A final word ahead of significant 2015 En Primeur releases

Cheval Blanc WineryFollowing on from our brief analysis of 2015 scores last week we thought it worthwhile going back and looking at all the major reviewers who have so far looked at this fascinating vintage.

Thus far we have scores from Neal Martin, James Suckling, Antonio Galloni (vinous) Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and Decanter magazines, Jancis Robinson, Jean-Marc Quarin, René Gabriel,  La Revue de Vin de France, and Le Point magazine.

Some of these reviewers score out of 20, some out of 100, combining the two is not impossible, but we believe the impact of the methodology used is too great so we prefer to keep the scores in their native format, the only transformation being to take the midpoint of range scores to give a single digit (+/- are counted as quarter or half points as appropriate).  We took an average of all the scores and ranked the wines in two flights (those scored / 100 and those scored / 20) discounted the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac to leave us with the following list of wines that appeared in the top 25 of both lists.

A table of wine averages

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the wines we’ll be looking out for during en primeur, and obviously are without any consideration of price, if a wine outside of the list releases at a great price rest assured we’ll be recommending it!  Nevertheless this IS a good crib-sheet for the wines to be excited about.

So what does this and the research behind it tell us?

  • Certainly the balance of quality appears to be on the right bank, just over half of this list coming from the far side of the Gironde, a quite unusual balance.
  • Of the top six wines, four are the same in both lists, so there is certainly a measure on consensus as to the quality of Margaux, Petrus, Ausone, and Lafleur.
  • There are distinct differences between certain reviewers, James Suckling and Rene Gabriel are by a significant margin the most generous, and are the only reviewers to give outright top scores to any wine still en primeur.  Conversely (and as expected) Jancis Robinson is probably the most cautious reviewer, alongside Wine Spectator magazine.

We at Vin-X can only manage to be dispassionate and independent for so long.  These are the three wines from this list that we are most excited about, and most keenly anticipating.

  • Margaux: Looks set to be wine of the vintage, with the highest average scores across both sets of reviewers above.  Neal Martin has declared it as possibly the best en primeur Margaux he’s had in 20 years, in his words buyers should “beg for a bottle and worry about the money later”.  The untimely death of Paul Pontallier has put Margaux in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, but one must acknowledge that it has also provided a timely boost in press attention.  Could this be the vintage where Margaux steps out of the shadow of the other first growths?
  • Cheval Blanc & Angelus:  We couldn’t pick between these two, Angelus has another chance for a perfect 100 after coming so close in 2009 and 2010 (both vintages 99+ points) and driving continued brand growth, while the chance of another classic Cheval Blanc is too good an opportunity to miss.
  • Canon: Lesser known by investors than drinkers this St Emilion Wine from the second tier of that classification looks like setting a new benchmark for the estate who have never beaten the 95 points achieved in their 1957 vintage, with a more contemporary high of 94 in 2009.  We expect this to be under our normally advised minimum price point, but this may be the exception to prove the rule.

All that is left to Vin-X now is to await the pricing and the chance to advise our clients! Contact us now to register your interest in En Primeur 2015 on 0203 384 2262 or email info@vin-x.com.