Château Pontet-Canet is on a roll, the biodynamic wind speeding its sails. The thoughtful and determined approach of Alfred Tesseron and his family, together with right-hand man Jean-Michel Comme, have shepherded this Pauillac estate to the top of its game. Pontet Canet 2015 is a deep, seductive beauty. It has wonderful fruit tones and texture. The holistic approach here appears to be influencing harvest dates, with the grapes achieving phenolic ripeness earlier. This was handy in 2015 as the last of the Cabernet came in on October 3, just as the rains began to arrive.
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste produces some of Pauillac’s finest wine, year in, year out. It regularly tops Liv-Ex’s post primeurs straw poll of wine merchants’ value picks. The 2015 is definitely a success for the chateau. Sibling Château Haut-Batailley, from Pauillac vineyards that border St Julien, shows similar finesse and balance to ‘GPL’ but at a keener price. There is a sense that the 2015 vintage here could be seen to be a modern day version of 1985. There is certainly the grace and harmony of that vintage in the wines, as well as the freshness. Vineyard management and winemaking have of course changed significantly in the thirty years since 1985.
There is no doubt that St Julien has made extremely good wine in 2015. Purity and balance are the hallmarks here. Whether this vintage eventually serves as the best vintage since the 2009 and 2010 combination, will depend on the progress in barrel of the 2014 vintage. This was a vintage that impressed me last year in St Julien. It is certainly better value compared with 2015 given this year’s release prices. While 2015 definitely has the edge in quality, does it command the 20%-50%+ mark up over the previous vintage here? I’m not so sure. Only time will tell. Let’s just say that prices this year are decidedly firm!
Bruno Borie has presided over a bevy of excellent wines from the Ducru stable in 2015. All show vivacious beauty this year. The fruit tones are seductive and delicious. Across the board the wines show harmony and balance. It kick’s off with a vibrant Château Lalande-Borie, followed by a gloriously perfumed La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou. The Château Ducru-Beaucaillou grand vin looks exceptional. This is an almost entirely Cabernet Sauvignon blend [95%] and shows just how voluptuous this variety can be in the right hands, from the right terroir, in the right year. 2015 is definitely an exciting vintage here, and not a million miles from the great successes of 2009 and 2010.
Once again Domaines Delon have produced an impressive set of wines at their St Julien properties Château Léoville-Las-Cases and Clos du Marquis. If they don’t quite have the truly exceptional depth of the great years 2009 and 2010, these 2015s are not at all far behind. The beautiful fruit qualities that characterise this vintage are writ large in the wines here. Château Léoville-Las-Cases, on terroir that neighbours Château Latour, regularly produces some of the very best wines in the entire Médoc. This is true in 2015. The blackcurrant fruit tones are wonderful. Clos du Marquis, from vineyards further inland from Las-Cases, has also produced impressive St Julien as well as a new second wine, La Petite Marquise.
Didier Cuvelier is rightly proud of Chateau Léoville-Poyferré 2015. This is extremely fine St Julien. While it doesn’t surpass the remarkable wines made here in 2009 and 2010, it is undoubtedly excellent. It feels a little backward at present, so consider that it will need a decade before it starts showing its real form. Cuvelier compares it a little to the 2001 here. Château Moulin Riche benefits from the same expertise as Léoville Poyferré but comes from different twenty-hectare terroir in St Julien. It is not to be confused with Pavillon de Poyferré, the second wine of Léoville Poyferré. Moulin Riche is well structured and fine in 2015.