En Primeur Bordeaux 2015

The wines with tasting notes

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[Add to shopping basket] Branaire Ducru St Julien £404 £280 - £350 90-92 90-92 93-94 16-17 90-93 -
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The 2015 Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc that was picked between 18 September until 8 October, with two or three intervals in between. Matured in around 60% new oak (although as usual my barrel sample was from a new oak barrel), it has a high-toned, black cherry and cassis scented nose that perhaps feels a little constricted by the new wood in this sample, though not necessarily once in bottle. The palate is medium-bodied with a lightly spiced entry, white pepper and a touch of sage, gritty tannin, foursquare and a little conservative. There is commendable weight on the finish, if not quite the precision compared to its peers. I noticed this gaining more cohesion in the glass, which bodes well for once the Branaire-Ducru is in bottle. I expect this to rest at the top of my banded score.

Score: 90 - 92 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2020-2040

Deep purple ruby. Classic, fresh aromas of ripe blackberry, currants and cocoa. Smooth and silky with great length with some toasted oak and cedar/eucalyptus lift on the finish.

Score: 90 - 92 Albany Vintners

This is very structured and tight with chewy polished tannins and blueberry, blackberry. Full and savory. Should develop beautifully.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Dark ruby. Sweetly gamey on the nose. A little light compared with some but very correct. Quite advanced. But just slightly austere in style. No one could object but I can't imagine many falling madly in love. Stones on the finish.

Score: 16 - 17 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2024-2038

Pretty and aromatic, with flavors of kirsch and cherry preserves mixed with tobacco and bay notes. Stays energetic through the relatively sleek finish. Wins on purity.

Score: 90 - 93 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

[Add to wish list] [Add to pre-order list] Brane Cantenac Margaux Unreleased £340 - £420 93-95 91-93 93-94 17-18 90-93 92-95
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The 2015 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Carmenère that was picked from 17 September until 7 October (that Carmenère was actually picked on 19 October). It was cropped at 51 hl/ha. This is classic Brane-Cantenac down the line: austere at first, almost aloof, but very well defined and over time it starts revealing lovely tobacco-stained black fruit. The palate is very well balanced with raspberry and wild strawberry on the entry, perhaps more red fruit than I was anticipating. Veins of undergrowth and cedar are in situ on this very well-balanced, reserved and classic Margaux boasting a long and persistent finish that feels satisfying, reassuring even. Not a Margaux for those that seek tons of fruit, it is nonetheless a very terroir-expressive wine that will repay those who know that this cru demands preferably 12-15 years in the cellar. Henri Lurton never wavers from his style of Margaux and it pays dividends here on this great wine for those with patience.

Score: 93 - 95 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2030-2060

Aromatic but plenty of lift and richness, gloss, sweetly ripe black fruit. Lightish, maybe not as concentrated as usual.

Score: 91 - 93 Albany Vintners

This is very big and rich wine with dense and rich tannins, lots of ripe fruit. Blackberry, blueberry flavors. Muscular yet polished.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Exceptionally deep crimson. Meat and wild flowers on the nose - very interesting. Definitely out of the ordinary. Left-field wine that should not disappoint. Racy and lifted. Really very elegant. Chapeau!

Score: 17 - 18 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2024-2038

This has a mix of enticing dark plum and blueberry fruit woven with a solid graphite note and carrying through an alder-edged finish. Has the vintage’s velvety feel, but a little extra cut.

Score: 90 - 93 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

A super-expressive, deep wine, the 2015 Brane-Cantenac possesses magnificent intensity and pure power from start to finish. Dark red cherry, wild flowers, smoke, plum, tobacco, spice and game are some of the notes that build as the wine gains richness and volume with time in the glass. There is plenty of tannin lurking beneath, but it is nearly buried by the sheer opulence of the fruit, while the creamy finish alone is striking. This a deeply satisfying wine from Henri Lurton. Brane-Cantenac is another wine that is a pure pleasure bomb in 2015. Don't miss it. Tasted three times.

Score: 92 - 95 Antonio Galloni, www.vinousmedia.com

[Add to wish list] [Add to pre-order list] Branon Graves Unreleased £420 - £520 - 86-88 - - - -
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Overripe nose, lots of extract and gloss. Overdone. Finishing very dry.

Score: 86 - 88 Albany Vintners

[Add to shopping basket] Cabanne Pomerol £230 £180 - £250 92-94 - 94-95 17 - -
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The 2015 La Cabanne is a blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Proprietor François Estager told me that this was the first vintage were he has not used any sulfur (one of a few that are moving in that direction). Tasted on three occasions, the nose is offers brambly black fruit mixed with wild hedgerow and cold stone, certainly more sophisticated than recent vintages, with impressive purity. The palate is built upon fine grain tannin, well-judged acidity, and is nicely proportioned with the fruit, given lift by the new oak on the finish. I suspect that the aromatics were just having an off day; given the performance of the palate and knowing how fine this Pomerol can be, it should turn into a delicious, perhaps relatively approachable Pomerol that will give a couple decades of pleasure.

Score: 92 - 94 Neal Martin, erobertparker.com Maturity: 2019-2035

95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, aged in 55% new oak and 45% 1 year barrel. This Pomerol estate is well situated not far from Trotanoy and Clinet, on clay with gravel soils, and produces on average 2500 cases per year from vines of around 30 years of age, and a second wine, made from the younger vines. Owned by the Estager family since 1952. following a fire at the property in 2010 which destroyed the vat room and the entire 2008 crop, renovations have been carried out with state of the art new winemaking facilities. A Chateau to watch.

Score: - Albany Vintners

A rich and round red with lots of dried fruits, spice and dark chocolate aromas and flavors. Full body, flavorful and rich. Classic styled red. Best ever from here?

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Very dark, then rich and furry and sweet. Very sweet and charming. Intense and jewelly. Very seductive!

Score: 17 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2023-2035

[Add to wish list] [Add to pre-order list] Calon Segur St Estephe Unreleased £440 - £560 91-93 92-95 93-94 17 89-92 90-93
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The 2015 Calon Segur is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot (no Cabernet Franc in the Grand Vin this year). It was picked from 8 September until 5 October at a yield of 47 hl/ha and is matured in 100% new oak for the next 20 months. The Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the aromatics with blackberry, cedar and graphite aromas: quite linear, nicely focused and reserved compared to the 2014 last year. The palate is understated on the entry, the tannin very fine and the acidity very well judged. Like the nose, the Cabernet drives this wine forward: structured and a little "brittle" in the mouth, perhaps the most Pauillac-like Calon-Segur that I have encountered over many years of tasting. Afford this several years in bottle.

Score: 91 - 93 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2022-2040

Calon Segur is one of the great names of St Estephe. Quality has been in the ascendant since 2009 when Vincent Millet (previously head of R&D at Chateau Margaux) took over as Technical Director, with more emphasis on Cabernet fruit. Strict selection, a long-term replanting programme and a reasonable pricing policy means that there is never enough to go around en primeur. 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. Extremely frgrant with cassis, violets and black cherries. Medium body and concentration with poise and balance, effortlessly smooth tannins and a very long graceful finish.

Score: 92 - 95 Albany Vintners

This is very fine and integrated with black currant, walnut and fresh tobacco. Full body, pretty polish. Sophisticated. Well done for the vintage for this appellation.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. 47 hl/ha. 20 months in 100% new oak. Dark crimson. Pure and aromatic. Pretty dense and dry with a hint of sweet oak. Solid and concentrated. All set for the long term. Pretty introvert. Edgy finish but more sweetness than there used to be. Intense - more intense than usual for this property. A little attenuated on the end. Very solid indeed! 13.3%. (17+ Points)

Score: 17 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2024-2036

A solid effort, with plum and dark cherry fruit showing the fleshier side of the vintage. Shows silky tannins underneath and a pleasant tobacco edge on the finish.

Score: 89 - 92 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2015 Calon Ségur is super-polished, silky and exceptionally beautiful, especially for the vintage and appellation. Creamy, expressive and inviting, the 2015 possesses striking nuance and delineation throughout. Dark blue and purplish fruits, lavender, herbs, menthol and licorice add the closing shades of nuance. I don't think the 2015 will match the superb 2014, but it is a very pretty, if somewhat smaller-scaled, wine. Tasted three times.

Score: 90 - 93 Antonio Galloni, www.vinousmedia.com

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