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Bordeaux 2015 Médoc: A ‘modern’ vintage full of charm, says Steven Spurrier

Bordeaux 2015 wines in the Médoc 'will have a big place in people's hearts' says Decanter consultant editor Steven Spurrier after en primeur tasting week.

Spurrier praised the fruit dominant, modern style of many Bordeaux 2015 Médoc wines, in an interview on his initial impression of the vintage to Decanter.com.

‘The whole of Médoc has done very well and my line is Bordeaux is back,’ he said, speaking at Château Belgrave, where estate owner and negociant Dourthe held its primeur tasting.

A ‘modern’ style

‘There’s a great difference in my view between the modern style, which means making a lot of the fruit, and the old-fashioned style which is still a bit rustic.

‘It’s not like Bordeaux 10 years ago, when tannins could be hard as nails. In 2015, the fruit dominates the tannins and the acidity.’

It’s not 2010, but it will ‘have a big place in people’s hearts’

Spurrier stressed that he didn’t feel the 2015 en primeur wines were quite at level of the greatest vintages so far this century.

‘In hindsight, I think this vintage will be viewed less good than 2005, 2009 and 2010 but only fractionally less good.’ He drew comparison with 2001, adding ‘everyone says it’s less good than 2000, but everyone loves drinking it. This 2015 vintage will have a big place in people’s hearts.’

Best appellations

While Spurrier said there were great wines across the board, calling 2015 ‘quite a homogenous vintage’, he picked out Margaux and St-Estèphe for special praise.

‘Margaux was the driest and therefore had the best shot,’ he said. ‘I’m very impressed with Margaux. It has very beautiful florality.’

He added, ‘I’ve been more and more impressed by St-Estèphe. The fruit in St-Estèphe is very good. St-Julien and Pauillac of course set a high benchmark, but if I had to choose just two Médoc  appellations [in 2015] I’d go Margaux and St-Estèphe.

A good year for second wines

Not everybody likes the term ‘second wine’, but many of the large estates have done a good job with labels outside of their grand vin – potentially offering opportunities to consumers, depending on release prices.

‘With very few exceptions, the second wines are very, very good. The great châteaux have made a very good selection for the second wine. So if I’m a consumer and I can’t afford a first growth – and I can’t – then I’d buy a second wine.’

When to drink

Some of the minor wines will be ready to drink in around three years, he believes – though he said there was also strong agening potential for the best wines.

‘The modern Bordeaux is going to be drunk young. But, as the great [and late] Paul Pontallier of Château Margaux said last year, if a wine is good enough to be drunk young, then it’s good enough to be drunk all of the time.’

Buying 2015 en primeur

Much will depend on the release prices, with many expecting some form of increase on the Bordeaux 2014 en primeur wines.

But, if the value is there, Spurrier said he would probably be in the market.

‘I bought 2014, and I bought more expensive wines than I would normally buy. I’m trying to persuade myself to step out of this vintage because I’m getting older and I don’t think I should be buying Bordeaux vintages. But, I’ll probably buy a few.’

Read more first impressions of the Bordeaux 2015 vintage on Decanter..com

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