particularly well, as has Pessac Leognan. This is not entirely unexpected due to the higher proportion of earlier ripening Merlot in their blends. In comparison, the more powerfully structured wines of Pauillac and St Estephe rely on the later ripening Cabernet Sauvignon.
Denis Dubourdieu, one of Bordeaux’s most respected consultants, says of 2015, “All five conditions necessary for a great red wine vintage in Bordeaux were perfectly aligned”. (1 & 2) Early and relatively quick flowering and fruit-set during weather that is sufficiently warm and dry. (3) The gradual onset of water stress thanks to a warm, dry month of July. (4) Full ripening of the various grape varieties thanks to dry and warm weather in the months of August and September, and (5) fine weather during the harvest, allowing estate owners to pick, at optimum ripeness, beautifully clean, rot free grapes.
On this basis, I cannot wait to taste what I am sure are going to be some stunning wines. I suspect the white wines will be on the riper side with lovely richness. Sauternes, one of my favourite areas, is rumoured to have made some spectacular wines. How exciting!
We head off on the 4th April, aiming to taste up to 100 wines a day. Look out for our daily blogs which will keep you updated on our exploits, the highs and lows of each day and our initial thoughts on the vintage. There is even a rumour that I might enter the world of twitter as we travel around!!
David Roberts MW