Monday, April 25, 2016

Bordeaux 2015 En Primeur - First Growths

Tasting Haut-Brion
I dove into Bordeaux En Primeur without having read any predictions, nor read any comments or scores throughout in order to maintain a clean slate. My goal is to share with you my own thoughts on all wines I've tasted. Without further ado, here is my take on the First Growths (sans Latour, which does not participate in En Primeur).

Margaux: Dark, concentrated cassis, black cherries with earth and a peppery lift on the finish. Assertive tannins will integrate with time, and are already being balanced by focused acidity and very ripe, fine fruit. There's a hint of vegetal green leaf and tobacco, which will also integrate and evolve. This is a regal, stately wine that is serious yet will be very generous with time. The mid palate is already beautifully expansive, opening with a bumper crop of cherries. An overall freshness and silkiness embodies the signature style of the château.

Haut-Brion: Elegant, concentrated perfume of candied cherry, violet, plum, bramble, with oak toast and slight green hints that will integrate. Very smooth texture with ripe tannins that swell greatly on the mid palate but will harmonize with the generous fruit, given time. Plums, cherries, raspberries, and toasted almonds delight on a very long finish. Beautiful potential.
Margaux 2015 in the cellar

Mouton Rothschild: Dense red and black cherries with vanilla and nutmeg; very fragrant and elegant on the nose. In the mouth, this is a powerful, muscular wine; it has dramatic acidity and ripe, assertive tannins with an earthy finish. Yet, one can feel the care of the winemaking in its balanced composition. It possesses a smooth quality and there is a delicacy of the fruit that lingers after the earthiness subsides. It will be fascinating to see how this evolves over time.

Lafite Rothschild: I shared my thoughts on Lafite earlier, but will include it here again. After tasting many big, unabashedly fruit-driven (and delicious) wines in the area, Lafite Rothschild was a refreshing departure. It is subtly fragrant, redolent of crushed violets. There is a delicacy and restraint that hints to a future blossoming. I found it very balanced and carefully made. It may well bloom with a poise and elegance uniquely its own, in a vintage with burgeoning ripe fruits.

In Summary:
At Mouton Rothschild's tasting room
As with the other wines I've had the pleasure to taste, these First Growths reflect the vintage conditions and embody their signature house styles. The ability to express one's own character while bringing the best aspects of the vintage is one of the most important factors I seek in a wine. It speaks to a judicious care in all aspects of grape growing and winemaking, and a striving to find that certain special quality that makes a wine lasting and unique. These First Growth wines have an incredible legacy, yet their houses have the same challenge that all quality-minded châteaux in Bordeaux have each year: to create wines to their high standards of excellence. The fruits of their labor for 2015 give us much to look forward to.  

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