I love the forward thinking approach at Château Smith Haut Lafitte. Their respect for the environment and sustainable practices are impressive. It is one of my favourite properties in Bordeaux. Maître de Chais Yann Laudeho took me through the wines here. 2016 as a vintage looks excellent, and the quality has almost taken them by surprise. The red Smith Haut Lafitte is a beauty this year. It is up there with the brilliant wine made in 2015. It is wonderfully generous and has that tell tale texture of the vintage. The white looks very good indeed. It has depth and zest in what was perhaps a challenging vintage for the whites at some properties. The 100% Merlot Château Le Thil is plump and attractive.
Posts Tagged ‘Petit Verdot’
I think Château Cos d’Estournel just has it this year. It will be a close run thing I’m sure, but at this early stage it fractionally pips Château Montrose in producing the finest St Estèphe in 2015. Undoubtedly this is the best wine made here since Aymeric de Gironde took over the day-to-day running of this Michel Reybier owned estate in 2012. Last year the 2014 was impressive, but this year Cos 2015 has a plush voluptuousness that is irresistible. The purity is dazzling, the precision remarkable. This wine belies the patchy September weather here that literally rained on St Estèphe’s parade.
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.
Margaux has had a great vintage in 2015. The quality is wonderfully homogeneous this year. The wines have attractive perfume and exciting purity. Many display exceptional balance and in most cases nicely judged extraction. The appellation is topped by Château Margaux and Château Palmer, but it’s fair to say that qualitatively Château Brane-Cantenac, Château Giscours and Chateau Rauzan-Ségla are not much behind. Many reviewers have spotted the quality of Giscours this year in particular. It is exceptional. Yet the real beauty of Margaux in 2015 is that there is quality across the range. Many properties have made some of their potentially best ever wines. Still, whether these justify some of the price rises [up as much as 44% on 2014] remains to be seen.
Château Palmer is currently on-song. It has hit top marks in virtually every vintage in the past decade. The 2015 continues this run of form in an exceptional way. There is no doubt that the growing season and rainfall pattern in September favoured the Margaux appellation over everywhere else in the Médoc. Many properties here have made some of their best ever wines. At Palmer they have produced a powerful Margaux that easily rivals 2009 and 2010. It may even surpass them. The fruit qualities are glorious. Despite the concentration there is harmony and a tannic structure that is remarkably supple. It is the classic iron fist in a velvet glove.