UGC Week: Bordeaux 2015 - Day one, the wait is over…

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2015 - Day one, the wait is over…

Tuesday 5th April 2016
by Tom Jenkins

We’ve 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 Cheval Blanc. 

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 

After 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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