Like Margaux? Like St Julien? If you’re even reading this e-mail, I’d be very surprised if the answer was not a resounding yes.
You might know that 2015 is a wonderful year for Bordeaux in general, and probably the most revered vintage for the Margaux appellation since 1983 (it’s the only part of Bordeaux where the 83s are even better than the 82s).
You might know that St Julien is the smallest of Bordeaux’s prestigious left bank appellations, and its most reliable. Everything made there is serious, and almost all of the Châteaux are classified growths.
You might think that the chance to pick up bargain 2015s from St Julien and Margaux had come and gone. In general, you’d be right.
Today however- I’m thrilled to offer two ridiculous deals. Both of them the same price, both superb examples of their appellations and the brilliance of 2015. I’ve found tasting notes and scores from five different sources for these two, and all of them are 90+. I’ve used the notes from more familiar sources below, but it’s worth noting that the Glana has 93 points in Decanter and 90 from James Suckling, while the Deyrem Valentin gets 93 from Wine Enthusiast. Consensus like this from the greatest Cabernet terroir in the world does not come easy at this price.
2015 Château du Glana, St Julien
Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 du Glana is scented of black currants, black berries and mulberries with touches of beef, cigar box and menthol. The palate is medium to full-bodied with firm, chewy tannins and a good fruit core, finishing long. 90+ pts., Lisa Perotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate
2015 Château Deyrem Valentin, Margaux
Tasted at the Cru Bourgeois annual tasting, the 2015 Deyrem Valentin has an intense bouquet with powerful black cherry and raspberry fruit, a light graphite and marine influence surfacing with time. The palate is medium-bodied with soft tannin, here a mixture of red and black fruit, quite corpulent in the mouth but with a very pure and lightly spiced finish. This is another impressive wine from this estate that deserves a higher profile. Tasted September 2017. 91 pts., Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
More about the wines:
I mentioned above that almost everything in St Julien is included in Bordeaux’s 1855 classification of the top châteaux. Du Glana is an exception, but they have a pretty good excuse in that the estate was only founded in 1870. Up till then, most of the vineyards had been a part of neighbouring fourth growth Château Saint Pierre. This timing proved most unfortunate. I imagine no one in the 1860s had the remotest conception of the massive influence that the 1855 classification, created for use only at the world’s fair in Paris that year, would have throughout the generations. While attention from the wine loving world was lavished upon the tiny village of St Julien, du Glana was pretty much left on the shelf, unloved, underappreciated, and eventually as a result, neglected. This started to turn around only in the second half of the 20th century, and particularly, in the early years of the 21st. Replanting and renovations were completed in 2003, and in recent years, du Glana is finally showing it’s full potential. As a result of it’s history however, it remains unusually well priced, and one of the best sources of value in the left bank.
Deyrem Valentin is in a way a similar story. Older, as it was founded in the 19th century, but as so often with the best value finds, it is also a recently awoken sleeping beauty. The potential here is huge, with thirteen hectares (a large portion of which previously belonged to Château Palmer), of vines up to 100 years old (a real rarity in the Médoc), on gravel and clay.
Unlike du Glana, I don’t actually quite know what has happened here to make the difference, but in recent years the quality seems to have exploded. Having never received a Wine Advocate score above 87 up until 2010, their last four vintages have all been 90 or above. I am a particularly big fan of their 2015, not surprising given the quality of the vintage in Margaux, and at this price it is an almost unbelievably good buy.