This afternoon Neal Martin, Robert Parker’s successor at the Wine Advocate has released his 2015 report and scores. His prognoses is very good, in fact he states that ‘Generally, 2015 is an excellent vintage.’ Martin has reiterated the broader industry opinion that the 2015 vintage is special and that while not as homogeneously exceptional as 2009 and 2010 ‘you could argue that it might pip the quality of 2005… I cannot remember the 2005s displaying such fine tannin, although they did show more density and structure out of barrel’. This is high praise considering the 12 perfect scores awarded by Parker to the 2005 vintage last year.
Antonio Galloni also released his scores this week calling 2015 the ‘strongest vintage in a number of years’ and states there are ‘pockets of true excellence’. Galloni emphasises that the vintage’s best efforts are ‘spectacularly rich, racy wines loaded with personality’. He gives particular mention to Margaux and St Julien where he says ‘choosing wine in either appellation is like shooting fish in a barrel’.
Axiomatically many people judge a vintage by its peaks, the 100 pointers. A general concern regarding Martin was that he might be gun shy in awarding these. This has not been the case, he has awarded Haut Brion, Canon, Margaux, Petrus, Vieux Chateau Certan and d’Yquem 98-100 points – likening Haut Brion to the legendary 1945 and 1989. This quality extends further, with five scores of 97-99, including Figeac, Mouton Rothschild and Cheval Blanc; eight from 96-98 including Pichon Baron, L’Evangile, Rauzan-Segla and Pavie; 19 from 95-97, including Leoville Las Cases, Pape Clement, Smith Haut Lafitte, Angelus, Pichon Lalande, Ausone and Haut Bailly. Last year wines were regarded as very strong buys when they had 94-96 points, while in 2015 there are 22, including Lafite Rothscild, Ducru Beaucaillou, Pontet Canet and Gazin. Martin’s scores confirm ‘The best wines tend to be in the southern Médoc, specifically Margaux and Pessac-Léognan, across the Right Bank in Saint Emilion and Pomerol.’ His scores and general thesis suggest that ‘The heady peaks of 2015 stand shoulder to shoulder with 2009 and 2010.’ This sets the tone for an exciting en primeur campaign!
While question marks will surround the release price of these stunning wines, we can focus today on Chateau Gazin, which has already released this week. It has now been awarded 94-96 points. Its release price on Wednesday of £470 per case of 12 provides a 27% and 30% discount to the current trading price of the 2010 and 2009 vintages respectively. Gazin 2010 trades at £640 and was originally awarded 93-95 from barrel, later scored 96 points from bottle, while the 2009 was scored 94-96 from barrel and 96 from bottle, this trades at £670 today. This week’s release price of the 2015 for £470 is also considerably lower than the 2009, which was released at £535 and the 2010, £550, with both showing price rises since. We still have limited availability remaining of Gazin 2015, which is selling out very quickly since its superb score this afternoon. If you did not secure any on Wednesday now is time to do so as this will sell out globally over the weekend.
Coutet produced one of its finest ever vintages in 2014 and was one of the most popular releases of last year’s en primeur campaign. They set themselves a very difficult task to keep up with these high standards but remarkably have managed to trump that effort in 2015, with Neal Martin scoring it 94-96 points. At £280 per full case this offers great value for First Growth Sauternes, outscoring recent vintages which trade at over £400 per case!
Chateau Gazin, 2015
Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate, 94-96 Points
The 2015 Gazin has a perfumed bouquet with layers of black cherry, raspberry coulis and truffle scents, more welcoming and sensual than the wines a decade ago from barrel when they intermittently felt under-ripe. There is none of that here for sure. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit on the entry. There is excellent structure here, a masculine Gazin with plenty of grip, counterbalanced by abundant tertiary, tobacco-tinged black fruit. There is real salinity towards the finish, completing a superb wine by Nicolas de Bailliencourt and his team. Do not overlook this Pomerol. It is one of the subtler expressions of the 2015 vintage and one that I am sure will develop beautifully in cask.
Chateau Coutet, 2015
Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate, 94-96 Points
The 2015 Coutet comes with 153 grams per liter of residual sugar at 13.8% alcohol. It has a fragrant bouquet with acacia honey, citrus scents and a touch of melted butter, all very well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with impressive purity, those limestone soils imparting the acidity that defined this Barsac, and lending great precision and tension on the live-wire finish. This is a wonderful Coutet that feels energetic – a compressed spring coil that will drink earlier than the likes of Climens or de Fargues, but has the DNA to age gracefully over 25-30 years.
Recently released and available:
- Doisy-Daene 2015, £280, 12×75 – 95-96 Pts
- Gazin 2015, £470, 12x75cl – 96 Pts
- Guiraud 2015, £315, 12x75cl – 96-97 Pts
- Siran 2015, £190, 12x75cl – 94-95 Pts
- Coutet 2015, £280, 12x75cl – 94-97 Pts
- Doisy Vedrines 2015 £245, 12x75cl – 95-96 Pts
- Chasse Spleen 2015 £205, 12x75cl – 94-95 Pts
- Chateau Gazin 2015 94-96 Pts Neal Martin 12×75 £470 EP
- Chateau Coutet 2015 94-96 Pts Neal Martin 12×75 £280 EP
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