As the wines are being runoff their skins and starting the final step of turning into stable wine (malolactic fermentation is underway), we are beginning to see what 2015 has given us. The wine laden ‘marc’ of skins and pips is being shovelled out of the vats and pressed. Large piles of violet dried skins are turning up outside each winery (like a giant purple mole has run amock underground) waiting to be collected to be turned into industrial alcohol (nothing to waste here).
It is of course too early to say but there is talk already of the nature of this vintage ending with a five, noticeably lucky in the past. What can we say so far…
- Very long picking period which started for the reds 20th September and ended here with Cabernet Franc at Valandraud on 20th October. There was no rush to pick as the autumn conditions stayed good and there was no rot at all
- Alcohol levels are high due to the sunny summer, depending on picking date
- Colour is deep yet there is talk that tannins are not that strong but beautifully ripe and silky
- Acidity levels are relatively low due to the sunny, warm weather and so the vintage is being judged as not as superlatively balanced as the 2010s for example but time will tell
- Very rich concentrated wines with lots of creamy texture and deep black fruit flavours like blackberry pie and cream
- The best winemakers have favoured a long slow extraction with little pumping over but long ‘cuvaison’ (time in the vat on the skins) of around 5 weeks – taking what nature gives easily and it has been very giving this year! (perhaps to make up for her harsh behaviour in recent years).
- Very, very healthy crop