One of the most notable changes in Bordeaux over the past half-century is the addition of a second wine to almost every château’s portfolio. A focus on absolute quality means that younger vineyards, or any parcels which aren’t able to produce a particular style or quality, are bottled separately. Stricter quality means that today’s second wines are often higher in quality than first wines from the 1970s and ‘80s. In a great vintage such as 2015, buying a second wine from a top château means slightly earlier drinking and often great value.
La Chapelle de Potensac 2015 is a lovely little Left-Banker from the Delon family of Léoville-Las Cases and Potensac, of course. It already offers fabulous drinking.
The second wines of Domaine de Chevalier are some of the best value wines in all Bordeaux and have been perpetual Wine Cellar favourites. The blanc, in particular, offers Chevalier’s precision and depth and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ages for 2 decades.
Pichon-Lalande’s second label, the Réserve de la Comtesse 2015, is arguably a 5th Growth in quality. It heralds from young vines in prime Pauillac and offers classic styling with beautiful fruit purity.
Finally, we have a small parcel of the second wine from La Mission Haut-Brion. The 2015 La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion is perhaps the best value second wine from all the First Growths.
La Chapelle de Potensac, Médoc 2015
The 2015 Chapelle de Potensac is a blend of 71% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, matured in 10% new oak. It has a perfumed bouquet with blackberry, raspberry coulis and cold stone scents, powered by that ripe Merlot. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly edgy, grainy tannin, a keen line of acidity and an attractive, cedar-infused finish. Enjoy this deuxième vin over the next 6-8 years. – Wine Advocate, 87-89/100
L’Esprit de Chevalier, Pessac-Léognan Rouge 2015
Impressive aromas and flavors of violets, blueberries and blackberries. This has a very plush and open-knit palate. A supple, fleshy and seductive style. Drink or hold. – James Suckling, 93/100
L’Esprit de Chevalier, Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2015
The 2015 L’ Esprit de Chevalier Blanc has a reticent nose with lemons and chalk, fresh limes and almonds with a peachy undercurrent. It’s medium-bodied with nice expression and a racy backbone, finishing long. – Wine Advocate, 90/100
Réserve de la Comtesse, Pauillac 2015
The 2015 Réserve de la Comtesse is a powerful, tannic second wine that looks like it will need a few years in bottle to come together, as its structural spine is imposing at this stage. Dark, brooding and intense,
La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan 2015
Composed of 30% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, the medium garnet-purple colored 2015 La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion opens with an earthy nose of mossy bark, fragrant soil and fallen leaves over a core of red and black currants, bay leaves and menthol plus a waft of violets. Medium to full-bodied, it has compelling restraint and elegance with soft tannins and great freshness, finishing on a mineral note. Possessing the spirit and many of the signature hallmarks of its big brother, this second wine of La Mission Haut-Brion is certainly nothing to sneeze at! – Wine Advocate, 92/100