Some vintages are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. 2015, widely touted as the best Bordeaux harvest since back to back “vintages of the century” in 2009 and 2010, combines elements of the first and third of these.
The late pickers – Pavie, Troplong- Mondot, Tetre Roteboeuf, Beauséjour-Bécot, Valandraud, Jonathan Maltus and Fleur Cardinale among others – made no attempt to dissemble about their harvest dates. For them, 2015’s dry conditions were a godsend.
Le Dôme, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2015
(14.8%; 80CF, 20Me)
There are very few wines in Bordeaux with as much Cabernet Franc as Le Dôme, and the freshness and leafy, violet-tinged perfume are gloriously apparent here. Grassy and elegant (despite the high alcohol), it’s got plenty of tannin and fruit weight but finishes with remarkable zip. Drink: 2022-35
Vieux Château Mazerat, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2015
(14.5%; 65Me, 35CF)
Old vine Cabernet Franc and Merlot are a winning combination in what Jonathan Maltus regards as his best vineyard. Serious, dense and well structured, with compact, concentrated tannins, masses of blackberry and damson fruit, a hint of spice and a chalky finish.
Les Astéries, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2015
(14.8%; 83Me, 17CF)
This tends to be the freshest and “most European” of Jonathan Maltus’ wines, and that’s the case in 2015. Made from his oldest vines, grown on thick clay over limestone soils, it’s a triumph: refreshing, nuanced and bright, with fine, chalky tannins and succulent black fruits. Not cheap, but worth it. Drink: 2022-35
Le Pontet, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2015
(14.7%; 85Me, 15CF)
One of three single vineyard wines from Jonathan Maltus, all of them on limestone, this is intense and highly perfumed with blueberry and blackberry fruit and notes of Asian spice. Oaky and powerful, it needs considerable time in bottle to reach its peak. Drink: 2022-30
Le Carré, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2015
(14.8%; 85Me, 15CF)
Made as a stand alone wine since 2005 (it used to go into Château Laforge) this is ripe, but not over-ripe. It handles its 80% new oak with ease, showing notes of plum, dark cherry and cinnamon and firm, but well rounded tannins. The limestone freshness kicks in on the finish.
Le Nardian, Bordeaux Blanc Sec, 2015
(13.5%; 60SB, 20Se, 20Mu)
Formerly known, Prince-style, as Clos Nardian, Jonathan Maltus’ blend is delicious in 2015. White pepper, grapefruit and vanilla spice are complemented by pithy, lemon zest acidity and a leesy, creamy texture. The 20% Muscadelle brings extra complexity. Drink: 2017-21
Château Laforge, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2015
(14.7%; 92Me, 8CF)
Made from the best blocks of Château Teyssier, this combines three different terroirs, according to Jonathan Maltus. It’s a plush, dense, late-picked style with lashings of oak complemented by ripe plum, fig and bramble fruit flavours. Drink: 2020-25
Château Teyssier, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2015
(14.5%; 70Me, 30CF)
Full review here: http://www.timatkin.com/reports/2015-bordeaux-special-report