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Event: John Stimpfig’s tasting wish list for the Decanter Bordeaux Fine Wine Encounter

Every two years Decanter stages a special Fine Wine Encounter which is entirely devoted to the world’s most famous wine region: Bordeaux.

Decanter's content director picks some of the top wines that he's looking forward to tasting. Join him and the rest of the Decanter team...

This year, the owners and winemakers of more than 30 top chateaux are bringing with them three of the most famed vintages of the modern era: 2009, 2010 and 2015. And I, for one, am very much looking forward to tasting them to see what I should be drinking and buying now and what I should be keeping for the future. See the full Bordeaux exhibitor list here 

What’s especially interesting is that each of these great vintages is at a very different stage of development. By far the most forward and drinkable is the extraordinary and voluptuous 2009. Jane Anson recently reviewed the vintage and its top wines for premium, which will also feature in the Bordeaux supplement accompanying the July issue of Decanter magazine.

While some of the 2009s will repay yet more cellaring, most have already begun to drink quite beautifully. So, particular highlights for me on 8 June will include Château Beychevelle, Château Lascombes, Château La Lagune and Château Brane-Cantenac. I would also urge you to beat a path to the Château Pichon Baron stand to taste their 2009, not least because Jane gave it  a score of 98, making it one of her top ten wines of the vintage.

Book your Decanter Bordeaux Fine Wine Encounter tickets today 

2010 is equally exceptional but a very different beast. Compared to 2009 it is much more classical and is really built for the long haul. That said, I suspect that some wines could be broached in about five years time and are certainly worth assessing in June. Of the 2010s, my top performing wines on show at the Landmark would undoubtedly feature Château Leoville-Barton, Château d’Issan, Château Phelan Segur (who are also hosting an exceptional masterclass – only a handful of tickets are left) and Gloria – but this is such a great vintage across the board that almost everyone has produced good wine.


The same goes for the 2015s. If you missed out the first time around, this is another classically-styled vintage which is well worth a second look. To me the wines have such balance, freshness and fruit definition. It really was a joy to taste at the En Primeur stage and I am very much looking forward to seeing how the wines are shaping up in bottle. If I had to limit myself to tasting just a few 2015s on 8 June, my go-to wines would include Château Phelan Segur, Château Carbonnieux, Château Siran, Château Brane Cantenac and Château Lafon Rochet. The truth, though, is that I will be tasting as many wines as I can.

See the full Bordeaux exhibitor list here

Interestingly, when the 2015s were first tasted in 2016, many producers commented that they felt that the style of the vintage was almost a blend of 2009 and 2010. Indeed, during the En Primeur tastings in Bordeaux, I remember talking to Comte Stephan von Neipperg (Château Canon-la-Gaffelière and La Mondotte) and Sophie Schyler (Château Kirwan), who both described their 2015s in this way. Von Neipperg suggested that 2015 had ‘more fresh fruit than 2009 and not as much power and structure as 2010.’ According to Schyler, 2015 was ‘between 2009 and 2010 in terms of style. It is not as concentrated as 2009 and not as austere as 2010.’

On Saturday 8 June, we’ll all have the opportunity to make up our own minds. My advice is to act quickly if you don’t want to miss out, especially with masterclass tickets, as only the last few remain.

Grand tasting tickets for the Decanter Bordeaux Fine Wine Encounter cost £70 per person –  book today

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