St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2015 & More: Older Vintages

What is better than a tasting of more than 30 wines from the 2015 vintage in St Emilion? Well, many things probably, not least a night at the opera in the company of Julia Roberts, but I suspect that one might just be me. May I also suggest that the obvious way in which we can improve upon the tasting is to add an older vintage from every château? This is exactly what the thirty-or-so proprietors here chose to do; alongside their 2015 barrel samples, on which I reported in part one, they also brought with them a selection of older vintages, ranging from a lone 2013 (brave) back to a lone 2005 (joyful), with all manner of wines in between.

Older Vintages

Perhaps understandably the most commonly presented vintages were 2012, only bottled a year-or-so ago, 2011 and 2010. The presence of the latter vintage provided an easy opportunity to compare 2010 and 2015 side-by-side, and it was a close-run contest. With some châteaux I had a slight preference for the 2010 from bottle, while in others I came down on the side of the 2015 barrel sample, acknowledging all the inherent uncertainty the judging of barrel samples entails. In a few cases, my 2010 score was right in the middle of my 2015 ranged score. I suspect the correct course of action with results such as these is to put them on the back burner for a while, and revisit them once the 2015s have been bottled.

St Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2015

The 2012 vintage showed fairly well on the whole, this being a vintage of elegant poise which seems to have a broad appeal within the UK wine trade. It was also particularly successful on the right bank, although perhaps more in Pomerol than in St Emilion. I found the wine from Château de Pressac to be particularly convincing. As for 2011, the UK wine trade seems to like this less, but I have found plenty of joy in this vintage, the wines rich, broad and substantial. On this occasion I felt the wines from Château Destieux and from Alain Château (pictured above), proprietor of Château Yon-Figeac, to be most worthy of our time.

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