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2015 Bordeaux en primeur tasting

May 30, 2016

Thanks to the generosity of M. Christophe Cazaux-Maleville of the Vintage Club, I was invited to the first ever en primeur tasting of selected chateaux of 2015 Bordeaux in Singapore held at the Tower Club, 27 May 2016. The vintage of 2015 has been touted as the best of the current decade after 2010, marked by early flowering and fruit set in June followed by very fine dry conditions in July, average rainfalls in August and, again, warm days and cool nights in September (with the exception of the Northern Medoc) that allowed full ripening of the grapes before harvesting took place under excellent conditions. Though not quite as homogenous as the very best vintages (2005, 2009), experts have commented that most of the clarets of 2015 possess the structure and elegance of the best years though with less power. Certainly, in my tasting of the limited line-up, all the wines (already bottled as the finalised blend) were already highly accessible, rounded and generous in aroma and fullness without any jarring edges, some being distinctly feminine and elegant although one has to be mindful that these wines will actually spend another year or more in barrel before bottling takes place in 2018.

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Ch Pape Clement blanc. Bouquet of grassy elements and morning dew. Excellent presence on the palate, generous in lifted floral notes with traces of sweet, well-integrated acidity and understated minerality.

Ch Fombrauge. Fresh oak and earthy tones dominate on the nose, rounded on the palate with ripe dark fruits, wild berries and traces of vanillin, slightly stern, finishing on a minty note.

Ch Pape Clement. Rather restrained on the nose where there are notes of barley and grassy elements. Rounded, dry and fairly rich in mocha and dark berries, showing good definition and linearity, developing further tension and structure over time from the excellent acidity and well-integrated tannins.

Ch La Tour Carnet. Dark roses and raspberries on the nose along with morning dew and earthy tones. Medium-bodied, smooth and harmonious with ripe tannins and fine acidity, rather high-toned and somewhat narrow in spectrum.

Ch Clos Haut-Peyreguey blanc. Sweet lemongrass and fresh morning dew dominate. Very generous and ample on the palate with controlled sweetness and fine acidity. Lengthy finish. Highly attractive.

Ch Olivier blanc. Clear citrus and grassy elements with a certain lightness, fairly generous and well-integrated with fine acidity and a trace of sweetness.

Ch Olivier. An abundance of earthiness and heated gravel on the nose, displaying very good concentration on the palate with ripe sweet tannins and understated acidity. Harmonious but short at this stage.

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Ch Beychevelle. Highly lifted with floral notes, fresh roses and camphor. Fairly full with excellent concentration, layering and acidity with traces of grassy elements that doesn’t detract. Feminine, elegant and structured without calling attention to itself. Highly successful with great potential here. This wine was the highlight of the tasting.

Ch Beauregard. Gentle with an abundance of floral notes. Rounded, smooth and generous with excellent depth, understated richness and acidity, ending in velvety finish. Pomerol has been blessed in this vintage. Excellent.

Ch Lafon Rochet. Consistent with growing conditions of this vintage, this wine of the Northern Medoc seems rather shut on the nose with a narrow spectrum of cooked meat and ripe wild berries with sweet tannins and crisp acidity without much depth.

Ch Labegorce. A perfumed bouquet of floral characters and camphor, leading to predominant red fruits and mulberries, rather fruit forward in balance with a gentle elegance and lovely acidity, rounded and structured, finishing with some persistence. This will be a most astute buy.

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Ch Marquis D’Alesme. From the same management as Ch Labegorce, this Margaux is distinctly feminine with floral characters of rose petals, sweet raspberries and violets, replete with 10% petit verdot that added further depth and dimension, medium-full with fresh acidity that’s very well-integrated. Very lovely.

Ch de Lamarque. Earthy tones, wild berries and wheat. Forward in fruit balance. Ample and rounded with understated acidity, just a tad short.

Ch Laroque. Rounded with a soft fragrance, good linearity, concentration and acidity with traces of sweet.

Ch Guiraud. An abundance of apricot, nectarine and peaches of controlled sweetness and intensity, medium-bodied with good acidity and presence, finishing on a gentle note of tropical fruits, not at all overbearing. Very fine.

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