Bordeaux 2015 is a great vintage, its balance reminds me of the 2005s, its approachability recalls the 2009s while the freshness and focus reminds me of 2010. The red wines are consistent across the board while the whites are less impressive and the sweet wines also less consistent. Overall though, this is an excellent year for Bordeaux.
It is not a surprise given the favorable weather conditions during the growing season where the drought was alleviated by just enough water in the later summer months to produce wonderfully concentrated wines. But the weather and especially the rain, was not the same in each region so there is some variation in quality among the different appellations. The two regions that really stood out for me in this vintage was Margaux and Pessac-Leognan; both regions received far less rain than the northern Medoc which is one factor in the explanation for their fabulous wines in this vintage.
For me, the hallmark of a great vintage is when the lesser-known properties simply labeled ‘Bordeaux’ with no specific appellation makes delicious, juicy wine. This year will be a go-to vintage for wine collectors as well as wine novices – if you are unsure what wine to order from a long list of Bordeaux chateaux, then decide on a price you are happy to spend and a random selection of Bordeaux from the 2015 vintage will likely provide you with a delicious wine. For great value 2015 Bordeaux, click here.
I would compare 2015 to 2005 in quality. This vintage has the added benefit, like the 2009, of being enjoyable even in its youth, which is a real bonus for wine lovers. Below are my top fifty 2015 Bordeaux:
1. Petrus, Pomerol
A seductive nose of violets, sweet spices and blackberries. A gorgeous Petrus that is subtle, generous and caresses the palate. Layers of cocoa beans, exotic spices mingle with plush, velvety tannins – there is a lot of upfront and mid palate sweetness in this wine but without any heaviness. The wine manages to be medium bodied despite being incredibly concentrated and intense. Lingering finish.
2. Chateau Margaux, Margaux
This vintage of Margaux has an amazing perfume of violets, cassis and layers of sweet spices. A seductive, powerful, intriguiing Margaux that has both structure as well as intense power. The tannins are silky and persistent with a very long finish. A typical blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon in this vintage.
3. Chateau Latour, Pauillac
Beautiful Latour that is very unique and expressive. Gone are the tightly wound tannins – this is an expressive, sweet, fruity Latour with layers of violets, spices and herbs. A gorgeous Latour. This is the first Latour that is completely biodynamic. A charming and harmonious Latour with a long finish. There is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. 13% alcohol.
4. Pavillon Blanc by Chateau Margaux, Margaux
An intense Pavillon Blanc that is focused and precise with amazing detailed flavors. Layers of gooseberry, nectarines and passionfruit that are exuberant on the nose and palate. This lovely white has wonderful layers of flavors, focused minerality and an amazing length. This selection is only 1/3 of the total yield and 10,000 bottles were made from the 12-hectare vineyard.
5. Chateau Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan
Ripe, generous and intensely concentrated with plush, velvety tannins and layers of earthy, dark berry flavors. This is a serious, complex Haut-Brion with sumptuous flavors – almost Napa-like in its ripeness. The alcohol this year is quite high with 14.9%. This is a wine that needs at least a decade in bottle.
6. Chateau Ausone, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
An exuberant, sweet, forward Ausone with layers of dark berry fruit, sweet spices and floral notes. The wine is charming, delicious now and not heavy although there is quite a firm backbone of ripe tannins in the background. A gorgeous Ausone that is surprising how open and accessible it is now. 50-50 Cab Franc and Merlot in this vintage with 85% new barrels used.
7. Vieux Chateau Certan, Pomerol
An attractive Pomerol with plush, velvety tannins and lovely sweet black fruit and spices. The flavors are fresh, lively and the finish is very long. The alcohol in this vintage is 14.6%, which is the highest ever for this chateau. The blend is 80% Merlot and 19% Cabernet Franc with 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines here are on average around 50 years old.
8. Chateau d’Yquem, Sauternes
A generous, unctuous Yquem with complex layers of dried mangos, apricots and honey. Fuller bodied than many other Sauternes in this vintage with good concentration, depth and mid palate density. There is 144 grams of residual sugar in this vintage, but one can barely feel it, the acidity is quite fresh and lively. A beautifully balanced Yquem.
9. Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan
Spicy and exuberant, La Mission in 2015 is flamboyant and expressive and simply delicious. The palate is layered, joyful and beautifully woven together – a blend of 58% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. An impressive wine that has great concentration and will be one of the vintages that ages well for many decades. 15.5% alcohol.
10. Chateau Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Leognan
This is a structured, gorgeous Haut-Bailly that is showing well even in its youth. A lush, generous red that is filled with lifted violet and cedar notes without any heaviness and incredibly freshness. Layers of spices, cedar and tobacco leaf flavors linger on the palate with a long finish.
11. Chateau Pavie, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
A generous, opulent, layered Pavie with an incredible intensity of complex flavors – mix of black berries, plums, cedar and sweet floral notes. There is a gentle character despite its size and detail. The wine is complex and quite powerful. Persistent, long finish. Impressive.
12. Chateau Cheval Blanc, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Exuberant and sexy nose with cedar, spices, cassis and blackberry fruit. Very sweet, upfront and aromatic. Layers of violets, sweet spices and both red and dark berries along with fine-grained tannins. The quality was so good, there is no Petit Cheval made in this vintage.
13. Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac
The nose is subtle – tobacco, cigars, earth – and quite restrained. The palate is more generous with dark berry fruit, fine grained, sumptuous tannins that although firm and high in quantity, seems gentle. A complex, focused Lafite that is quintessential in its delicate, layered expression; best after 10 years.
14. Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac
Sweet, opulent and quite forward for a first growth, this vintage of Mouton has charm and a wonderful approachability. The firm tannins and body is well structured but wrapped around ripe, sweet blackberry and plum fruit. A beautiful Mouton with charm and sweetness.
15. Chateau Leoville Las Cases, Saint-Julien
A great Las Cases with amazing intensity and power and immense concentration. Layers of dark berry fruit, cedar and spice with tobacco notes. The finish is long and persistent. A wine to cellar for 20-plus years.
16. Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Great intensity combines with elegance and lifted flavors of violets, cassis and sweet spices. A gorgeous wine with purity, freshness and long length. This vintage has 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot with a bit of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The alcohol is 13.6%.
17. Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien
Wonderfully aromatic with lovely layers of violets, delicate red flowers and vibrant red berries. The wine is lifted and fresh without any heaviness but at the same time in this vintage, there is great concentration and depth. An amazing wine with long length. Lovely fresh fruit, linear focus and great energy in this wine. 95% Cabernet and 5% Merlot.
18. Chateau Lafleur, Pomerol
This is a structured vintage for Lafleur with lovely depth and intense, layered flavors of earth, dark berries and spices. The concentration is impressive with an aromatic freshness and a long, lingering, minerally finish. This wine is mostly Merlot, 51%, and 49% Cabernet Franc.
19. Tertre Roteboeuf, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Gentle, sweet and opulent but without being overly mature or too sweet. A very powerful, concentrated vintage of Tertre Roteboeuf with great finesse and delicacy. One of the best Tertre Roteboeuf made over the past 10 years. Glorious expression of what Merlot and Cab Franc can offer in this vintage.
20. Chateau Brane-Cantenac, Margaux
Subtle, elegant, quietly powerful, this is one of the best Brane-Cantenacs I have tasted over the past decade. The wine is seamless, with lovely violet, cedar and cassis flavors and silky, dense tannins. A beautiful wine that has both restraint and power.
21. Chateau Palmer, Margaux
Subtle, exotic nose of savory middle eastern spices, violets and roses. A wonderful Palmer with both freshness and intensity – the flavors are intense, focused, very deep and complex. There is energy and freshness in this vintage with a wonderful balance and a long finish. A wine that combines power and finesse. The blend in this vintage is 44% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot.
22. Chateau Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
Delicate, lifted aromatics of violets and savory spices combine with an equally delicate and fine palate. The tannins are fine-grained and gentle with layers of precise flavors that linger on the palate. The wine has wonderful freshness, lifted flavors and a persistent finish. A fabulous Pontet Canet. This is the 11th year of biodynamics for the property.
23. Chateau Malescot Saint-Exupery, Margaux
A beautifully composed Malescot with layers of violets, cassis and sweet blackberry fruit. The nose is vibrant and lifted as well as the palate with silky tannins and a long finish. This is one of the property’s best vintages produced.
24. Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron, Pauillac
A glorious wine with great structure and amazing depth. One of the best vintages since 2010 with layers of blackberries, spices and cedar. A serious red with wonderful intensity and very long length. This wine will no doubt improve with time – a wine to lay down for decades and follow its evolution.
25. Chateau Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estephe
An exuberance of spices and plummy ripe fruit. The wine is detailed and rich but without heaviness. A round, plush Cos without weight and excess and a gentle mouthfeel. There is nice density and depth, and the tannins are well managed. Long length. 13.4% alcohol. 75% Cabernet in this blend.
26. Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, Pessac-Leognan
A gorgeous white with lovely layers of flavors – apricots, pomelo, star fruits and fresh herbs. The wine has both intensity and wonderful freshness and a long length. This is one of the top whites from Bordeaux in this vintage.
27. Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Leognan
A gorgeous Domaine de Chevalier that is layered, sumptuous and intense with plush tannins. Beautifully balanced, seductive and charming with a long finish. A wine that will be enjoyable young but also age for decades.
28. Chateau Rauzan-Segla, Margaux
A beautiful, detailed Rauzan-Segla that is among the best vintages they have produced since 2010. The epitome of elegance, this medium bodied red has silky tannins, subtle, detailed, precise flavors that linger on the palate. A wine for long term aging.
29. Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan
Beautiful, elegant red with lovely savory spices, dark berries and cedar. The wine is focused and detailed with lovely freshness. The blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and a bit of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. A gorgeous wine with lovely balance and lifted flavors that has a long life ahead.
30. Chateau La Conseillante, Pomerol
Generous, lush and full bodied with 14.5% alcohol (though it does not taste like such a high alcohol red). The wine has a lovely creamy, supple texture with attractive aromatics of violets, cedar and cassis. There is 81% Merlot and the rest is Cabernet Franc. Seamless and pure with gentle, balanced flavors ending with a long finish.
31. Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
A gorgeous Canon La Gaffeliere that is superb – going beyond what the quality of wine that they produced in 2010. Layered flavors of spices, herbs, dark berry fruit along with plush, ripe tannins and an amazing finish makes this one of the top St Emilions in this vintage. No doubt this wine will improve in bottle though it is delicious young.
32. Chateau Figeac, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Vibrant, fresh and filled with ripe cassis and blackberry fruit. Sweet, succulent flavors with firm tannins that are ripe and generous. Attractive, ready to enjoy young with finesse and layers of delicate flavors. 29% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc and 43% Cabernet Sauvignon.
33. La Mondotte, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
This is usually a big wine but in this vintage, the wine shows restraint and delicacy without any extraction or heaviness. A beautifully composed red with a long finish.
34. Chateau Kirwan, Margaux
Attractive perfume of violets and jasmine with a palate that is lifted and fresh. A beautiful Kirwan with lightness, elegance and balance. Tannins are silky yet firm with a very long finish. So delicious young, one can enjoy the wine from barrel.
35. Chateau Marquis d’Alesme, Margaux
A gorgeous Margaux with vibrancy, along with intense floral character and layers of complex flavors that linger on the palate. Beautifully made and balanced with great depth. One of the best Marquis d’Alesme ever made.
36. Chateau Larcis Ducasse, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Wonderful detail and charming flavors with lifted notes of cedar, violets and plums. The wine is intense but without any heaviness or weight – the flavors are precise and well defined. A gorgeous wine with great aging potential.
37. Chateau Monbousquet, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Seductive aromas of violets, roses and jasmine. It combines elegance with power and intensity with layers of firm, fine tannins with a very long length. This wine has great aging potential and will be best after ten years of aging in bottle.
38. Clos Fourtet, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Subtle, layered and quite a serious St Emilion red with cassis, earth and tobacco flavors. The palate is delicately layered and quite complex with spices and herbs that are surrounded by ripe, lush, firm tannins. A wine to cellar and follow as it slowly opens up with time.
39. Chateau Leoville Las Cases Le Petit Lion, Saint-Julien
Lovely nose of violets, tobacco and cedar with plush tannins on the palate. Gorgeous red with 40% Cabernet and old Merlot from 30-80 year old vines. Complex, layered and very long. One of the best vintages of Le Petit Lion I’ve tasted. This wine is made up of about 30% of the total yield.
40. Chateau Malartic Lagraviere, Pessac-Leognan
A vibrant, lifted red that has a lively core acid line running through it in this fairly dry, concentrated vintage. Beautifully composed with precise flavors and lovely detail – this winery is improving every vintage and should be closely followed, both for its lovely reds and well-made whites.
41. Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, Pessac-Leognan
A luscious, intense white that is unusual for this vintage in Bordeaux where the white wines were fairly light and forward. There is a core minerality and restraint here that is much appreciated and the gooseberry and star fruit flavors are carefully layered around the acidity. Long finish.
42. Chateau Giscours, Margaux
There is wonderful depth in this wine that can easily be overlooked because of its elegance and restraint. However, on the mid palate and length, there is power and wonderful layers of flavors with firm, ripe tannins. One of the best Giscours since 2010.
43. Pavillon Rouge by Chateau Margaux, Margaux
A structured, intense Pavillon Rouge with layers of tobacco, cedar and dark berry flavors. The wine is concentrated with great structure coming from 74% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Merlot. This is one of the strictest selections of Pavillon Rouge – making up only around 23% of the production.
44. Chateau Rauzan-Gassies, Margaux
A beautiful Rauzan-Gassies, the best that I have tasted over the past decade. Filled with lovely aromatics of cedar, violets and jasmine, the palate is equally attractive with silky, firm tannins and a long finish.
45. Chateau Lynch-Bages, Pauillac
Attractive aromatics of cedar, violets and cassis. The palate is sumptuous, generous and layered with dark berry flavors. Tannins are generous and well handled. A wonderful Lynch Bages with a fairly long finish.
46. Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
A dark, serious Montrose with firm, grippy tannins and a wonderful concentration of flavors. This is a dense red with elevated, ripe tannins. There is a spiciness and floral character in this vintage that is usually not present in Montrose this young. A subtle, restrained wine built for aging rather than drinking early – wait at least 8+ years.
47. Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Saint-Julien
Vibrant and modern in its aromatic profile with ripe blackberries and dark plum flavors – the palate is equally ripe and generous. This is one of the most intense Leoville Poyferres I have tasted young. Excellent aging potential, especially given its firm core structure.
48. Chateau L’Eglise-Clinet, Pomerol
Aromatic and floral with lively freshness. Flavors range from sweet plums and red berries to sweet spices and rose petals. Delicate as well as intense with a fairly long finish. Lovely Pomerol.
49. Chateau Belair-Monange, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Beautiful aromatics and wonderful precision in this wine – layers of floral notes, blackberries and savory spices. A gorgeous wine with the right balance of upfront, sweet, approachable flavors along with the firm structure and energy for long term aging. An impressive wine.
50. Chateau Talbot, Saint-Julien
A beautiful Talbot that is the best I tasted over the past decade, even better than the 2009 or 2010. Sumptuous, generous and layered with dark berry and ripe black plum flavors, this is a serious wine that will drink well young but age well over the next few decades.