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Bordeaux 2015: ‘flashes of brilliance’ says Martin

The 2015 vintage has some “profound” wines but it is far from perfect, says The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin, who has dished out a clutch of potential 100-pointers.


Just six wines from the vintage have been given an initial rating that includes the sought-after ‘100’ score.

Following the general consensus of the vintage three of the wines – Petrus, Vieux Château Certan and Canon – are from the Right Bank, Château Margaux (recently voted ‘wine of the vintage’ in Liv-ex’s merchant survey) and Haut-Brion were the only reds from the Left Bank so scored and Yquem also received the potential for top marks in what is a “stupendous” vintage for Sauternes said Martin.

Although he remarked in his overview that the vintage showed “flashes of brilliance” and that appellations “upped their game” and had made “profound” wines, others had clearly had “victory snatched from their hands”.

He wrote: “The general level of quality is high, however, this is not a vintage of averages. It is an undulating landscape of highs and yes, the occasional low.”

Pomerol and Saint Emilion came in for particular praise with the former apparently boasting a “clutch of potentially astonishing wines”.

Noting that, once again, Saint Emilion was bound to be divisive with trade and consumers either loving or hating the ripeness and power but many did not “bellow their opulence”.

Likewise, he said some Pomerols had fallen into the trap of going “blockbuster” but that these were few and far between and those with high proportions of Cabernet Franc had an extra string to their bow.

Margaux, he said, has produced some of the finest wines of the Left Bank while he also exhorted Bordeaux fans new and old to “wake up to the joys of Pessac-Léognan” which also contains some of the top wines of the rive gauche.

Saint Julien performed “admirably”, Pauillac did not “grab headlines” (much as that may annoy some owners why should Pauillac “do all the heavy lifting”?) and Saint-Estèphe had some “smart wines in the making” but that the late heavy rains also meant the appellation’s wines were probably “denied the heights of others”.

Having been handed the reins for Bordeaux by Robert Parker recently, it is easy to forget that Martin has been in charge of TWA’s Sauternes coverage for almost a decade.

His summary of the appellation best describes his view of the wines in 2015: “They are fabulous. They may well be ignored. But they are still fabulous.”

Martin’s extensive report and full scores can be found here and how is scores compare to other critics and commentators such as Jancis Robinson MW, James Molesworth etc can be found here.

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