Bordeaux 2015: picking favourites


Ch. d'Issan. Photograph: Jason Lowe

Ch. d’Issan. Photograph: Jason Lowe

Looking beyond the wines that ticked boxes and scored the highest, here we present the wines from Bordeaux 2015 that really set our team’s hearts aflutter, and whose prices we hope will do the same.

Ch. Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan – 17.5/20

The nose here is as seductive as ever. With refined, creamy black cherry and redcurrant fruit and a powerful yet feminine charm, the 2015 is another irresistible Haut-Bailly. There is a silky texture, and a beautifully seductive nose. It is immediately appealing. Serious, grown-up and presentable, it is full of lovely sweet spice. Plump, generous and long on the finish, it is a Claret of great depth and complexity, and unmistakably a wine which shows true faith to its origins in Pessac-Léognan.

Blend: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot

Ch. Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux – 17.5/20

Deep ruby to purple, Rauzan-Ségla’s 2015 is a wine of great finesse. It displays tasty raspberry, cherry and forest floor aromas. This is really good Margaux. All the aromatics one would expect from this great commune are held together with wonderful precision. This is really rather stylish, elegant and accessible. It is an engaging dark-fruit based wine, with a significant volume of tannin on the finish. The length is long and fresh, with a lingering coolness. The wine displays a tension, suggesting there is more to come in the future. What a terrific effort this year, the wine is certainly very close to its more illustrious neighbours and should therefore offer tremendous value.

Blend: 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc

Ch. les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan – 17.5/20

The new cellar, winery and tasting room is now open at Les Carmes and it really is quite an astounding building. The 2015 is a pretty powerful wine, serious, complex and very interesting indeed. The floral bouquet is very pretty, layered with really ripe raspberries which are ever so attractive. My favourite aspect of the wine has to be the earthy, mineral character though, as well as the brilliant tannic structure. The gravelly soils offer a lovely character and the wine has a sense of place, of terroir. Light in the mouth, the tobacco, sweet black fruits and creamy texture create a wonderful palate, but the savoury characteristics are what I enjoy most about this wine. It is another really promising wine for this up and coming estate.

Blend: 45% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon

Ch. Brane-Cantenac, Margaux – 17/20

This estate is always one of my favourite red Bordeaux and it is beautifully harmonious and quintessentially Margaux in 2015. A Second Growth of real complexity, its attractive nose has a wonderfully floral perfume. The well-integrated tannins and nicely judged acidity combine to produce a benchmark palate. There is real potential here. The racy freshness of the vintage is present and the coolness on the finish is rewarding. Ever so generous, delicious, fresh and juicy.

Blend: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Carménère

Ch. d’Issan, Margaux – 17/20

Displaying a deep plumy, ruby colour, the nose here exhibits a beautiful bouquet of flowers, liquorice, sweet currants and plums. There is lovely purity here, and mouth-watering acidity. With precise character and stunning concentration, the impressive finish lasts and lasts. What a refreshing finish. Really delicious, this is one of the best wines from Margaux in 2015, where quality across the board was high. We have no hesitation in recommending Ch. d’Issan this year. A beautifully harmonious wine, it could be the best Ch. d’Issan we have ever tasted en primeur.

Blend: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot

Ch. Léoville-Barton. Photograph: Jason Lowe

Ch. Léoville-Barton. Photograph: Jason Lowe

Ch. Pichon Baron, Pauillac – 17.5/20

This wine suggests that Ch. Pichon Baron is really making the most of their great terroir. There is layered complexity on offer here and the weight of fruit is superbly controlled and focused. Layered with terrific creamy notes, this wine lifts, lifts and lifts with each moment it sits on the palate. The generosity of fruit fills the finish and it combines beautifully with the spicy, toasty vanilla. There is some power here, but the structure is so sound, that it is felt but not forceful. The finish is prolonged and effortlessly enjoyable.

Blend: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot

Ch. Giscours, Margaux – 16.5/20

There are generous helpings of blackberries and cream on the palate here and they sit wonderfully alongside the elegant Margaux femininity. Fine tannins, crunchy black fruit and excellent length. There is a wonderfully tasty minerality, structure and texture, which is typical of this commune. Focused and direct, it is a real pleasure to taste this wine. This is a serious, grown-up Ch. Giscours. I love the precision and character. It is so representative of Margaux.

Blend: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot

Ch. Léoville-Barton, St Julien – 16.5/20

Full-bodied, powerful, and loaded with flavours of forest fruits, plums, cigar box, and vanilla. This is another benchmark wine from the Bartons in 2015. There is a real spicy character to the wine, some charm and lots of finesse. A pleasing sweetness emerges on the finish. Well balanced, the soft tannins are nice and grainy, and pleasingly integrated. Cassis, black cherries, and blackberries dominate. A very tasty St Julien and unquestionably a wine for the cellar.

Blend: 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot

Ch. Pavie Macquin, St Emilion – 16.5/20

In recent years this fine estate has performed extremely well and 2015 is no exception. The wine has a great balance of ripe raspberry fruit and soft-grained tannins. It is simply delicious and will be a joy to drink two to three years after the vintage and 10 years thereafter. It shows a silky, seductive nose, with a core of redcurrant fruit. It is certainly one of the more successful wines from St Emilion this year.

Blend: 84% Merlot, 16% Cabernet

Ch. Branaire-Ducru, St Julien – 16.5/20

Patrick Maroteau’s excellent 2015 from this Fourth Growth estate shows a real purity, with great precision and ripe tannins that grip and offer an intense focus. The rich, fresh, spicy nose of damsons and blackberry fruit oozes class. There is precision here, a polish – quite simply harmonious. The wine tastes glorious, just as great wine should taste: crunchy pure and fresh fruit, high acidity, silky ripe tannins and nice balance. This is a triumphant wine, with a typical and classic blend for this great estate, and phenomenal length. It is a wine that the château can be proud of. Really elegant and one of our favourites, it’s a must-buy this year.

Blend: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc

Browse all the latest releases here and read more on Bordeaux 2015 here.