been waiting a long time. We recall the still fermenting juices we tasted in
October and then the impressive, precocious assemblages we tasted in February.
Now the opportunity to taste the 2015s in earnest is finally here; the litmus
test for the vintage.
Our small convoy of cars has been snaking its way through
the lanes of Pomerol and St Emilion, as is the Justerinis’ custom on the first
day of a primeur trip - and we have been well and truly wrapped in seductive
fruit and glorious velvety tannins today. If critics are to be believed,
Pomerol is perhaps the commune of choice in 2015, and we have not been
disappointed. Denis and Constance Durantou presented a very strong range of
wines. It’s hard to pick favourites, but Montlandrie and Eglise Clinet were
both sensational. The JP Moueix flight was equally accomplished. Lafleur Gazin,
La Fleur Petrus and Trotanoy hit all the right notes. Then came a trio of wines
that fall into the ‘outstanding’ category: Petrus, Vieux Chateau Certan and
Tasting at Chateau Lafleur
Really we need whole blogs posts for each of these wines, and
even that would not do them justice. Whilst they are all unique, they share the
same hallmarks of: precision, elegance, assurance and vivacity – three truly
remarkable wines. Before lunch, we had one final appointment at Chateau Figeac.
Frederic Faye and Michel Rolland are proving a formidable team here. The ‘15
with 43% Cabernet Sauvignon is the finest example we have tasted here for many
many years – bravo. And then it was time for lunch with Chateau Canon and a
tasting of their sublime 2015. This is the dream start for their talented new
wine-maker, Nicholas Audebert. The wine is quite exquisite; a blend of power,
complexity and freshness from a truly great limestone terroir – Chapeau!
The sun shine of the hallowed ground at Petrus
a light lunch we made our way back to Pomerol to taste at Chateau Lafleur. This
is an estate very close to our hearts and we were extremely excited to taste
what Baptiste has been describing as the best Merlot vintage in his tenure. We
were not disappointed. The whole range is vital, vibrant, nuanced, intense and
beautifully constructed. The grand vin itself is off the charts. It is
multifaceted, staggeringly nuanced and utterly seductive. We can already say
with some confidence that this will be one of the wines of the vintage! Now we
are motoring… Evangile is mighty impressive – black fruited, pure decadence,
everything a Pomerol should be. By contrast, La Conseillante didn’t really work
for us. Back to St Emilion and the wines of Hubert de Bouard. Angelus is back
to form in style. This black fruited monolith comes perilously close to
over-extraction, yet it retains purity and has wonderful freshness. It is
ambitious, but pulls it off to spectacular effect. Over on the Cote proper we
met with the charming Pauline Vauthier. Her 2015s are really rather special.
Tasting a selection from JCP Maltus
Chapelle and Ausone capture all the very best characteristics of the vintage.
There is a restrained opulence, tension, acidity and seemingly endless nuance.
These are two very serious wines to put on your shopping lists. Our penultimate
tasting was at Tertre Roteboeuf. Francois welcomed us to his heaving cellar –
either our timing was lousy or his wines are beginning to get the notoriety
they deserve. As expected, Domaine de Cambes charmed us all, Roc de Cambes
defied its lowly appellation and thrilled us, while Tertre Roteboeuf was
equally impressive in a slightly more understated and muted way. Our final
appointment with Jonathan Maltus at Chateau Teyssier sealed what has been a
thoroughly pleasurable day of tastings. The wines here continue to get better
and better. There is greater precision, more elegance, more judicious use of
oak and an even better sense of harmony and balance than ever before. Bravo! We
may well have started with the best; we will know for sure in a couple of days.
Pomerol and St Emilion could very well be the winners in 2015 - we have witnessed some dramatic highs today - wines with real class and substance.
Team discuss the wines, after a long day.
Follow the team with day two here.
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