Bordeaux En Primeur 2015

Vintage Summary

  • A very good to excellent vintage throughout
  • Very good quality in the Medoc, with quality generally higher in the South than the North
  • Very good to excellent First Growths and Grand Cru Classe ‘A’ wines
  • Very good to excellent wines in Pomerol - in some cases these are sublime
  • Excellent quality in St Emilion with many estates exhibiting a return to restraint and finesse
  • Excellent quality throughout Graves and Pessac – some wines here reach exceptional levels
  • In a nutshell, this is the best vintage since 2009 and 2010 and certainly sits in the top group alongside these two vintages, plus 2005 and 2000. However it sits quite apart from these in profile, sporting sweet, fine tannins, bright acidity and exceptional purity of fruit. It is distinctive and extremely attractive and there are wines we highly recommend at all price levels.

The 2015 Vintage in Style - Reds

Cynics would have us believe that there are three types of Bordeaux vintage: ‘great’ (meaning huge, powerful and backward), ‘classical’ (meaning fresh verging on green but with pretty fruit) and ‘claret lover’s’ or ‘restaurant’ (meaning pretty dreadful).

2015 does not adhere to these stereotypes. In general it has the succulence, sweet tannins, full mid-palate and fruit purity of a great vintage; it has the freshness, balance and digestibility of a classical vintage; and there is no doubt if you are a claret lover, there are plenty of wines you will adore.

The vast majority were remarkably easy to taste, the easiest we have ever encountered (since 2000 for the more experienced in our team), and we suspect they will remain approachable throughout their lives. But make no mistake – in the best examples, everything is there to guarantee a long life: density, fruit weight, tannin and acidity. In the main they are balanced and if a wine starts life balanced it will end life balanced.

Dry and Sweet Whites

The conditions which proved so successful for reds also provided an excellent platform for whites, both dry and sweet. Dry white volumes are small but the sweet white harvest was relatively plentiful.

Should you buy them?

We believe it is likely that release prices will rise, compounding for UK buyers the negative influence of the EUR:GBP rate. At this point we have rated the wines solely on quality and will only pass a final judgment as to whether or not they are worth purchasing once we know the sell price. In some cases, for wines we found truly exceptional, we may recommend them against our better judgment - but we will tell you if this is the case.

If you are less price sensitive than some, then you can comfortably buy everything we recommend and we are confident you will never be disappointed to own them and drink them.

If you want to acquire some exceptional 2015s but are wary about price adjustment over the coming few years, then by all means wait to pick up wines from the Left Bank; they make plenty of wine and it is quite possible you will be able to find most things further down the line. However there is no guarantee that the price will be favourable. As always with futures, there is an element of risk and prices can go both down and up even before the wines are physical; whilst some wines from 2009 and 2010 declined in value post-release, those who bought 2014 First Growths have seen positive returns at this stage.

The Right Bank is a different story and even with higher than average yields, there is nowhere near as much wine with which to satisfy global demand so we would recommend a little less caution here. Be bold; you won't regret it.

If your appetite is larger than your wallet then fear not, as there are many wines across the region which deliver superb quality at a lower price than the Grands Vins of famous estates. Second wines are superb in many cases, and satellite vineyards in Cotes de Castillon, Lalande de Pomerol and Fronsac often give amazing bang for buck - especially those which are owned and managed by grander producers, such as Denis Durantou of L’Eglise Clinet fame.

It is worth reiterating that two salient facts remain about buying EP. Firstly you guarantee provenance and condition 100%, leaving you happy in the knowledge that you have owned your precious cases from new. Secondly, you have the opportunity to bottle in formats as you desire from lunchtime halves to celebratory imperials - or bigger.

Bordeaux 2015 by key region

Central Medoc - St Julien and Pauillac
Northern Medoc - St Estephe
St Emilion and Pomerol
Graves and Pessac
Sauternes and Barsac