Simon Larkin MW | Mar 30, 2016
It is that season again when Bordeaux assumes the limelight once more. The 2015 Bordeaux vintage has, it seems, been declared great even though few critics have published their notes and few in the trade have tasted. It all sounds very familiar doesn't it? If we consider the favourable weather conditions that Bordeaux enjoyed in 2015, it is easy to argue that there is likely to be some impressive wines. Broadly speaking, an uncomplicated growing season was followed by good conditions at harvest. I am not expecting the same uniformity as in vintages such as 2009 and 2010 but there will no doubt be a range of high quality wines.
For those of you who have been Atlas clients for some time, you might recall that we widely advised against purchasing en primeur in the last four vintages, sometimes on qualitative grounds, sometimes given our concerns over pricing and sometimes because we couldn't see the compulsion to buy en primeur. As ever, the key question concerning the 2015 vintage will be one of price. Certainly the market is keen to see a successful en primeur campaign after four tough sells and there seems to be a more upbeat attitude to a vintage that should be the finest since 2010.
It remains to be seen if leading Châteaux push pricing too far and miss the mark for another year running. My current feeling is the market will be more forgiving and anticipates a rise of 2014, but to what degree remains to be seen. Sterling's weak performance against the Euro may not help year on year price comparisons either. This is going to be another testing year for the en primeur system, particularly given that some leading Châteaux are happy to release a small proportion of stock at higher levels and release the rest over future years, a strategy which is perhaps at odds with the en primeur system's ability to generate interest.
Irrespective of the scale of our en primeur offer, we always head over to taste as we are then in a position to give first hand advice and make sensible purchasing recommendations. This year the team heads over in two waves starting today (I am typing much of this on a flight to Bordeaux). The first group will taste over the next four days prior to the main Union des Grands Crus week when international trade descends on the region.
We will publish our Vintage Report and Tasting notes following our return, although – in a diversion from the Atlas norm – you can follow me on Twitter
to get live updates of our thoughts on the 2015 vintage. Although I am ever wary of technology (and never short for words!), I am hoping this will provide you with easy, concise commentary on the vintage. Following release pricing in April and May, we will offer wines where see value although, as ever, this will be selective and based on our own, personal assessment of the wine.