2015 dans la cour des très grands
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).All the News