On the Trail

2015 Bordeaux En Primeur Begins Today @ K&L

David Driscoll

The road to 2015 Bordeaux en primeur value leads up this dirt road in St. Emilion, towards the estate of Tour St. Christophe. Part of Peter Kwok's group of Right Bank properties, the château was the first to release its pricing and pre-arrival availability to the market in conjunction with the other estates in the portfolio: Château Haut-Brisson and Enclos Tourmaline. We visited Tour St. Christophe as part of our recent jaunt through Bordeaux and we all agreed that, so long as the wines released at reasonable price points, all three could set the pace for other value-oriented cuvées from the vintage. Winemaker Jean-Christophe Meyrou told Clyde during our visit: "Our wines are always reasonably priced," and the release prices for his 2015 harvest definitely made good on that statement. We're definitely relieved to be starting this year's campaign off with something reasonably priced!

Based on our excitement for the wine, we've made our commitments and are proud to release the 2015 Tour St. Christophe at $25.99, a hot deal for the quality of the juice and only three dollars higher than the 2014 en primeur price (and the 2015 is much better). The terraced slopes of the vineyards are producing some of the best fruit in the valley (situated just across from Barde-Haut) and as our key accounts manager Phil Bohorfoush said to me while we were there: "This is a breakout year for these guys." We're hoping it's a breakout year not only for Tour St. Christophe, but also for other small producers on the Right Bank—a region where quality seems to be on the rise as a whole.

The 2015 Haut-Brisson for $22.99 was just as good as the Tour St. Christophe in our opinion, and since the property is no longer making a reserve cuvée, all of the top fruit went into this singular expression. Robert Parker once referred to the château as "one of St. Emilion's most attractive over-performers" and it's easy to see why with the 2015. This wine was simply bursting with fresh raspberry and cassis flavors when we tasted it with a freshness that seems to be the calling card of the vintage. I went on record with my intentions to buy a case and I would advise any other interested parties to do the same. I'm rather intrigued with the Right Bank as of late and I'm awfully impressed with the value here. Our owner Clyde Beffa thought it was one of the top value wines he tasted from the entire trip and that was before he knew the price. Now that it's come in under $25, I think he's even more ecstatic. 

Of course, if you're looking for power and pomp rather than everyday value, you might want to check out the 2015 Enclose Tourmaline at $139.99, a wine many of us thought was almost perfect. As Alex whispered to me while we were tasting, "this is exactly what we should be recommending to customers who want big name Pomerol, but don't feel like spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars." Made from grapes grown in two small plots next to Le Pin and Lafleur-Petrus, this wine absolutely knocked our socks off. It was silky, savory, textured, and nuanced with cocoa, dark fruit, black tea, and spice. Our allocations were quite limited, but it will be interesting to see what happens with demand. We're obviously over-the-moon for it, but the fact that this property is still flying largely under-the-radar may make this more of an insider's secret. Keep an eye on the inventory to see if it dwindles.

That's the big news for today! We'll be back here with more information, of course, as the 2015 Bordeaux en primeur campaign continues forward. Let's hope the prices just as reasonable!

-David Driscoll