Well, there is no doubt about it. 2016 is a fascinating red wine vintage in Bordeaux across all the appellations. The quality of the wines took me by surprise, as it did Bordeaux’s vignerons themselves. The growing season proved to be the proverbial game of two halves. Spring was very wet indeed with variable weather, save for a perfect flowering period. Remarkable drought conditions then followed, with sun and heat, though the high summer days had a considerable diurnal temperature range, with cool nights. The lack of rain was a real worry by the beginning of September [with rising vine stress], but the vintage was made [saved?] but two bouts of essential rain in September. This allowed the grapes to achieve final ripeness [beautiful ripeness in many cases] which has resulted in a range of concentrated reds, with remarkably succulent tannins, fresh acids and reasonable alcohols [ie under 14 degrees]. At the top level the balance seems better than in 2009, and less obviously tannic than 2010 at this early stage. Amongst the wines l managed to taste, the vintage seemed more homogeneous too than 2015 [the 2016 vintage succeeds on both the left and right banks]. Some properties may have made perhaps their best ever wines [though only time will tell]. 2016 didn’t seem to be an exciting vintage for dry whites, though many were well made considering the challenging drought conditions, they didn’t leap out of the glass. I’ll be writing a more detailed overview in the coming week but here are my first thoughts as I began my tastings last Saturday in St Emilion.
Posts Tagged ‘Pomerol’
Pomerol has produced some delicious wines in 2015. Alongside St Emilion, the various Côtes de Bordeaux, Pessac-Léognan and Margaux, Pomerol has succeeded wonderfully in this vintage. At the Union des Grand Crus tastings held by Château Beauregard many impressed, especially, Château La Bon Pasteur, Château La Cabanne, Château Clinet [very seductive], Château Gazin, Château Petit-Village, Château La Pointe and Château Beauregard itself. At the Pomerol Seduction tasting at Clos du Clocher, Château La Conseillante looked a beauty, while Château Rouget and Clos du Clocher looked pretty good. At the Grand Cercle tasting Château Feytit-Clinet was delicious and Château La Commanderie and Château Vieux Maillet impressed. Tasted separately Le Clos de Beau Père is also impressive.
There are typically vivid fruit tones in the wines from the Jean-Pierre Moueix stable in 2015. It might sound daft but they make Pomerol to drink. I don’t mean in a flashy and upfront sense, but wines that appeal through delicacy, balance and harmony. The emphasis here is on fragrance and freshness. There is a vitality across the range that is impressive. Château Lafleur-Gazin and Château Latour à Pomerol are stand-out beauties. Château Bourgneuf is consistent year in, year out and the 2015 looks especially good to me. At the top of the range, there is a brooding effort from Château Hosanna, a delicious and nimble Château La Fleur-Pétrus and what looks to be profound and deep Château Trotanoy. So plenty to enjoy here!
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.