Bordeaux 2015: The Role of the Merchant

With his final epistle, Jonathan White emphasises the merchant’s role in assessing and advising on Bordeaux 2015, a vintage about which the team is undoubtedly excited.

On Wednesday morning Christian Seely of Ch. Pichon Baron discussed with us the challenges of taking part in blind tastings and the difficulties faced when you are judging wines without any indication of their story, terroir or typical style and quality. This led me to think about the role of the true wine merchant during en primeur and the process of judging wines when they are so young – just six months old.

It is very hard to make completely definitive decisions about a wine’s quality at this age. However, we have a team of buyers and tasters who have been doing just that for many, many years. Some for over 20. That experience counts. What also helps is that all of our teams who visit Bordeaux to taste during en primeur are passionate about wine and have the privilege of tasting many wines from their creation, during their evolvement right through to when they are fully mature and/or intended to be enjoyed. It is the role of the wine merchant to understand and curate the wines; providing an analysis of quality, assess the price and advise thereafter – and that is exactly what we intend to do.

We spent Thursday tasting in Margaux and Pessac-Léognan and found several more impressive wines that we will have no hesitation in recommending. Wines from Ch. du Tertre, Ch. Giscours, Ch. d’Issan – probably the best we have ever tasted en primeur from this estate – Ch. Brane-Cantenac, Ch. Angludet, Domaine de Chevalier and Ch. Haut-Bailly were the highlights. I was particularly impressed with Haut-Bailly though. This is a terrific wine whose seductive nose is followed through right onto the palate and finish. A direct focus, precision and consistency of flavour. Glorious.

For more information on Bordeaux 2015 go to

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