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!
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau St Pierre’
So what are the principal characteristics of the Bordeaux 2015 vintage? Firstly there is a real beauty to the fruit tones in the red wines this year. Time after time, especially on the Right Bank but also on the Left I kept writing ‘beautiful,’ ‘pretty,’ and ‘delicious.’ There is freshness, despite pretty high alcohols in the main. The vintage is almost a hypothetical blend of 2009 and 2010, but with less evident structure and weight than those vintages. For me it recalls 1985 in terms of that vintage’s early beauty and freshness – and ‘85 remains in great shape today. But the 2015 vintage is by no means homogeneous. In fact there is considerable variability. What is in no doubt is that ‘15 is terrific in St Emilion. There is concentration and delight in so many wines there this year. It has also been strong vintage in the surrounding Côtes de Bordeaux appellation, especially Castillon and Francs.
Tuesday’s 2014 primeurs tastings started at Château Palmer [pictured – but not in that weather – grey and drizzly] and continued with the UGC Margaux event at Château Dauzac. The wines generally showed a lot of very vivacious and attractive fruit with vibrant acidity and there was more homogeneity than usual. Palmer and Alter Ego looked good with plenty of texture and fruit. Château Margaux tasted later felt classical and proportional. Pavillon Blanc looks excellent [many of the 2014 whites are very good indeed]. Overall in Margaux there is much to compare with 2008 in terms of freshness and 2012 in terms of fruit, though more so, and at the top level 2014 appears to be better than both vintages. Tastings at the UGC event at Château Lamarque – where a large St Bernard was woofing at visitors from the ramparts of the château – were rewarding. There is a lot of fresh, juicy fruit and ripe tannin on display amongst the Haut-Médocs, and these should [hopefully] offer good value.
The MW Institute’s Annual Claret tasting of over one hundred top chateaux held last November was a good opportunity to assess how the 2010 Bordeaux vintage is developing. There is no doubt that this is a great vintage for many reds. It has been pretty consistent from cask to bottle, a vintage generally much more classical than the precocious and forward 2009, but of similarly prodigious quality. Taken together these two vintages make an exceptional back-to-back duo for Bordeaux, especially so on the Left Bank and in Pessac-Léognan. The same can also be said for Sauternes and Barsac. Pomerol and St Emilion once again have made many excellent wines in 2010, often extremely well endowed and big framed, though sometimes too much so in St Emilion when they nudge sixteen degrees.
2012 has produced mid-weight, neat and polished wines in St Julien that are relatively restrained. There is more flesh here than in 2011, a vintage that was leaner and more angular at the same stage, and there is more generosity too in 2012 than in 2013. The appellation is pretty homogeneous [as you’d expect] with Château Léoville Poyferré and Château St Pierre as the standouts amongst the wines shown. Château Gruaud Larose also continues a good run of recent form whilst Château Léoville Barton is classically fresh and bracing.
For me St Julien performed better than expected in 2013. Things were a little drier here than elsewhere in the Médoc and perhaps this, combined with the typical homogeneity of the appellation, has made the wines close to satisfying. Depending on the estate, the quality probably lies somewhere between the 2011 and 2007 vintages, perhaps even toward 2008 in a few cases. Château Léoville-Las-Cases, Château Léoville Poyferré and Château Ducru-Beaucaillou top the appellation. There are good efforts too from siblings Château Léoville Barton and Château Langoa Barton, as well as Château Branaire-Ducru. Overall there’s plenty of grip and sap to the wines, some are chewy currently, but in general they should work out in the medium term.