Following a week-long tasting in Bordeaux here is a summary of key points on the vintage. The good wines really do excite and have a layer of complexity that will allow them to compete with some of the very best in years to come; they balance freshness, strong fruit flavours and a fine tannic structure.
We will be selecting the wines and releasing our offers on the individual Chateau that we feel represents value and outstanding quality.
Quite simply, don’t miss out!
2014 Bordeaux – Key points
2014 looks set to become the finest Bordeaux vintage since 2010. In terms of quality it sits behind 2010, 2009 & 2005 but ahead of every other vintage since 2000.
2014 is a ‘vigneron’s vintage’ meaning the success of the vintage was largely dependent on the winemaker’s ability to work with the conditions and employ good canopy management.
After a wet August, 2014 was saved by an Indian summer that occurred from early September to early October.
It was necessary not to pick the Merlots too late, preserving the freshness, acidities, and keeping alcohol on an even keel. Therefore the strengths of the vintage tend to lie with the later ripening Cabernets of the Medoc or on the right bank where Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon were used in greater proportions.
2014’s character is defined by a cool ripeness, freshness from the elevated levels of acidity, and a firm tannic structure. There is excellent concentration but importantly each chateau reflects its terroir perfectly in comparison to more homogenous vintages (such as 2009).
Yields see a return to normality with decent sized crops harvested throughout.
Cru Bourgeois – the value area of Bordeaux produced some tantalising ‘value buys’ that will have the ability to drink early or cellar for 5-8 years (Angludet, Beaumont Chasse Spleen, Cantemerle & Poujeaux excelled).
St Estephe – powerful, dense and concentrated in style. Wines that will require significant time in the cellar. Excellent quality particularly the second growths (Montrose & Cos D’Estournel) and several other notable chateaux.
Pauillac – appears to be the most successful and exciting appellation in 2014 producing wines of character, density, structure and power that are very much in the mould of 1996. (Outside of the first growths, Lynch Bages, Pontet Canet, Grand Puy Lacoste, Pichon Baron & Pichon Lalande were highly successful).
St Julien – Lots of consistency combining elegance, structure, purity and silky tannins. A few very exciting chateaux that will develop into profound 2014s (standouts, Talbot, Ducru Beaucaillou, Langoa Barton, Gruaud Larose & Beychevelle).
Margaux – typically erratic ranging from truly outstanding in a handful of cases (Palmer and Margaux) to mediocre at best.
Graves – The best vineyards excelled. Haut Brion, La Chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion , Haut Brion Blanc. Haut Bailly, Domaine de Chevalier Rouge, stood out.
St Emilion – surprisingly successful in many cases and exceptional at the very top end (Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Figeac, Pavie, Canon, Clos Fourtet). As a rule, the Chateaux that are located on the finest terroir performed at a level that could near 2010 over time.
Pomerol – some outstanding wines from the famous names (notably Gazin, Vieux Chateau Certan, Conseillante and Le Pin). As with St Emilion, terroir is hugely important to a successful outcome.
Dry Whites – due to the crisp freshness of the vintage there are some cracking dry whites. Those that were given long ‘hang-time’ had delicious ripe fruit flavour, married with the naturally high acidity gave fantastic tension. Haut Brion Blanc, Pavillon Blanc, Domaine de Chevalier Blanc.
Sauternes – Good levels of botrytis and notable acidity. Rich and opulent but with the acidity of the vintage complementing the wines well. Some caution needed.