The highly-praised Bordeaux 2015 vintage has departed from the wineries earlier this year in March. Since en primeur, the industry has applauded the quality and potential of the vintage being on par with outstanding vintages like 2009 and 2010. Now that the wines have become physically available, we got asked the following a lot: “2015 Bordeaux cru classe – can I drink them now or should I keep them?”

WWX is going to look into the drinkability and trading potential of Bordeaux cru classe subregion by subregion. In the area of trading potential, we look at price level and fluctuation of Pauillac great growths 2015 vintage; against top traded Bordeaux 500.

Today’s focus: Pauillac cru classe

The greatness of 2015 Pauillac can be summarised in a few words: powerful, well-structured and classic – all thanks to the progression of a very hot and dry July; timely rain in August and a cool and sunny September.

July heat and drought conditions worked with Pauillac’s deep, well-draining gravelly soil to halt ripening just after veraison. That decelerated accumulation of sugars and ripeness like what had happened to some Right Bank wines.

August rains paced ripening in a gradual, moderate rhythm. In most Pauillac wines, behind lush, pure dark fruit you can find a lean tannin structure and restrained alcohol. September came with cool, dry and sunny conditions. Growers had no rush to pick at all and berries gained some time to attain more colour, flesh and greater concentration.

2015 Pauillac’s drinkability

Enthusiastic Bordeaux drinkers have been spotted drinking these youthful wines worldwide. Rather unlike how things were just a decade ago, freshly released cru classe Bordeaux are no longer seen as “untouchables” that need decades to come around. Cru classe winemakers have rose to the challenge of making wines that are ageworthy, whilst at the same time, offer immediate drinking pleasure virtually right upon release.

The weather of 2015 vintage has allowed for winemakers to craft Pauillac that shows metrosexual masculinity i.e. the wines bears the impression of a man of class in modern times. The wines speak power with a refined touch of grace. Take Grand Puy Lacoste 2015’s tasting notes from Parker as an example – “This is more approachable aromatically, beautifully defined, thanks to that expressive Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The palate is medium-bodied with svelte tannin and finely tuned acidity (pH 3.68). Beguilingly harmonious in the mouth, it boasts a silky smooth texture with wonderful salinity on the aftertaste that is sustained in the mouth.” Neal Martin waxed on about the “seductive bouquet” of d’Armailhac 2015. Lynch Bages was reviewed as an “elegant… feminine and stylish” wine that is “irresistible”.

The drinkability of 2015 Pauillac is high. This is made possible by winemakers’ sophisticated techniques to craft wines that are “seductive”, “elegant”, with “svelte”, “saturated tannins” even when young. Being drinkable when young does not seem to compromise the wines’ ageing potential. Critics put Mouton Rothschild’s ageing potential as far away as year 2060.

2015 Pauillac’s trading potential

Take a close look on price fluctuations of all Pauillac cru classe growth 2015 (except Chateau Latour – which will now only release their wines when they are ready to drink).

Current value of all wines have seen appreciation compared against their en primeur release prices. The biggest winner is Chateau Clerc Milon (+41%). The steady climber is Chateau d’Armailhac (+38% over past 2 years, 20% over past 12 months, 13% over past 6 months). The two Pauillac first growths, Mouton Rothschild and Lafite Rothschild, see an increase of 15% and 20% respectively over a 2-year frame.

Benchmark against Bordeaux 500 index which follows 2006 – 2015 vintages of First Growth and their second wines, key Left and Right bank chateaux, 2015 Paulliac cru classe growths generally outperforms the average 11% growth over 2 years. Of 15 chateaux, only 5 underperforms 11% growth.

As of when this blog is penned, a case of 6x75cl Lafite Rothschild 2015 was just sold on WWX at GBP 2947, 7.5% above last transaction price.