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Bordeaux 2015: Haut-Médoc

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_0930There are some wonderful wines in the Haut-Médoc appellation in 2015 but there are variations. Some properties in the northern Haut-Médoc have made better wine in 2014. This variation reflects the geography and intensity of the rain showers on the eve of harvest in the September period that, by and large, were heavier the further up the Médoc you went. Properties in the southern Haut-Médoc, especially the likes of Château Cantemerle and Château La Lagune have made great wine in 2015. Châteaux in this geography or in the middle Haut-Médoc, such as Château Beaumont, Château Belle-Vue, Château Citran and Château Malescasse are impressive. The trio of crus classés in St Laurent [close to St Julien] Château Belgrave, Château de Camensac and Château La Tour Carnet have also performed well. While these are all definitely 2015s to consider, I can’t help thinking 2014 looked generally a better deal in terms of value in this varied appellation, given the price rises and the exchange rates in 2015. It will certainly be interesting to see the development of these two vintages in bottle. 2015 is overall the better vintage, but that’s not necessarily true for all the Haut-Médoc properties.

The following wines were tasted at the UGCB event at Château Citran on 5th April, 2016 and the Cru Bourgeois event at Château d’Arsac on 7th April, 2016.

Château d’Agassac, Haut-Médoc

Bold colour; earthy purple edge; intense fruit; some jam; pretty ripe aromatics; nice palate with good fruit; soft tannins; on the jammy side at present. Drink 2022-2028. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 86-88

Château Aney, Haut-Médoc

Mid depth; translucent at core; little inert on the nose; soft and easy on the palate; lacks structure and middle; light and spicy finish. Shows some dilution. Drink 2020-2023. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 83-85

Château d’Arcins, Haut-Médoc

Bold colour; deeper core; attractive perfume and lift; black cherry fruit; little toast from the oak; full palate; nice full flavor; a success. Drink 2020-2025. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 85-87

Château Arnauld, Haut-Médoc

Deepish colour; purple edge; cool cherry and blackcurrant fruit; fresh; little stalky perhaps; blackcurrant tones dominate the palate; grippy; quite clean; vigorous aspect. Drink 2020-2025. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 84-86

Château Barreyres, Haut-Médoc

Deep and dark; some perfume and fruit; reasonably lush; not a bad effort this – feels quite complete; soft entry; plenty of up-front fruit; some oak; reasonably fresh. Goodish. Drink 2020-2023. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 83-85

Château Beaumont, Haut-Médoc

Deep and saturated look; purple at edge; creamy blackcurrant fruit; very Bordeaux; lots of juicy fruit; plums and black cherry tones; soft and attractive palate; not forced; nicely harmonious; some chocolate on the finish; good effort. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 30% new oak, 13.5% alc, harvest 17/9-8/10]. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted UGCB 5/4/16. 87-89+

Château Belgrave, Grand Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc

Deep and arterial colour; nice depth; tight to rim; creamy and sophisticated nose; lots of blackcurrant and cassis notes; very serious and inky; palate tight with oak influence; intensity here and plenty of tightly wound fruit; very Cabernet influenced stylistically. Pure. Nicely extracted, not overdone. Good length. Excellent Belgrave. [74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 50% new oak, 13.5%]. Drink 2023-2032. Tasted UGCB 5/4/16. 89-91+

Château Belle-Vue, Haut-Médoc

Deep and saturated colour; dark and ripe looking; full and fresh on the nose; briary and blackcurrant aromatics; nice; clean Cabernet tones; fresh; ripe fruit on the palate; attractive wine; clean and fresh with nice acidity. Joyful. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 86-88+

Château Cambon-la-Pelouse, Haut-Médoc

Deep and dark; very saturated looking; inky; palate quite soft; lacks a bit of flavor but soft and round; easy if lacking a little character. Little chewy on the finish. Drink 2020-2025. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16.  83-85

Château de Camensac, Grand Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc

Deep at centre; fresh earthy purple at edge; attractive Bordeaux; nice purity of fruit; elegance but nice seam of fruit; palate more boney and strict; lighter palate than Belgrave; freshness and grip on the finish. Little chew on finish. [57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 70% new oak, 13% alc]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted UGCB 5/4/16. 86-88

Château Cantemerle, Grand Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc

Deep and arterial; saturated looking; very ripe and rich; succulence here but almost verging on the figgy; palate has purity and concentration; glossy; no hard edges to the ripe tannins; very ripe and full overall; joyful, lush and low acid style. [59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 6% petit Verdot, 40% new oak, 13.7% alc]. Drink 2022-2032. Tasted UGCB 5/4/16. 91-93

Château Charmail, Haut-Médoc

Deep colour; purple edge; nice, ripe fruit; some fig and prune; sweet ripe palate with some spice; concentration here but this property now doesn’t quite register the same excitement it used to. Goodish. Drink 2020-2025. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 85-87

Château Cissac, Haut-Médoc

Deep colour; quite purple; oak perfume; some black cherry; fullish palate; not extracted; some spice and cherry notes; no hard edges; nicely done. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 85-87

Château Citran, Haut-Médoc

Deep and saturated; earthy purple at edge; little fresher on the nose than Cantemerle; perfume; black fruits and cherry tones; blackcurrants too; ripe cassis beneath; oak to integrate on the palate; will settle; wood tannins to integrate but fruit is stylish. [56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 33% new oak, 13% alc]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted UGCB 5/4/16. 89-91

Château Clément Pichon, Haut-Médoc

Mid depth; ripe fruit notes; mineral tones on the palate with freshness; will work once it settles. Inky but not over-extracted. Drink 2021-2028. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 85-87

Château Coufran, Haut-Médoc

Mid depth; dark at core; creamy blackcurrants; nicely layered and attractive; full and ripe on the palate; some oak; balanced and attractively made red. Coufran releases a bit like Latour – when the wines are ready. [85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted UGCB 5/4/16. 88-90+

Château Dillon, Haut-Médoc

Good depth; bright, bubblegum fruit; fresh and cherry-like; fruit driven palate with some vigour and sap. Drink 2020-2023. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 83-85

Château La Lagune, Grand Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc

Deep and saturated; glossy colour and purple at edge; concentrated nose; pretty intense and inky; cassis and dark chocolate notes; glossy palate with plenty of depth; beautifully voluptuous style; seemingly fresher than Cantemerle. Lovely caressing wine. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 50% new oak, 14.25% alc]. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted UGCB 5/4/16. 93-95+

Château de Lamarque, Haut-Médoc

Deep and saturated look; ripe and thickish on the nose; little wood to integrate but plenty of extract and fruit on the mid-palate; attractively gutsy style. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted UGCB 5/4/16. 87-89

Château Larose Trintaudon, Haut-Médoc

Deep and bold colour; nice purple rim; stones, minerals, wet rocks; slate; stalky blackcurrants beneath; fresh and stalky fruit; fresh acids; vigorous and fresh. Drink 2021-2030. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 85-87

Château La Tour Carnet, Grand Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc

Deep and saturated looking; ripe and rich; sexy and open Merlot on the nose; hedonistically styled to use a Parkerism; full and rich; seductive definitely; some freshness and still has life. Lush. [60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted UGCB 5/4/16. 91-93

Château Malescasse, Haut-Médoc

Deep and saturated; ripe and creamy aromatics; fruitcake spices; nice depth here; good fruit; excellent effort from Malescasse. Positive wine. Drink 2021-2028. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 86-88+

Château Paloumey, Haut-Médoc

Deep and saturated look; purple edge; black cherry and smoke; fresh palate with some oak influence; has depth and structure. Drink 2021-2025. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 85-87

Château Ramage-la-Batisse, Haut-Médoc

Light looking; rather diluted and washed out; odd; feels a bit rained-on. Drink 2019-2021. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 79-81

Château Sénéjac, Haut-Médoc

Mid depth; read at edge; dusty; some spices on the palate but little hard this sample; very modest this for Sénéjac. 2014 better in my book. [I bought a case!]. Drink 2019-2023. Tasted Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arcins 7/4/16. 83-85

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