So what of the style of the wines? There are lots which impress, that’s for sure. Freshness is a hallmark of this vintage, and the wines with concentration of fruit, precision and carefully judged grainy tannins are of a truly excellent quality. The Clarets of 2015 have been described as “Modern Classics” by many of the winemakers and we think this is a very accurate description.
The 2015 vintage is not a Merlot or Cabernet year. It is also not a Right or Left Bank vintage. Some great wines have been produced from all appellations – and some not too great wines as well.
In glowing terms, we used the following descriptors most often for the 2015s: charm, elegance, finesse, concentration, silky grainy tannins, freshness, beautiful spice, long persistent finish, underbelly of power, pace, harmony, structured complexity, multi-layered ripe and juicy fruit.
These characteristics make it a rather attractive vintage. In contrast to the wines of 10, 15, 20 years ago and more, the wines show a lot of ripe, juicy, fleshy fruit, and can appear very approachable –even at a young age and when tasted en primeur from barrel. The old-fashioned style was to go heavy on prominent tannins and high acidity: this vintage combines the best aspects of both, creating harmony and beautiful balance – hence the description as a modern classic.
The petits châteaux will be ready to drink five years from the vintage, but a lot of the best wines will be excellent well beyond that and into the next 20 or 30 years.
It is not possible to find a completely comparable vintage for 2015. It offers some of the best characteristics of a number of other vintages. However, it certainly sits just beneath the greats of the last 20 years (2000, 2005, 2009 and 2010) and the rest.
We found the greatest consistency of very good wines in Margaux, St Estèphe, Pomerol and Pessac-Léognan. However, there were excellent wines from all other appellations too including Pauillac, St Julien, St Emilion and the rest of the Médoc.
Read about the white wines from 2015.