100-Point Winemaker’s “Super-impressive” Cru Bourgeois
From Bordeaux’s extraordinary 2015 — “easily the best vintage since 2010” raves Wine Spectator — our Cru Bourgeois pick is this chewy black-and-red-fruited Haut-Médoc stunner from Château Malescasse. “This is a fantastic example of this wine with wonderful richness and depth,” swooned James Suckling in a 93-94 point review of a wine that “Goes on for minutes.” Vinous’s Antonio Galloni found it “terrific,” “a wine of energy and real class” that “is super-impressive today.” This superb effort bears the fingerprints of Bordeaux mastermind Stéphane Derenoncourt, author of four 100-point wines from 2009 alone. Under his supervision, the château’s densely planted gravel vineyards, some of the best-situated in all of the Médoc, performed to perfection in 2015. A historic year for Margaux, Pomerol, and Saint-Émilion — all of which outpointed the legendary 2010, according to Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate — the 2015 Cru Bourgeois wines deserve special attention as a trove of incredible value. At a razor-sharp $19.99, this Malescasse is unquestionably one the Left Bank’s most impressive finds.
While all of The Wine Advocate’s coverage of the 2015 vintage in Bordeaux is worth absorbing, the exegesis on the Cru Bourgeois category, entitled “Affordable Treasure,” may yield the most rewards. “This vintage ought to be rich-pickings for Bordeaux lovers seeking affordable, good quality Bordeaux,” Neal Martin wrote for Parker’s publication. “These are wines inclined to paste stupid big grins on your face, as their quality truly sparkles; moreover, they probably cost a fraction of nearly every Grand Cru Classé.”
Clive Coates MW has argued — and we concur — that Château Malescasse is one of the best and most consistent bourgeois Médocs of the past 20 years. Founded in 1824, the estate lies in the Lamarque commune, at the Médoc’s highest elevation, directly between Margaux and Saint-Julien. The famous gravel coupes offer 35-year-old vines poor, deep, well-draining soil mixed with clay and sand, and a mild microclimate gently cooled by the Gironde river. One of Bordeaux’s great value buys in any vintage, the 2015 is truly exceptional.