Our second day of tasting took us back to the Left Bank and first up the UGC tasting at Gruaud Larose. Another strong set of wines, though St Julien, more than any of the other appellations, showed the most diversity in style. All the wines very valid, wonderful expressions, just different. Highlights were Château Gloria, a generous, fine and precise wine; Leoville Barton a firmer, stronger structured bold wine with perfect balance; Gruaud Larose with amazing length, balance and polish; Branaire Ducru opulent, exotic and structured.
Next up was the UGC tasting at Château Citran and the Haut-Médoc, Listrac-Médoc and Moulis-en-Médoc. Overall the vintage was of excellent quality; there are plenty of wines from these areas that will represent very good value and make wonderful options for midterm cellaring; Château Fonréaud, Château Fourcas Dupré, Château Poujeaux and Château Cantermerle stood out, Château Tour Du By not far behind them.
Then it was on to Margaux; spoilt for choice here, so many great wines. I particularly enjoyed Château Giscours, Château Malescot St-Exupéry and Château Lascombes.
Château Margaux was a visit of mixed emotion. Paul Pontallier sadly passed away recently, the Margaux team putting on a very brave face. Château Margaux 2015 is exceptional, so much to say about this great wine; as is always the case with Margaux, it’s not about the power. The sensational quality of this wine creeps up on you; it is expansive and, just when you thought you’d experienced it all, the acidity is like the accelerator is pushed to the ground, driving the exceptionally long finish. The tannins can’t go without mention; so ripe at first you barely notice them, then you note that the concentration of the fruit is held together with something.
Onto the glorious Château Pichon Baron, where we were treated to all of their properties: Château Pibran, Château Petit Village, Château Pichon Baron of course and Suduiraut. All very good, Tourelles de Longueville is excellent this year and this, now the third tasting of Suduiraut for us, confirmed yet again that it has to be one of, if not, the sweet wine of the vintage.
Last Château for the day was at the top of the Médoc in St-Estèphe, Cos d’Estournel. The weather conditions during 2015, particularly the heat in July, was a little too much for some of the vineyard sites at Cos; this resulted in severe selection and a reduction in the production this year. Les Pagodes de Cos benefited from this, receiving this year some of the Merlot that did not make it into Cos. Cos itself is very good; a different style of Cos, less forward and structured than in previous years, it’s a good change.
The final act for the day was the Ban du Millésime – the celebration of the vintage. A super dinner in the centre of Bordeaux; a great opportunity and excuse to drink older Bordeaux, including for us a 1983 Lafite, a nice way to finish the day. Liz Wheadon | Bordeaux, France.