Best Vintage Since 2010
It has become clear that the 2015 Bordeaux is one of two things: either very good, or very, very good. These incredible wines are being sold as futures at en primeur and are rumoured to be the best vintage in a decade. What’s more is that all three Bordeaux styles are being hailed as a success – reds, dry whites and sweet whites. This is something that hasn’t happened since 2005. The three that has particularly stood out are: Pessac-Léognan, Saint-Émilion and Margaux.
Near Perfect Conditions
As with all wine, the environment is what makes or breaks a vintage, and 2015 had particularly good conditions. Like 2003, it was dry but it wasn’t extremely hot and it started raining at just the right time in most areas. Because of these perfect harvesting conditions, producers could take their time and most of the Bordeaux wines during this year turned out great. There was one area in which the rain didn’t quite come at the right time, and instead only arrived during the September harvest. Although this wasn’t catastrophic, the wines of Saint-Estèphe and from the north of Pauillac may not be as finely tweaked as they could be. Bear in mind that these wines are still verging on greatness. Unfortunately this also affects the overall score which is why you can rest assured that in reality 2015 is an even greater year than what is rumoured. Ratings aside, this year is an absolute pleasure to drink.
Does This Mean Prices are Sky High?
Just because the year is great, it doesn’t always mean that the vintage will be overpriced. Prices are only decided after the market is assessed by producers which could take days, weeks or months after wines are tasted and reviewed. It is also important to note that although all three styles are being touted as great, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire vintage is a success. What this means is by all means, buy some of this highly recommended fine vintage, but do it through a reputable wine broker.
Some winemakers prefer organic and biodynamic viticulture methods of producing wine. Several Burgundy estates have started converting to organic produce and other estates maintain selected vineyards that produce biodynamic wines.The Bordeaux region is particularly suitable for this method because the climate there produces mists that are a natural pest repellent. What this means in laymen’s terms is simply that these winemakers are not using chemicals and fertilisers during the winemaking process. Another difference between organic and non-organic wine is the use of sulphites, which increase the shelf-life of non-organic brands but can also influence the flavour. The reason the organic methods are becoming so trendy is that more and more people worldwide are becoming health conscious and environmentally aware. As a result, they are demanding to know exactly what they are consuming.
Taking it a Step Further: Biodynamic Wine
Biodynamic wine starts off as organic wine and then goes further by using agro-ecology and ecologically self-sufficient methods to cultivate it. This wine is produced with careful consideration of the earth’s natural rhythms, the moon, and the stars. Biodynamic winemakers also introduce medicinal plants like Valerian, Dandelion, and Chamomile into the process. Yes, this sounds very complicated and it is, but if a winemaker takes so much care in producing wine, the product may certainly reflect that in taste and quality.
Despite Controversy, it’s Still About Preference
In France winemaking tends to be highly traditional and anything unorthodox can unsettle wine producers and clients who are used to conventional methods. There is also controversy about sulphites. In Europe and Canada organic wines may have added sulphites – in the US this is not the case. Some may argue that European organic wines cannot even be called organic, others take more of a relaxed approach. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. It is certainly an interesting way of making wine and looking out for your health and the planet. Whether the taste is up to par, one can only find out by tasting. And, as with all wine purchases, it is vital to only deal with a reputable wine merchant.