The 2015 vintage was a hot vintage – and a dry vintage during the summer, and even though rain came in August some vineyards and especially younger vines seem to have suffered from lack of water.
Some vines apparently got stressed by the lack of water during the summer, while other vineyards/areas have a better supply of water (humidity in the soil) and the vines here seem have done better. This can perhaps explain why some specific vineyards/areas has produced some quite extraordinary wines in this vintage.
Examples – Vosne Romanée Les Suchots and Clos de Vougeot
In my view the lower part of Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots has done tremendously well in 2015 – a vineyard that normally suffer from humid conditions and even flooding in humid periods. Especially some areas in the middle part of the lower section of the vineyard can have standing water in humid periods (Lac Vosne) – and wines coming from this area seem to have benefited from the rich and humid soil in 2015.
Another example could be Clos de Vougeot where many of the wines are surprisingly vibrant and fresh – and often offering a lovly acidity and vibrant energy. Larger parts of Clos de Vougeout can suffer from excessive water in humid years – and the soil is quite rich and can hold a lot of humidity. Wines coming from the middle and lower part of Clos de Vougeot have done remarkably well in 2015 – offering a quite surprising freshness and presumably even acidity. This could be an effect of the good humidity in the soil.
Age of wines and viticulture important
To blur the picture is however the age of the vines and the viticulture. Old vines will normally have deeper and more extensive roots and will be able to access water deeper in the soil. Organic and biodynamic viticulture would under normal circumstances also ensure vines with more healthy and deeper roots – hence also vines that will be able to access water in the deeper layers of the soil.
The effects of the Water Stress
In my view the fruit in some 2015s lacks the sparkle, or call it the inner radiance and energy – they are instead a bit dark and dense with a slightly dry feel of extract – a slight austerity if you like. These wines are very different from vines made from cool areas and seemingly also wines made from soils with a good or even sufficient humidity.
The wines affected by the water stress can still be fine – but they do not have the unique vibrant energy found in the very best wines of the 2015 vintage.
On the contrary the humid areas seem to have done very well – I’m normally not a great fan of many of the wines from Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots – but this vineyard has well and truly over-performed in 2015. In this vintage there are produced some truly magnificent and energetic wines – wines that offer the special qualities and best sides of the 2015 vintage.I do also think that Clos de Vougeot has produced some truly outstanding wines – with a delicate balance between freshness and power – wines that will be cherished for decades.
The 2015s might be hyped and called a great vintage – but one should nevertheless look carefully and seek out the true gems of the vintage – because these wines can well be among he best wines produced in Burgundy for decades.
In my view the drought and water stress could well be the reason why 2015 perhaps not quite match the very best vintages of the last century. But it’s regardless of this a truly outstanding and in some cases truly extraordinary vintage.
So my advice – look for the cool terroirs and look for the the vineyards with a high humidity in 2015 – when you look for the under the radar magic of this vintage. And one could even add – look for wines made by producers that works organically in the vineyards and lastly those produced from old vines.