The seventh annual Institute of Masters of Wine (North America) Bordeaux tasting mirrors the long-established annual Claret tasting in London, UK, and will showcase wines from the Grands Crus Classés of the Médoc and their equivalents from the Right Bank and Graves (including Sauternes). As is customary, the vintage to be tasted is five years prior to the year of the event (2015) allowing for professional assessment of the wines at a more accessible and revealing stage in their evolution.
Expectations were very high for the 2015 vintage, largely due to the quality of its numerical forebears – such as the fine vintages of 2005, 1995, and 1985. And initially the weather did indeed oblige, providing very warm and very dry conditions leading to an early budbreak and efficient flowering. But some vineyards suffered in the prolonged drought-like conditions, while heavy August rains – which continued in certain areas through September and early October – mean that the vintage is not quite as consistent as hoped, even though many great wines were undoubtedly produced. Vintage generalizations can often be misleading, but the wines of the right bank may have a slight edge over their Cabernet Sauvignon-based neighbors across the Gironde. The best reds of the vintage show full ripeness of fruit (with accompanying high alcohol levels), aromatic complexity, and silkiness of tannins. The 2015 vintage is also an excellent one for the sweet wines of Sauternes, where the onset of pourriture noble came very early, leading to rich, opulent wines but without any lack of freshness.
The IMW Bordeaux tasting will allow wine professionals the opportunity to taste a comprehensive range of crus classés from the most prestigious appellations of Bordeaux. This event is deliberately limited in attendee numbers to ensure that the wines are tasted in optimal conditions. Since its purpose is primarily educational rather than promotional, the tasting is in a walk-around, self-poured format. There will be a number of Masters of Wine in attendance who will be prepared to respond to your questions and comments.