I’ll tell you what the big deal is – this is clearly a vintage to rival the already-legendary 2010.
The Association de Grand Crus Classés de Saint-Emilion held its annual wine tasting yesterday at Paris’s Shangri-La Hotel. Nearly all of the 63 producers present were pouring their 2010’s side-by-side with their 2015’s. That’s how bright and shiny this vintage is and how confident the winemakers and estate owners are about showing their babies up against the last crowned millésime. In certain cases, such as Château Chauvin, where their 2010’s were sold out, they poured their ’09’s, another vintage on the history books.
A Brief Re-cap of A Few St. Emilion Grands Crus Classés Estates
Château Laroze – An estate that dates back to 1610, whose château was built in 1884 by the great-grandmother of the gentleman pouring the wine, this wine has a Cab Franc profile though its majority, 65% is still Merlot. Up at the top of St. Emilion, just this side of Pomerol, these are wines to buy, cellar and enjoy in good time. laroze.com
Château Grand Corbin – Unbelievably this 2015 is something already deliverable. That is one of the most outstanding features of this vintage, that in large part these wines are already approachable. No need to try to project 5 or even 10 years into the future to predict what they will become. They already are. Here at this estate you’ll find exceptional maturity they credit in part to tailored harvesting, plenty of sun, ripe fruit… In two words, rich, powerful. Their 2010, if you can still find any, has that nice “torrifié” element to it, in a roasted dark coffee bean way. grandcorbin.com
Château Destieux – Another winner, expect to find their 2015 showing hints of licorice as your tastebuds wrap themselves around a mouthful. Here they poured their 2008 as complement, whose full frontal tannins say drink me now – with a nice thick grilled steak. vignoblesdauriac.com
Château Chauvin – Only the second vintage for this new owner and she’s lucked into an extraordinary year. All the better for her and her daughter, Julie, who is just taking over the reins of marketing and sales. They poured their 2009 along with the mature, but not overly mature 2015. No comparison to draw given that the winemaker and technical director are now both new, too. chateauchauvin.com
Château Grand Corbin-Despagne In the family since 1812 and cultivating vineyards that date back to the 14th c. this 7th generation viticulurist is rightfully proud about his 2015’s.They cultivate organic vineyards, since 2004 when they first started in this direction. Up against their 2009, whose silky tannins show this classic predominantly Merlot blend to its best, you can easily see how the fruity, balanced, elegance of their 2015 will evolve its tannins. grand-corbin-despagne.com
Château Fonroque – One of the great St. Emilion chateaux even among the greats, owner Alain Moueix has been devoted to organic, and more specifically bio-dynamic vineyard cultivation, since before it was even fashionable. This care and delicacy of the handling of each single grape shows in his wines. For the 2009 poured alongside the inevitable superstar-to-be 2015, expect more pronounced tannins. For 2015, it’s already a silky balanced magic potion.
In the words of Mr. Moueix, Chairman of the Association of St.-Emilion Grands Crus Classés:
With 56 Chateaux, the Association of Grands Crus Classés of St. Emilion is wholly representative of the various terroirs in which the Grands Crus Classés are implemented, thus encompassing all the wealth and complexity of the St.-Emilion area: southern slopes, plateau, northern slopes and gravelly areas.
Together, these properties make up a surface of about 800 hectares which represent 90% of the total surface area of the Grands Crus Classés.
“Saint-Emilion, nectar des Dieux” – King Louis XIV
In sum, when purchasing St. Emilion, anything from 2015 is going to do well by you. It’s a vintage that, remarkably, you will be able to drink young and you will be able to cellar it for the standard of great Bordeaux, of 5, 10 even 25 years and longer.
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