Splendid Sauternes 2015

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com 

12 March 2018

Having tasted through some 2015s with Jane Anson, I can only agree with her assessment (and that of Ian d’Agata) in Decanter that in 2015, Sauternes are “some of the highest scorers, along with Pomerol and St-Emilion.” Ian adds: “It’s an outstanding vintage, with many fleshy, rich wines but with good acidity levels so as to avoid coming off as heavy or cloying.”

As Sauternes expert Bill Blatch has noted: “The style of these wines is of course very rich, but, with a few notable exceptions, less absolutely sweet than the 05s or the very powerful ’09s very generally,” he said.

And the average sweetness for the crus classés of the ’15s ended up at around 130g/l rather than 140-150 for the ’09s – and that is a positive statistic, explaining a superior balance for Sauternes and Barsac in 2015.

Sure, they seem softer and have slightly less acidity than the ’14s, but this is hardly a problem as my tasting notes reveal.

With the exception of the two final wines, below, these were tasted as part of the UGCB tour in January, in Washington D.C. and New York City.

Château de Fargues: A tour de force and a top Sauternes in 2015. More than fulfilling its promise from barrel! Aged in about 30% new oak, this wine exudes so much fruit driven freshness and ripeness in such an elegant manner, one almost forgets that it is a “sweet” wine. Certainly the spicy notes from the botrytis lend much appeal, but I love the pure expressions of white stone fruit. You also get exotic fruit from the vintage, lending a multidimensional aspect. A generous de Fargues, with plenty of density, tension and vivacity. Do not hesitate to seek this out. 96/100.

Château Guiraud: Another Sauternes success. While not reaching the heights of de Fargues, Guiraud is both opulent and elegant in 2015. Bravo. 93/100

Château Suduiraut: Tasted twice from barrel in the spring of 2016, I was just a bit underwhelmed but it is far better from bottle, so bravo to this estate! There is pleasing orange marmalade to this, with opulence as expected but balanced by cool, tobacco like freshness. 94/100

Château Bastor-Lamontagne: Just as it was from barrel but a bit more density coming through: fresh and lovely, with orange blossom and white peach. Its refined freshness makes for a perfect by-the-glass Sauternes, for example. Lacks the depth of the bigger boys, but still very good! 91/100

Château Coutet: Here we have an accent on more exotic fruit – mango, quince, kiwi; there is fresh lip smacking pineapple, too. Not as cool and refined (along with the depth) of, say, de Fargues, but a really good Coutet, which is a solid performer, vintage in, vintage out. 93/100.

Château Doisy-Daëne: As experienced en primeur, this Barsac is just a bit better than the Coutet in 2015: lovely, bright and more floral. There seems to be more nuance and cool elegance to this wine, as well as opulence and ripe fruit with botrytis spice. A Barsac to buy in 2015. 94/100

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey: My positive experience from barrel is confirmed from bottle: both elegant and rich and precise. The texture? Very smooth, reflecting silkiness in its expression of fine white pear and botrytis spice. Long finish. 93/100

Clos Haut Peyraguey: Another fine performance, confirming my positive impression from barrel, even if not quite as endearing as the Lafaurie. Still, I really enjoy its crunchy green apple freshness combined with cinnamon like apple pie richness. There is indeed opulence on the finish, but just a bit less precision than some of the other wines here. 92/100

Château de Myrat: Lovely subtle notes of black tea with a sumptuous palate. This is an underrated Sauternes, no? I like the lift here, really gorgeous. 93/100

Château Raymond-Lafon: Gorgeous notes of pear and pineapple on the nose. A very contoured and subtle, yet rich palate. 93/100






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