Why wine experts are excited about Bordeaux 2015 vintage

Those who know a thing or two about wine have hailed the Bordeaux 2015 vintage.

Why wine experts are excited about Bordeaux 2015 vintage
Photo: AFP

Winemakers in Bordeaux, cheered by last year's ideal growing conditions, have said they expected 2015 to be a “magnificent” vintage.

Now expert buyers have confirmed the prediction.

“This is something to get excited about,” said prominent oenologist Michel Rolland at the region's annual futures tastings.

“It's a great vintage with precise wines, better than any we've ever made,” he said. “It has the power of the 2005s and… the body and sunny charm of the 2009s.”

South African Neil Pendock, who owns a wine shop in Cape Town, agreed.

“I've been coming for the primeur tastings for about four, five years now and this is the best,” he said, praising the wine's accessibility and fruitiness.

“I think you'll have a big success here,” he said.

Wine expert Stephan Toutoundji of tasting laboratory Oenoteam in nearby Libourne in southwest France said the exceptional quality was true across all the Bordeaux labels for 2015, “on a par with the last great ones — 2005, 2009 and 2010”.

Wine futures are sold to buyers on exclusive contracts who then resell their selections to clients who will not receive their wine until it goes on the market in 18 months.

The system is used by only 150 Bordeaux wineries representing around two percent of production.

The opinions of the expert tasters attending the annual week-long event are crucial to future sales and help determine the prices that will be set at the end of May.

The high praise was encouraging news for Bordeaux growers after a lacklustre 2013 and an average 2014.

“Conditions are in place for everyone to do very good business,” said Olivier Bernard, head of the Bordeaux wine federation that organises the futures tastings.

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Cold snap ‘could slash French wine harvest by 30 percent’

A rare cold snap that froze vineyards across much of France this month could see harvest yields drop by around a third this year, France's national agriculture observatory said on Thursday.

Cold snap 'could slash French wine harvest by 30 percent'
A winemaker checks whether there is life in the buds of his vineyard in Le Landreau, near Nantes in western France, on April 12th, following several nights of frost. Photo: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP

Winemakers were forced to light fires and candles among their vines as nighttime temperatures plunged after weeks of unseasonably warm weather that had spurred early budding.

Scores of vulnerable fruit and vegetable orchards were also hit in what Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie called “probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century.”

IN PICTURES: French vineyards ablaze in bid to ward off frosts

The government has promised more than €1 billion in aid for destroyed grapes and other crops.

Based on reported losses so far, the damage could result in up to 15 million fewer hectolitres of wine, a drop of 28 to 30 percent from the average yields over the past five years, the FranceAgriMer agency said.

That would represent €1.5 to €2 billion of lost revenue for the sector, Ygor Gibelind, head of the agency’s wine division, said by videoconference.

It would also roughly coincide with the tally from France’s FNSEA agriculture union.

Prime Minister Jean Castex vowed during a visit to damaged fields in southern France last Saturday that the emergency aid would be made available in the coming days to help farmers cope with the “exceptional situation.”

READ ALSO: ‘We’ve lost at least 70,000 bottles’ – French winemakers count the cost of late frosts