Let’s not beat about the bush. St Emilion has had a glorious vintage in 2015. I think I’ve scored it even more highly than 2010 in many cases. It’s a different beast of course – in fact more of a beauty. There is a supple quality to the fruit, a seductive aspect. It makes so many of the wines delicious. If they don’t have the prodigious densities achieved in 2010, that’s not a bad thing. Many of these wines are caressing and voluptuous. There’s more apparent freshness too than in 2009. There are far fewer of the jammy over-ripe qualities that affected some wines here that year. I think I’m also detecting a perceptible shift in winemaking emphasis on the right bank too. This new paradigm hasn’t quite arrived everywhere, but I think we are starting to witness the positive results of changes in the approach and sophistication of vineyard management [and an increasing movement to organic methods], harvesting at better combined ripeness [not over-ripeness] and greater sensitivity in the cellar in terms of extraction. For me there is no doubt that these 2015 St Emilions are the most attractively styled primeur wines I’ve yet had from this varied and fascinating appellation.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle’
Overall 2014 is an impressive vintage judging from what was in the glass in many of the St Emilion’s tasted during primeurs week last month. There is perhaps more weight and structure than 2012 [itself a very good vintage in St Emilion] and, overall, 2014 is probably the best since 2009 and 2010. It also has greater apparent acidity than in those two years. What’s exciting is the combination of the freshness, the aromatics and the depth in the best wines. There are also excellent wines at all levels, not just at the top echelons. That means there is value to be had in 2014, where the price is right. Overall it is undoubtedly an excellent year for Cabernet Franc here. The variety loved the Indian summer. Merlot is also impressive on the best terroirs. It’s a generalization, but the wines seemed less over-extracted than usual, with greater emphasis on proportionality and harmony. This may be the vintage speaking, but let’s hope it reflects more balanced, adaptive winemaking approaches. And even where properties have gone hell for leather, generally the ball stays in the air. The notes on the following 107 wines represents my most comprehensive primeurs tastings yet of the wines of St Emilion.
2012 is a very good vintage in St Emilion. There are lovely fruit tones to the wines and many have an attractive freshness that keeps them nimble. The wines are generally ripe and forward and many are good to drink already, though the best will age nicely in the medium term. I was especially impressed with Château Canon, Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, Château La Dominique [a real beauty], Château Figeac, Clos Fourtet, Château Pavie-Macquin [very strong], Château Troplong-Mondot and Château Trottevielle.
An enjoyable, forward set of wines were shown at the UGCB’s 2012 in-bottle tasting in London on Thursday, their annual gathering held at the Royal Opera House in London. Pessac-Léognan’s whites were generally delicious as were their reds but there were successes in most appellations with some good showings in Margaux, St Julien, Pauillac and St Emilon and Pomerol especially. It doesn’t appear to be a long-term vintage but there is genuine charm here and more harmony shown in the wines than in 2011. Overall the reds seem more enjoyable now [and perhaps more consistent] than that vintage at the same stage.