The first major producer to release their 2015 is Pontet-Canet. When we tasted the 2015 Pontet-Canet from barrel, it felt like a combination of the plush, rich fruit of the 2009, the sensational precision of the 2010 and the density of the excellent 2005 – but with the extra vineyard character as expressed through their committed biodynamic approach. Neal Martin rates the 2015 very closely to this grand duo (his 94-96 compares to 95 for the 2009 and 94 for the 2010). In addition it receives 97-98 from James Suckling and 95-98 from Antonio Galloni.
As such the 2015 really stands shoulder to shoulder with these previous, brilliant vintages.
We had a raft of releases this morning, with some value to be had amongst the collection.
One of the most interesting of the day is Quinault L’Enclos at £235. This was purchased by Cheval Blanc in 2008 and since then the same care and attention has been lavished on the vineyards – in fact they were certified fully organic in 2012. They have created a more restrained style for the wine with less use of new oak and a fresher, purer fruit character. The wine is dramatically improved from its previous style and really gives a mini taste of Cheval Blanc – and with no Petit Cheval made this year, allied with the recent price rises for the Grand Vin, this might be a smart buy.
Prieure-Lichine (£295) hit the spot for James Suckling who called it the "Greatest wine in the history of the estate." Jancis Robinson was also a fan awarding it 17/20.
Today also sees the first releases from Famille Vauthier of Ausone fame. We are always big fans of the St. Emilion Grand Cru Moulin St Georges, which offers a forward, smoky, supple taste of the Ausone style at a fraction of the price – this year it looks pretty good value at £245. Also available is their entry-level Fonbel which gets 92-93 from James Suckling and looks a bargain at just £135.
The ‘value’ wines from Vignobles von Neipperg have arrived with some very good scores in the bank.
Clos l’Oratoire is perhaps the best known, with 91-93 from Neal Martin and a massive 95-96 from James Suckling. For the quality it’s good value at £280 – however drinkers can find the well-rated 2012, 2010 and 2009 in the market at a similar price.
The excellent D’Aighuilhe from the high-performing Castillon region has done very well in 2015, being rated as one of Jancis’ ‘GV’ or good value wines. At just £160 it has some impressive comments from across the board: “This is a very fine Côtes de Castillon” (NM); “This is so excellent” (JS); “Lively and savoury. Lots to enjoy.” (JR).