2015 dans la cour des très grands
2015: playing with the (very) big boys
2015: playing with the (very) big boys
The general impression
Let's leave aside our caution and give free rein to the enthusiasm we've been feeling ever since this vintage was born: 2015 appears to be a very great year, which delighted us from the very first tastings from the tank and should also win you over.
With their maturing period now coming to an end, it's hard to find anything negative to say about these wines: they are ripe, but also possess structure and are supported by a good level of acidity; powerful but full of charm; the character of the vintage does not overwhelm the terroirs, which are well pronounced... A sort of perfect synthesis!
What's more, you seem able to foresee how they will evolve: the grands crus are concentrated and we'll have to wait for them to fully express themselves, as some of them have the potential to age harmoniously over the next 50 years; wines at the lower end of the range are not so firm, and certain softer premiers crus may be drunk quite soon to take advantage of their delicious fruity character and their particularly velvety texture.
How the season and the harvest unfolded
This end-result may be attributed to a problem-free season, which, after the heat-waves of June and July, gave us plenty of rain in August: it was logical to be concerned that the ripeness might be blocked, but the vines were able to take advantage of the humidity, the grapes grew bigger and the ripening process accelerated in the last days of August, following the return of warmer weather. So this already early vintage ripened even more quickly and we decided to begin harvesting on September 3rd.
It's interesting to stop and take a look at this date, because today, commentators often show less enthusiasm for the vintage in general than had been hoped for. They criticise a certain over-ripeness. We chose to harvest early, in two stages: the earliest-ripening vineyards between September 3rd and 5th and the rest between the 8th and the 11th. It should be noted that the Chardonnays, which were ahead of the Pinots, were all harvested early, by the 8th at the latest, with some even as early as August 31st and others during the pause of the 6th-7th. The Clos St Philibert was therefore harvested, for the first time ever, before most of the reds.
In a few rare cases, vineyards showed signs of concentration beginning during the second week, which showed that for our vines, it was time to terminate.
Some technical data
We thus obtained excellent balance at harvest-time: high natural degrees (without chaptalisation, of course), in the region of 13.5; high levels of total acidity, too, and low pH levels (a sign of the predominant presence of tartaric acid, the one that remains in the wines). This situation was confirmed during the maturing period, with gradual malolactic fermentations and very linear evolution of the wines. The excellent pH levels observed at harvest-time were confirmed, particularly as the juices contained very little potassium (which precipitates tartaric acid), to such an extent that today we have pH levels typical of a cold year!
Character and tasting
At the end of the maturing period, certain wines seem firm and quite frank. This is nothing to worry about, as it's a seasonal phenomenon, which says nothing about the way the vintage will evolve or any hypothetical closing-up of the wines, which we don't foresee as being any different from usual. On the other hand, it underlines the fact that these 2015's have the necessary structure and freshness to evolve well and over a long period of time.
Let's say as a conclusion to the comments heard in various quarters, that journalists taste a lot more samples than we do, and that their vision is more general. That inevitably leads to a sort of averaging-out, toning down the disappointments of the difficult years and the successes of the great years. Tastes evolve too: finesse is favoured and people are wary of years which are too hot; a lot of analysing and dissecting goes on... To the detriment of the pure pleasure of tasting, and these wines certainly have plenty of that to offer!
For beyond these tastings, carried out at a given moment, our experience as winegrowers and wine professionals should not be neglected: this vintage excited us from the very beginning and has so far never once disappointed us during the maturing period.
To give you an idea, this vintage is a mix of the 2005 and 2009 vintages: similar in its concentration, perhaps even a little more concentrated, it has the fruity freshness and the velvety texture of the first, and the sweeter aromatic notes (vanilla, chocolate, liquorice, etc.) and the somewhat voluptuous character of the second. A mix of varying proportions according to the wines, but in which there seems to be more 2005. This bodes well, therefore, as the 2015's should combine the great ageing capacity of the 2005's (without their rather severe character which is beginning to frustrate some wine-lovers) and the charm of the 2009's (which are confounding the sombre forecasts made about them and are still a long way from their peak).
The first impression of a very ripe nose, dominated by vanilla particularly, soon gives way to yellow fruit, with apricot and even a touch of citrus fruit. Very open and complex.
The palate offers a nice surprise, being tighter than expected. The wine is compact and fat, with a slightly acidic finish to support it.
A well-balanced wine, which is quite accessible. Enjoy it from 2018 onwards.
Hautes Côtes de Nuits Clos St Philibert
A lively, almost incisive yellow-fruit nose: apple, pear, lemon, lime and so on. As is often the case with this wine, you can also sense stone and a touch of wood/vanilla. The overall impression is a little tight to start with, but it gradually opens up and becomes very pleasant.
At the beginning, the palate is quite full, with a good sensation of fatness, but becomes more refined and incisive at the finish, when the acidity begins to take over.
A synthesis of maturity and acidity, which seems to work perfectly this year! Very promising. From 2020 onwards.
The first impression on the nose is of slight reduction, revealing a few hints of woodiness. Then the citrus fruit comes through, particularly lime, offering an impression of great freshness.
On the palate, there's not so much acidity as the nose might lead you to believe. The attack is rich, and then we get elegance, with frankness and fineness present through to the finish.
It's a very promising wine, both structured and elegant, which still requires more integration. It represents a perfect partner for the vintage, but will benefit by being aged until 2020.
An already deliciously open nose, dominated by flattering aromas: brioche, frangipane, sponge cake, yellow fruit (pear) and tropical fruit (mango).
The palate is quite rich, round, with a slightly warm finish, before the acidity regains control. There's even a touch of minerality at the finish.
An attractive wine, which is quite dense, but needs to gain in refinement. From 2020 onwards.
Straightaway, the nose is rich and sweet, with hints of apricot and angelica in particular. It's not heavy, but possesses presence and soundness.
At the beginning, on the palate, this wine gives an impression of great generosity, but continues with finesse. The finish is tight, without being acidic. You say to yourself that it can't be anything other than a Meursault...
A promising wine, full of potential, which still requires more integration, and should be left alone until 2021.
A ripe, complex nose, redolent of vanilla, honey, marzipan and apricot, etc.
Although the palate is generous, it seems a little more frank, gaining in intensity right up to the acidity and the freshness of the finish. You can feel it holding a lot back.
A fine wine representing a synthesis: ripe, with a degree of opulence, but also the mineral character you like to find in this appellation. Wait until 2020.
The nose is complex, and you can sense sweet notes: crystallised cherry, a touch of menthol and a vegetal sensation.
On the palate, the wine is fine, very elegant and charming, even... During the tasting, it unfolds and the finish is pronounced, though not excessively so.
You have to recognise its fine balance and coherence, promising a lot of pleasure in a few years. From 2020 onwards.
The nose is elegant, already offering an impression of minerality. There's fruit as well, very attractive with its hints of raspberry and cherry.
The palate has a very soft touch to it, with perhaps a little less acidity than usual. Consequently, the wine seems supple and accessible, and could perhaps be drunk from 2018 onwards to gain the first impressions of the vintage.
You could almost say that the very open nose is typical of this wine, with that combination, so particular, of raspberry, wood and slightly vegetal aromas. You can also detect strawberry and crystallised cherry. So much for the fruit aromas, but if you seek, you'll find minerality, hints of smokiness and a touch of caramel.
The wine caresses the palate; it's fine but concentrated, too, and frank; you might almost find the finish a little tight, with its acidity, which is a little unusual for this wine.
The overall impression is of a very attractive, delicious, very promising wine, though you may have to be a little more patient than usual. From 2019 onwards.
Morey Saint Denis
An attractively deep red-fruit nose (strawberry, cherry, raspberry), topped off with aromas of alcohol (kirsch, rum) and nougat.
A nice pleasant palate, delightful, even, but with good density and slightly tannic on the finish.
Overall it has a lot of charm, but is not superficial, and there's an underlying structure to give the wine good support. All the same, you could say that it's still a little tight and that you'll need to wait until 2020.
The nose is immediately open and full of charm: hints of fruit, dominated by raspberry, and also some floral touches (white blossom), which is more surprising in a red wine. It's really very pleasant!
This impression of charm continues on the palate: it's an easy wine, not looking to impose itself on you, but possessing some length, nonetheless, and a pleasant fleshiness coming to soften the acidity which appears on the finish.
Obviously, the architecture is quite different from the wines of the Côte de Nuits; in this vintage, the character of the wine has not been blurred by traumatic meteorological incidents! Lots of charm, but not lacking in depth; why not try it from 2018 onwards?
The nose is quite open and elegant, and you can distinguish cherry and quite a few sweet notes, such as nougat, caramel, frangipane and so on.
The palate is full but remains very fine throughout the tasting, with a slightly acidic finish to straighten up the wine.
No warmth, no harshness, good integration... An interesting wine which may be ready to drink from 2020 onwards.
Absolutely delicious on the nose, combining black fruit, vanilla and frangipane. You could eat it!
The palate is fleshy at the beginning of the tasting, but finishes more firmly, leaving the impression of a compact wine.
This village appellation possesses lots of structure and concentration, and, moreover, fine acidity; qualities making it a wine which will need time. From 2020 onwards.
Nuits Saint Georges
A fine, deep nose, redolent of red and black fruit: raspberry, blackberry and so on... Some floral notes, too, combined with discreet and pleasant vegetal aromas. A very nice introduction!
On the palate, the first impression is that of a rather tight, dense wine, but it's not austere, despite the tannins which are perceivable on the finish.
A reserved wine, which will need to open up. Don't hesitate to decant it if it's to be drunk young. Otherwise give it a try from 2019 onwards.
A spectacular nose, leaning very much towards black (blackcurrant) and red fruit (raspberry, cherry). This is all underpinned by a touch of woodiness.
It caresses the palate very pleasantly and the finish is acidic and invigorating.
This is truly one of the stars of the vintage, ably assisted by its natural acidity, and it's not at all austere, even if some ageing will be necessary. From 2021 onwards.
Fixin 1er Cru Clos du Chapitre
After a preliminary hint of slight reduction, black fruit (blackcurrant, blackberry) makes its appearance and gives the wine an impression of depth, underpinned by woody (mocha, smokiness) and vegetal touches.
On the palate, the wine is still tight and compact, but also fine, direct, elegant and even juicy on the finish, with an acidic note which contributes vitality.
We can say that for the moment, this wine is still reserved, but that it shows a tremendous amount of promise. So it's worth waiting until 2022 for it to open up completely.
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru les Cras
The first impression on the nose is of slight reduction. Then we sense aromas of liquorice, wood, brown sugar and black fruit, particularly blackcurrant. You can feel the depth as the wine gradually opens up.
On the palate, this wine has breadth, a velvety touch, quite generous and pleasant, with a mineral finish.
Overall, it's not really hard - we're definitely in Chambolle - but will need a little time to soften up. Anyway, it's very promising.
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru les Feusselottes
An agreeable nose from the outset, with aromas of red and black fruit, underpinned by discreet woody touches bringing together cane sugar and smokiness.
On the palate also, the fruit is dominant; the make-up of the wine oscillates between density and finesse, with an attractive finish, not too hard.
There's a lot of charm to this Feusselottes, which is even more pleasant than usual, because you could almost drink it now... From 2019 onwards.
Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru les Chaumes
We're greeted by a pleasant nose, already quite open: red and black fruit (cherry, blackcurrant, blackberry), liquorice and woody notes (caramel and cinnamon).
The palate is fairly straight, gradually gaining breadth, with an acidic finish. The wine shows frankness and precision, without being hard.
One can imagine that it can't wait to develop refinement... But that will take some time. From 2024 onwards.
Nuits St Georges 1er Cru aux Argillas
The nose possesses depth, which brings out black fruit (blackcurrant, blackberry) and a few vegetal and woody (cinnamon) notes.
The palate is along the same lines, full and caressing. The acidity is present from the beginning, but the wine is not tight: it's supported by this acidity and appears generous, massive almost.
That's why it will need to age in order to develop more subtlety. This very attractive and promising wine should be forgotten until 2022 at least.
Nuits St Georges 1er Cru les Perrières
You are soon lost in a maze of very different aromas: at the very beginning, the nose is slightly reduced, and then red fruit appears, followed by some floral notes as well as black fruit. Everything is complex and enchanting.
On the palate, the wine is a little tight to start with, but not hard. Throughout the tasting, it develops fatness and structure, and the finish is long.
This Nuits Perrières is a little more full-bodied than usual, but just as complex, and is one of the great successes of the vintage. From 2020 onwards.
Nuits St Georges 1er Cru aux Murgers
It's hard to say why the nose makes you think immediately of a Nuits Saint Georges: deep black-fruit aromas, reinforced by liquorice, cinnamon and a hint of vegetal aromas.
On the palate, the wine is rich, and it might well be heavy, were it not for the freshness which rapidly takes over in mid-tasting. The finish is frank and fine, almost tight.
Patience will be required to taste this wine, with its huge potential. It's one of the stars of the year, but you'll need to wait until 2022.
Nuits St Georges 1er Cru aux Boudots
A very exuberant nose, with fairly pronounced aromas of vanilla, rum and caramel. The fruit, mainly red and black cherry, gradually makes its presence felt.
To start with, the palate also seems to be holding back a little, but it opens up little by little. The wine is tight, even a little restrained, but it develops, lining the palate, and the finish is distinctly tannic.
The potential is certainly enormous, but for the moment it's reserved and not very talkative. It will need time. Perhaps you could try it from 2023 onwards.
Clos de Vougeot
There are deep aromas of cherry and raspberry, with touches of blackcurrant too. A little caramel, some floral notes and orange peel. The grapes were evidently very ripe, but no over-ripeness can be detected.
At the outset, the palate is generous, but you can sense straightaway a certain uprightness and a good deal of frankness, restraint and length.
The balance is magnificent; a little reserved at the moment. What's more, the wine doesn't lack power, and it would be better to wait until 2022 before beginning to approach it.
Corton la Vigne au Saint
A nose leaning more towards red fruit, raspberry and redcurrant, and you can also detect some smoky aromas and some sweet notes of rum.
At the beginning, the wine is generous on the palate, quite fat but fairly tight, with a touch of acidity which straightens it up on the finish.
We'd grown accustomed to this vineyard being a charmer and a dilettante, but this year we have to acknowledge a more pronounced Corton character, which results in a certain harshness. Not before 2022.
On the nose, there's cherry, both fresh and crystallised, touches of violets and even yellow fruit.
On the palate, the wine is juicy, full of sap, not necessarily very broad, but with lots to chew at; the finish is long and mineral, with a very fine tannic freshness.
This wine will be a real charmer in a few years. It still shows a little strictness today, but you can't say it's severe, just somewhat reserved, because it broadens out as you taste it. From 2022 onwards.
Corton Clos Rognet
It's the maturity that is manifest at the beginning, expressing itself with touches of caramel and liquorice. Then you can sense the fruit, red and black, quite fine and discreet at first, before gradually broadening out. It needs a little air to feel at home.
The palate is dense and broad, a little compact and reserved, but remaining coherent until the end, with a lovely finish, tight but not excessively so, and good length.
Very promising, complex and fine; obviously it's still a little withdrawn, but you can feel that there's nothing it would like better than to broaden its horizon.
Échezeaux les Rouges du Bas
A deep nose, redolent of cherry and blackcurrant. As far as its charm is concerned, you can detect touches of sponge cake and almonds. The overall impression is one of density.
It's very broad, and caresses the palate from the very start. You would almost expect a compact, massive, even hard wine, but there's finesse in mid-tasting, and freshness on the finish.
It makes a great impression and appears better integrated than usual. The ageing potential is very impressive. In order to grasp all the complexity of this wine, you'll need to wait until at least 2025.
Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru aux Brulées
A rather discreet nose, redolent of black fruit (cherry, blackcurrant), with a few vegetal, smoky, mineral and iodised touches. It opens up little by little.
On the palate, it shows its great breadth; it's impressive, massive even... Except for the finish, which is mineral.
A wine which takes its time to make itself comfortable and which seems to be hewn for eternity. From 2025 onwards.
Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru au Cros Parantoux
On the nose, there's red fruit and a few vegetal notes, and you can also make out, which is surprising, yellow fruit.
The palate is extraordinarily full, caressingly silky and showing good concentration. In fact, it's difficult to describe because it's very complete and pleasant, already very well integrated and bringing incredible emotion.
With lots of exuberance and integration, it's fashioned for the long road ahead of it. Our best Cros, perhaps, since ...? It should be kept until 2025.
A very complex nose; you find the traditional red fruit (raspberry), subtle woodiness (marzipan, aniseed) and even a touch of orange blossom.
On the palate, it's not quite so dense as the Cros, but more reserved, with an enormous potential for finesse and complexity.
Very long, but in an aristocratically discreet manner.
Incredible finesse, just waiting to flourish. From 2024 onwards.