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    Overview of Bordeaux 2015 vintage  / 2015 has been said to be another outstanding vintage after 2009 and 2010. I was in Bordeaux for the past two weeks to taste the En Primeur wines and have got some ideas about the vintage. Before going in depth into each region/ winery, I’d like to compare 2014 with 2015 vintage in general.

    2014 is a vintage that people may easily forget- not because of the challenging weather like 2013, but because of the quite different style of wine than normally expected Bordeaux ones. The weather of 2014 in general was on the other way round compared to 2015, that in my humble point of view, creates the differences but also similarities.

     

    How was the weather in 2014 and 2015?

    The summer was a bit dull and cool in Bordeaux in 2014, cloudy and rainy for most of the June and July. Only a few days were over 30 degrees. However from mid-August onwards, the weather turned totally different. Critics and winery owners were calling the August to mid-October the Indian summer in Bordeaux. The average temperature in September was around 27 degrees. Sun was shining for almost 2 months with barely any rains on the left bank (right bank suffered a bit more in September). Only quick showers came and went away during the period. This had absolutely saved the vintage to ensure the fruits were ripened with concentration during the harvest, with cool nights to give the beautiful acidity: most of the harvests were starting one week later than that of 2015. 

     

     

    2015 was a different story. Summer was very hot and dry in June and July. There was for example 47.6mm rainfall within 4 days after flowering in Medoc in June, and a total of only 22mm of rainfall in Saint-Emilion mainly in second half of July.  This gave perfect conditions for fruits to gain their concentration and avoid further vine growth during the growing period. Heavier rainfall started to come in August to irrigate the almost raisin-alike grapes and continued in early September with warm weather, providing the freshness, juiciness and acidity to the fruits. However the rainfall in Bordeaux has never been evenly distributed. The difference of rainfall mainly in August between regions resulted in larger deviation of the styles in this vintage. These deviations were quite easy to detect when tasting the wines and that will be discussed in the later part. Meanwhile, some wineries decided to harvest for red wines slightly earlier than normal years as the fruits were ripened enough. They wanted to keep the freshness in the wines without being over-ripened, over-powerful or tannic.

     

    What were the styles in 2014 and 2015?

    In general the style of 2014 reds was elegant, fine and red fruit driven. The wines were silky, fresh, pure, long finishing and with good acidity. They can be drunk young but with aging potential. There were many wines that were already very ready to drink at Primeur. 2014 red was for sure an ‘outstanding-second’ and almost reaching the first grade if quality of vintages are divided into 3 grading. It reminded people of 2008 and 2001. For the white and sweet, they were very fresh and aromatic with a lot of acidity. Botrytis (noble rots) were well appeared in October and 2014 was a year for white and sweet. It was a stunning vintage for long aging potential for white and sweet. Some wineries compared the sweet of 2014 to 2001.

     

     

     

    In 2015, the red wines were generally more powerful, firmed structure and more tannic. A mixture of ripened and intense red and black fruit can be detected but with freshness due to high acidity. Right bank was generally producing a bit higher alcohol compare to the left bank. 2015 reds were meant for aging but some can be drunk young. There were wineries producing really big wines but many were still very elegant- tannin is sufficient but too much, and in a round and silky way. 2015 red would be no doubt at first grading but it will not be as like the super vintage of 2009 and 10. The style would be closer to 2005 in my opinion. How about the white and sweet? Grapes were fully beneficial from the hot summer to get really ripened. Sauvignon blanc and semillon were very fruity, rich and sweet. White wines were softer in aroma and you can barely find the sharp gooseberry grassy smell from sauvignon blanc. There were better fruit and sugar structure compare to 2014 due to the richness but wines still maintained a balanced acidity. For sweet wine, they were extremely rich and luscious because botrytis were formed nicely in the juicy grapes by the September rains.

     

    Winners of the vintage

    As mentioned above, white and sweet wines were the winners of 2014. If I need to compare the vintage, I like both generally more than 2015, but I particularly like some from 2015 as they had been doing a great job. Some of the 2015 sauternes were too sweet without enough acidity to balance the heavy body and richness. You can see from the tasting reports later for all the comparisons.

     

    Red wines were a bit complicated. Cabernets were the winners in 2014 and merlot was also good for 2014. However, right bank suffered a heavy rain in 2014 September which affected a bit the quality. St. Estephe was the best region from my taste of 2014, and followed by Pauillac.  2015 was again a totally different story. St. Estephe and northern Pauillac were having the heaviest rainfall in August and September. They were ‘a bit difficult’ in the production compare to other regions. Merlot and Cabernet Franc were no doubt the winners which enjoyed the whole summer sunshine for its full ripening. Therefore, regions using a bit higher percentage of merlot were generally more expressive and outstanding in 2015- namely Pomerol, St. Emilion and many of the Margaux wineries. Cabernet sauvignon was pretty good and elegant but merlot got the eye-catch of the vintage. Nevertheless, the richness and ripeness of merlot did give some adverse effects to the wines. Tannin were not handle well enough in some of the wineries because of over-ripeness that created somehow over-powerful wines with astringent tannin and lack of balance. 

     

    One thing to notice, a lot of wineries had reduced the production percentage of Grand Vin in 2015 vintage. On the one hand the harvest and general yield of grapes were high in the year, they were on the other hand pickier in the quality of grapes to be selected into the Grand Vin. The quality of second wines for this vintage were wonderful because some of the grapes could already be classified to Grand Vin in other vintages. In short, 2015 was also a good vintage for second wines of many wineries.

     

     

     Detailed report from each region and wines I have tasted will be released very soon.

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    My Today

    2015 Bordeaux Report- Margaux Success

    Margaux region enjoyed the best weather in the left bank in 2015 vintage. They had similar weather as like Pomerol and Saint-Emilion, and didn't get that much rainfall as like in northern Medoc. Grapes were fully ripened with plenty of concentration, complexity and freshness. Unfortunately, I did not have time to go to UGCB tasting this year and so the number of wines tasted this year especially in Medoc regions were not as many as others. Here is the list of nice Margaux wines that I tasted.

    Chateau Brane-Cantenac: Concentrated mixture of dark and red plum, cherry. A lot of complexity in the structure and backbone together with round ripe tannins. Acidity was gradually coming out at the back of the palate which also gave a long finish to the wine. Rich, elegant and very fresh. This is my favourite Brane-Cantenac vintage so far! 94-95+

    Chateau Cantenac Brown: The sample was a bit sleeping and subtle. Quite integrated red and black fruit, medium bodied with quite ripe tannin. A long live wine that needs time to open up. 92-94

    Chateau Dufort Viviens: Rich ripe red fruits, liquorice, hint of oak and toast, medium bodied and medium long length with quite a lot of tannin. A bit sleeping still. 91-93

    Chateau d'Issan: Intense ripe red fruit, very concentrated and rich, a lot of freshness can be detected. Floral and elegant, really aromatic and silky. Long finish. Opulent, complex and feminine. It was very fine and enjoyable, is one of the best d'Issan I tasted. 94+

     

     

     Blason d'issan: It is the second wine of d'Issan and is basically a mini-d'Issan with a bit lighter tannin and aimed to drink young. Very fresh and easy drinking. Same as d'Issan, in very elegant red berries driven style. 91+

    Chateau Lascombes: Ripe blackberries, black fruit with liquorice, ripe tannin and medium full body, fresh and elegant with a hint of oak. It was more 'dark' and deep compare to 2014 vintage which was red fruit driven. 2014 was more fruity and fresher. 91-93

    Chateau Margaux: Very concentrated ripe red and dark plum, berries, cherry, sweet spices, violet. Extremely floral and perfume. Very long finish with never-ending acidity and silky tannin. Oaky, vanilla and toasty flavour can be caught at the end of the palate. It is a perfect mix of power, structure and elegancy for this wine. A refined, layered, delicated and sophisticated masterpiece as the final vintage of Paul Pontallier. He will be truly missed when we talk about and drink Margaux 2015 in the future. This is my best pick of Left Bank and one of the Top 5 of this 2015 vintage. 98-99+

     

     

    Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux: A lot of concentrated raspberries, red cherry came first at the aroma and palate, then turn to darker berries in palate. Fresh, round and silky. A charming second wine. 92-93+

    Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux: Creamy, vanilla, slightly oak, hint of toast, some white flowers, apple, some white currants and lemon. Very fresh and very good acidity, medium long finish. However I love the 2014 vintage more for Blanc. 92+

    Chateau Marquis d'Alesme: Dark fruit driven. Pretty oaky, lots of tannin and medium long in length. A powerful Margaux region wine. 89-91

    Chateau Marquis de Terme: Quite intense dark fruit, blackberries with pretty high level of tannin and acidity. Medium body and length with firm structure. 89-91

    Chateau Palmer: Combination of ripe dark and red fruit, liquorice, dark plum peel, raisin. Intense, deep, subtle, very fresh acidity and ripe tannin. Long finish, elegant and in harmony. The wine was so integrated that cannot feel the high alcohol (14%) at all. This is my second favourite for Margaux appellation wines. 96+

    Alter Ego: A very delicate second wine. Opulent red and dark berries, very sweet and fruity in palate. Elegant, fresh and polished. Easy and earlier drinking for sure comparing to Palmer but this second label was doing a very good job! 93-95

    Chateau Prieure Lichine: Rich ripen dark fruit and berries in aroma, but with more red berries and plum in the palate. Hint of toast can be found. Medium body with lots of freshness. Elegant and nice! 91-93

    Chateau Rauzan Gassies: Plenty of fruits, intense red and dark cherry, ripe tannin and slightly oaky. Quite easy to drink. 90-91

     

    Chateau Rauzan-Segla: Floral and aromatic. Fresh and vibrant with lots of red berries, red plum and yet not over powerful. The wine was pure and clean with fineness, complexity, high acidity and velvet tannin. Medium long length. I just loved this wine. 94-95+

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    Me

    Born and grew up in Hong Kong and now living in Finland. Started the road to wines six years ago by accompanying one of my best friends to study WSET. Since then, wines have been filling up all kinds of moments of my life, for sharing, happiness, sadness, celebrations, and memories.

    For me, drinking wines is an attitude and lifestyle. I enjoy to have a glass of wine serving with food. In my opinion, every bottle of wine has its own life no matter how much does it cost. There are tons of work behind the scene: the soil, vinification, viticulture, weather of that vintage, the harvest time, etc. I love to think about all these processes when I taste a wine and I believe they should be well respected, even if some wine styles may not be something I am in favour of.

     

    I love pinot noir and aromatic grapes like riesling and gewurztraminer. I am also a fan of sweet white and fortified wines. I started to be freelancer in writing about wines and tastings in 2014 mainly in English. I will also write in Chinese in the future as there are more requests for the language from Asia nowadays.

    Apart from wines, I also like drinking spirits at leisure especially whisky and Armagnac which gives another experience to me. 

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    Pro Me

    About www.viiniwinnie.com

    This website was started in February 2016 and is based in Finland. It aims to promote wine and whisky culture (with responsibly drinking) through this page. Winnie is more than happy to share her knowledge and experiences to readers with the unique background and combination of East meets West. She introduces good quality wines and whiskies through reviews, to provide readers wise selections in the market.

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    Digital Me

    Winnie has been active in wine and whisky industry in both Hong Kong and Finland. She is currently a freelance editor in HK based lifestyle Merci Magazine mainly for wine, whisky and coffee. She was a wine educator for adult training when she was in Hong Kong.

    She is a deputy board member in one of the biggest whisky clubs in Finland, Suomen Mallaswhiskyseura. She was invited as the whisky judge by USIGE (2016), the biggest annual whisky event in Finland. Winnie has also expertise in international sales, marketing and branding. 

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

Winnie Wing-Yin Ng , Wine Writer (Finland)  had a tasting of  44 Wines  from  37 Producers 

"Now is time to consolidate all the reviews from the En Primeur tasting after spending two weeks Bordeaux tasting wines from different regions. I will first write about the Right Bank which is said to be the winner of the vintage because of the beautifully ripened Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and of course because of lower rainfall compared to the Left Bank during the harvest season.

Pomerol is a true beauty in 2015 with consistence among the top wineries, possessing very fine tannin and freshness in the combination of just-at-the-right-time-ripened grapes. Even the alcohol level was comparatively high, most of the wines I tasted that didn't give me a strong kick of that. I didn't find any over extraction or over ripened situation in most of the wines. "

11m 13d ago

Cheval Blanc 2015, Château Cheval Blanc
Château Ausone 2015, Château Ausone
Chapelle Ausone 2015, Château Ausone
Vieux Chateau Certan 2015, Vieux Château Certan
Arômes de Pavie 2015, Château Pavie
Pavie 2015, Château Pavie
Latour-à-Pomerol 2015, Château Latour-à-Pomerol
Le Carillon d'Angélus 2015, Château Angelus
Château Angelus 2015, Château Angelus
Château Canon-La-Gaffelière 2015, Château Canon-La-Gaffelière
Château La Fleur-Pétrus 2015, Château Lafleur-Pétrus
Trotanoy 2015, Château Trotanoy
Château Pavie-Decesse 2015, Château Pavie-Decesse
Château Troplong-Mondot 2015, Château Troplong-Mondot
Château Grand-Mayne 2015, Château Grand-Mayne
Petit-Figeac 2015, Château de Figeac
Château de Figeac 2015, Château de Figeac
Duo de Conseillante 2015, Château La Conseillante
Château La Conseillante 2015, Château La Conseillante
Château Gazin 2015, Château Gazin
Château Clinet 2015, Château Clinet
Chateau Monbousquet 2015, Château Monbousquet
Angélique de Monbousquet 2015, Château Monbousquet
La Mondotte 2015, La Mondotte
Chateau Certan de May 2015, Château Certan de May
Beau Sejour-Becot 2015, Château Beausejour-Becot
Chateau Bellevue-Mondotte 2015, Château Bellevue-Mondotte
Château La Graves à Pomerol 2015, Châteaux La Grave
Quinault l'Enclos 2015, Quinault l'Enclos
Le Dragon de Quintus 2015, Château Quintus
Quintus 2015, Château Quintus
Château Lagrange 2015, Château Lagrange Pomerol
Château Faugères 2015, Château Faugères
Château de Pressac 2015, Château de Pressac
Château Villemaurie 2015, Château Villemaurie
Chäteau La Clotte 2015, Château La Clotte
Clos de l'Oratoire 2015, Château Clos de l'Oratoire
Château Soutard 2015, Château Soutard
Château Moulin-Saint-Georges 2015, Château Moulin-Saint-Georges
Château Lusseau 2015, Château Lusseau
Clos du Clocher 2015, Château Clos du Clocher
Château La Confession 2015, Château La Confession
Château Puy Blanquet 2015, Château Puy Blanquet
Château Péby Faugères 2015, Château Péby Faugères

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