Now seems an opportune moment for a round-up of releases thus far. Moving Left to Right, North to South...
No big names from St. Estephe as of yet; the highlight of those available so far is Ormes de Pez, which we really enjoyed and rated at 89-91 – pretty decent value for money at £210.
Other releases to note:
Capbern (formerly Capbern Gasqueton, from the producers of Calon Ségur and a decent effort) – £140
Le Crock (from the producers of Léoville Poyferré, provides value for early drinking) – £160
Meyney (decent effort but hard to recommend with the beautiful 90RP 2010 at £215 on our list) – £200
Likewise, no big names from Pauillac – although we do have the first release from the Mouton stable in the form of the very lovely d’Armailhac at £310. We liked this very much, awarding it 91-93 points, but sadly the price does not compare favourably with either the 2009 (92 from Robert Parker, just £348 on our list right now) or, if you’re happy buying pre-release wines, the very fine 2014 which is under £250.
The only other wine available is Pibran (from the owners of Pichon Baron). It’s a thoroughly decent effort but at £240 it looks a little dear, especially with the 90 point (RP) 2010 available for slightly less.
The leading release from St. Julien is the delicious Beychevelle. This is always the very first wine we taste on our EP trip and as such, sets the benchmark for the week; it’s a tough gig but someone has to be first! The good news is that we thoroughly enjoyed the 2015 Beychevelle – and we weren’t alone, with Neal Martin opining that “this could evolve into one of Philippe Blanc's great Beychevelles”. £535 is a decent price as you can’t get many vintages of Beychevelle for under £600.
Langoa Barton looks a fair buy at £340; it always delivers a chunky, mouthfilling style for a decent price. You can buy previous vintages for not much more but if you like Langoa, you’ve probably already got them...
Moulin Riche is another Léoville Poyferré satellite estate made in a robust, full-bodied style – not a bad buy at £190.
In the Medoc, Cantemerle was one of our big early successes of the campaign. A superb wine with a big name at a very competitive price (£210); it has found its way into the theoretical cellars of BI clients all over the world. There’s still more left so don’t hesitate to get your orders in if you haven’t already.
Margaux is arguably the pick of the Left Bank communes, along with Graves/Pessac, and there is a definite buy here in the form of the superb Malescot St. Exupéry. At £370 it is considerably cheaper than either the 2009 or 2010, with which it certainly competes in quality; in fact it’s almost half the price of the 2005 with which it shares many characteristics. This is one of the most exciting releases thus far.
Du Tertre can always be relied upon to deliver good value and their 2015 is another fine effort in the style, with good scores across the board and a very reasonable tag of £275. Also available is Kirwan at £330.
The first significant release from Pessac-Léognan is the superb Pape Clément, which at £625 looks a very good buy. This is an estate on a roll and with two 100-point (RP) vintages up its sleeve in 2009 and 2010, it is only going to gain more and more attention. With 95-97pts from Neal Martin and 97-98pts from James Suckling it is well worth a place in many cellars.
The highly-rated De Fieuzal, both red and white, came out just this morning; this is a fascinating wine which combines the terroir and weather conditions of Pessac with the winemaking touch of St. Emilion legend Hubert de Boüard. It looks very fine value at £260 for the rouge, and the white at £310.
Over on the Right Bank we have a handful of Pomerols available, predominantly from the Moueix family estates. Hosanna did its usual trick (i.e. it came and went) and is sold out at £960. Bourgneuf Vayron (£295) is a beefy, rustic style of Pomerol which appealed more to James Suckling (94-95) than to Neal Martin (90-92) and definitely had its fans in our tasting team. Certan de May was another wine which split Messrs Suckling and Martin, with a full 9-point spread between their upper and lower score estimates; however, with Jean-Claude Berrouet (formerly of Petrus and father of current Petrus wunderkind Olivier) as winemaker, one can be assured of serious quality here.
Outside of these, the biggest name out so far is Gazin, an excellent wine from some enviable terroir (indeed the guys at Petrus told us that given half a chance they would snap up these neighbouring vines – some compliment). At £480 it looks a very good buy – it’s a genuinely beautiful wine which anyone would be happy to own. This has been one of our most popular wines so far and with a growing following in Asia and mature vintages selling for significantly more, we’re confident this is money well spent.
Coralie de Boüard’s La Fleur de Boüard is available at £200, a fair price for a well-made wine, albeit one that will require some patience due to its considerable scale and structure.
In St. Emilion we have seen a raft of inexpensive but good quality and value wines released. In no particular order of preference:
Berliquet was above the upper end of our spread (just) at £255 but what a stunning wine it is in 2015 – with vines close to Angélus and Ausone, it punches well above its weight at the price with a massive 96-97pts from James Suckling.
Fombrauge, from the Magrez/Pape Clément stable, delivers in 2015. At just £174 per case it’s very close to being a no-brainer. Slightly less appealing but very well scored by Suckling is the Fonplegade which also hit the top of its spread at £250.
Denis Durantou’s first two ‘satellite’ wines were also released, with the Saintayme (St. Emilion) at a mere £110 and La Chenade from Lalande de Pomerol at £125. These are simply brilliant wines. Not much more you can say about them other than you must buy them until they run out – you won’t see them again in a hurry, if at all. A drinker’s delight!
Not forgetting Sauternes, which as Neal Martin stated “I know you will”... there have been multiple releases here.
Suduiraut was absolutely superb and has scores to match (95-97NM, 97-98JS) but the price, £480, is ambitious; 2007, 2009 and 2011 can all be bought for less.
Doisy-Daëne was loved by all who tasted and at £280 it makes the Suduiraut price look even more out of kilter.
Look out for future updates as more wines are released!