Carl Kanowsky: 2015 Bordeaux – some real winners
A collage of views of Bordeaux, France.. Courtesy photo
By Signal Contributor
Friday, February 2nd, 2018

As fate would have it, I’m hobnobbing again in the realm of the rich and famous. Two weeks ago, I was on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, only a few doors down from Bijan’s garishly yellow Rolls Royce, sampling high-end Cabernets. Then, last Friday, I’m rubbing elbows with the 0.0001% at the exclusive and swanky The Beverly Hills Hotel, where a Superior Bungalow Suite goes for $3,000/night. (Stayed two nights – charged it to The Signal.)

The Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux, tasting the 2015 Vintage, drew me back to BH. Every year, almost two hundred of the more than 7,000 wineries in Bordeaux travel the USA and the world to premiere the vintage that is being released that year.

Just like Napa and Sonoma, Bordeaux is broken into numerous appellations. The best known are Pauillac, St. Julien, St. Estephe, Margaux, Pomerol, St. Emilion, Pessac Leognan, and Graves. Chateaux from all of these and others were present.

I’m not certain why, but the perception that a particular vintage is the “Best of the Century” seems to be happening more frequently than before. First, 1982 was the finest in decades, then came 2000 with rave reviews, followed by 2005 with similar accolades, then back-to-back vintages of 2009 and 2010 were the best ever. Now, folks are saying 2015 could approach the lofty prestige of 2009/2010.

These perceptions drive market price for the wine. Wine from prestige estates, like Haut Brion, can fluctuate by hundreds of dollars per bottle simply because of the vintage’s and the winery’s reputation. For example, in January of this year, at K&L Wines (a retailer with an active web-based auction program), a bottle of the 1999 Haut Brion (a 93 from Parker) sold for $360, while the 1989 (a Parker 100) went for $1,500 only a week later.

First, let me tell you the Sauternes and Barsac stickies (that’s what those in the trade call these world-famous dessert wines) shone, especially those from Guiraud and Suduiraut. Well made Sauterne wine is not in-your-face sweet. Rather they are balanced with acidity to present a treat that resembles a ripe apricot. Texture, viscosity, flavor, and aroma make for a delight, just like a fresh picked, tree ripened stone fruit. And these evolve over time in the bottle, where the light liquid morphs into caramel-toned and the sweetness drops back to allow the fruit to shine.

We started with the whites from Pessac-Leognan. Generally, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, Chateau Pape Clement adds in Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle. Pape Clement is always one of the stand-outs in this category. 2015 is no exception. Viscous (it layers the glass), the nose is tropical, with tastes of pear, citrus, and tart apple.

Domaine de Chevalier also offers a remarkable white, amazing and aromatic. Smells of baking spices with tastes of peach and honey, it’s a delight. Chevalier is always reliable. Two years ago when we tasted the 2013 vintage, my favorite was Chevalier.

Rounding out the finest white being poured (outside of Sauternes) was Ch. Smith-Haut-Lafitte. Very strong aromas, some tropical. This showed more stone and slate in the tastes, along with stone fruits. Expect any of these to run $100 or more. Great investment for drinking in fifteen years.

I was disappointed to find that Ch. Lynch Bages (one of the stars of the Pauillac region) was not pouring its white. Maybe next time.

In my next column, I’ll discuss the reds. Evaluating red Bordeaux challenges most critics. Tasting a wine so full of tannins with less than a year of bottle age, it’s tough to get behind the overwhelming impact of the wine dehydrating your mouth to discern the hidden structure to make great or mediocre wine.

About the author

Signal Contributor

Signal Contributor

A collage of views of Bordeaux, France.. Courtesy photo

Carl Kanowsky: 2015 Bordeaux – some real winners

As fate would have it, I’m hobnobbing again in the realm of the rich and famous. Two weeks ago, I was on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, only a few doors down from Bijan’s garishly yellow Rolls Royce, sampling high-end Cabernets. Then, last Friday, I’m rubbing elbows with the 0.0001% at the exclusive and swanky The Beverly Hills Hotel, where a Superior Bungalow Suite goes for $3,000/night. (Stayed two nights – charged it to The Signal.)

The Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux, tasting the 2015 Vintage, drew me back to BH. Every year, almost two hundred of the more than 7,000 wineries in Bordeaux travel the USA and the world to premiere the vintage that is being released that year.

Just like Napa and Sonoma, Bordeaux is broken into numerous appellations. The best known are Pauillac, St. Julien, St. Estephe, Margaux, Pomerol, St. Emilion, Pessac Leognan, and Graves. Chateaux from all of these and others were present.

I’m not certain why, but the perception that a particular vintage is the “Best of the Century” seems to be happening more frequently than before. First, 1982 was the finest in decades, then came 2000 with rave reviews, followed by 2005 with similar accolades, then back-to-back vintages of 2009 and 2010 were the best ever. Now, folks are saying 2015 could approach the lofty prestige of 2009/2010.

These perceptions drive market price for the wine. Wine from prestige estates, like Haut Brion, can fluctuate by hundreds of dollars per bottle simply because of the vintage’s and the winery’s reputation. For example, in January of this year, at K&L Wines (a retailer with an active web-based auction program), a bottle of the 1999 Haut Brion (a 93 from Parker) sold for $360, while the 1989 (a Parker 100) went for $1,500 only a week later.

First, let me tell you the Sauternes and Barsac stickies (that’s what those in the trade call these world-famous dessert wines) shone, especially those from Guiraud and Suduiraut. Well made Sauterne wine is not in-your-face sweet. Rather they are balanced with acidity to present a treat that resembles a ripe apricot. Texture, viscosity, flavor, and aroma make for a delight, just like a fresh picked, tree ripened stone fruit. And these evolve over time in the bottle, where the light liquid morphs into caramel-toned and the sweetness drops back to allow the fruit to shine.

We started with the whites from Pessac-Leognan. Generally, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, Chateau Pape Clement adds in Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle. Pape Clement is always one of the stand-outs in this category. 2015 is no exception. Viscous (it layers the glass), the nose is tropical, with tastes of pear, citrus, and tart apple.

Domaine de Chevalier also offers a remarkable white, amazing and aromatic. Smells of baking spices with tastes of peach and honey, it’s a delight. Chevalier is always reliable. Two years ago when we tasted the 2013 vintage, my favorite was Chevalier.

Rounding out the finest white being poured (outside of Sauternes) was Ch. Smith-Haut-Lafitte. Very strong aromas, some tropical. This showed more stone and slate in the tastes, along with stone fruits. Expect any of these to run $100 or more. Great investment for drinking in fifteen years.

I was disappointed to find that Ch. Lynch Bages (one of the stars of the Pauillac region) was not pouring its white. Maybe next time.

In my next column, I’ll discuss the reds. Evaluating red Bordeaux challenges most critics. Tasting a wine so full of tannins with less than a year of bottle age, it’s tough to get behind the overwhelming impact of the wine dehydrating your mouth to discern the hidden structure to make great or mediocre wine.

Upcoming Events

Jan
12
Fri
all-day Domes – Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library
Domes – Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library
Jan 12 – May 11 all-day
Domes - Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Local resident Naomi Young, is the artist featured in the latest exhibit at the Old Town Newhall Library. The exhibit features original paintings and multimedia by Young, an artist born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel,[...]
Feb
1
Thu
all-day “The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarit... @ Valencia Library
“The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarit... @ Valencia Library
Feb 1 – Jun 1 all-day
“The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarita,” Art Exhibit @ Valencia Library  | Santa Clarita | California | United States
“THE GOLDEN OAKS OF SANTA CLARITA” ART EXHIBIT BY BRAD SERGI ON DISPLAY AT THE VALENCIA LIBRARY Library hours: Mon-Thu 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. – 5[...]
Feb
14
Wed
all-day Tickets Available Now for 41st A... @ Dodger Stadium
Tickets Available Now for 41st A... @ Dodger Stadium
Feb 14 – May 12 all-day
Tickets Available Now for 41st Annual SCV Dodger Day @ Dodger Stadium | Los Angeles | California | United States
SANTA CLARITA DODGER DAY TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Tickets Start at $25 and Benefit Local Schools and Non-Profits It’s time to step up to the plate! The Santa Clarita City Council invites residents to purchase[...]
Apr
19
Thu
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 19 – Apr 22 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
Apr
20
Fri
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 20 – Apr 23 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
7:00 pm Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Apr 20 @ 7:00 pm
Hart High School Presents 'Bye, Bye Birdie' @ Hart High school Auditorium | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Spring Musical Coming April 2018! Hart High Theatre is proud to present Bye Bye Birdie! April 19, 20, 27 & 28 @ 7pm April 28 & 29 @ 1pm When the draft selects rock star[...]
Apr
21
Sat
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 21 – Apr 24 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
10:00 am Astronomy Day @ Valencia Library
Astronomy Day @ Valencia Library
Apr 21 @ 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
The Local Group Astronomy Club and The Santa Clarita Public Library present our free annual Astronomy Day Celebration. We will be at the Valencia branch of the Santa Clarita Public Library from 10am to 3pm.[...]
10:00 am Resource Parents Needed to Foste... @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222
Resource Parents Needed to Foste... @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222
Apr 21 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Resource Parents Needed to Foster or Foster-Adopt a Child @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222 | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Adoption is a meaningful way for individuals and couples to fulfill their dream of parenting.  There are approximately 64,000 children in foster care in California.  Los Angeles County’s foster care population exceeds 21,000 children with[...]
10:00 am The City of Lancaster’s 27th Ann... @ Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park
The City of Lancaster’s 27th Ann... @ Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park
Apr 21 @ 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
The City of Lancaster’s 27th Annual California Poppy Festival, Sat & Sun @ Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park | Lancaster | California | United States
On April 21 and 22, the City of Lancaster will host the 27th annual California Poppy Festival™ at Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park (43063 10th Street West). Drawing more than 40,000 attendees and spanning 35[...]