CASE BUY ALERT!!! The Best Value of 2015? Neal Martin Thinks So – And We Agree!

Posted on: 06/18/18 12:33 PM


Regular readers of our Bordeaux e-mails will know that I try not to make everything about points. I’m a huge believer that there’s so much more to great wine than can be expressed with a single rating, and particularly for mature wines, many of the best values out there are almost by definition the ones that don’t get those big scores.

However, every now and then everything aligns. A château I love, a great vintage, an undervalued region, a brilliant wine, a low price, and a ridiculously good score.

There are also scores and there are scores. Some critics are known for being rather generous and grading all sorts of things highly. Others are harder to please, and a 92 point score from Neal Martin for a Bordeaux, given to the same wine twice in a row year after year, once for the Wine Advocate and once for Vinous, is unbelievably good for a $21 wine. For context, some other 2015 Bordeaux with the same score from these publications along with their average market prices include Lynch Bages $148, La Lagune $61, Beausejour Duffau $156, and Clerc Milon $81. Château Lafite’s second wine Carruades de Lafite has a 91 from Neal Martin in 2015, and would sell for over $300. Wine isn’t a numbers game- but sometimes when things are this ridiculous it’s hard not to sit up and take notice. We tasted this and I think Martin has got it bang on. An intense but totally clean and in no way overworked wine. This has significant weight behind it but is totally pure, with beautiful fruit and a silky-smooth texture. It’ll age nicely but is also totally drinkable already.

His original note came from a tasting he did of all the 2015 Cru Bourgeois in London in 2017, where this was the top was the top scoring wine out of 150. He followed it up with a similar note and the same score a year later. I’ve included both notes below.

It goes without saying that at this price and with these reviews this is going to fly. Buy now and buy as much as you can!

Château Fonréaud, Listrac-Médoc

“Tasted at the Cru Bourgeois annual tasting, the 2015 Fonreaud offers impressive, engaging blackberry and briary scents on the nose, well defined and focused with just a slight reduction that works in its favor. The palate is medium-bodied with firm but fine tannin, plenty of spice-tinged black fruit mixed with graphite and cedar toward the structured finish. I admire the length of this Listrac and I suspect it will give many years of pleasure. Sign me up!”

“The 2015 Fonréaud is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot cropped at 38Hl/Ha. It has a clean and fresh raspberry coulis, cranberry and strawberry scented bouquet with cedar and tobacco scents interwoven. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin, good depth, nicely structured but not unapproachable. It feels long and tender in the mouth with a crisp saline finish. This Listrac is just as good as it was at last year’s Cru Bourgeois tasting.”

Posted in Bordeaux List By Guy Davies