A very busy day in the Bordeaux campaign with the release of a trio of excellent Right Bank wines, Clos Fourtet, Ch Figeac and La Conseillante, in the morning , followed by Francois-Xavier Borie’s Grand Puy Lacoste and Haut Batailley this afternoon.
2014 Clos Fourtet 1er Grand Cru Classé St Emilion:
£490.00 per 12 In Bond
Clos Fourtet continues its amazing run of form since 2009 (RP 100/100) with a 2014 release that everyone in the buying team felt was one of the standout St Emilions. Displaying wonderfully defined dark fruit flavours, fine velvety tannins and exquisite balance, the 2014 is a hugely attractive medium weight wine that will appeal to all who taste it. At £490 IB we feel that this is a genuinely attractive addition to the cellar.
One of the standout St Emilions in the UGC tasting. Bright shining purple colour, striking sloe and tayberry fruit flavours, this is a wine of charm and harmony with its gentle velvety tannins and subtle sweetness of fruit on the finish. Very good indeed. Drink: 2022-2032
Score: 92-94. David Roberts MW
2014 Ch Figeac 1er Grand Cru Classé St Emilion:
£575.00 per 12 In Bond
The release of Figeac today at £575 IB completes our St Emilion duo. This is without doubt a glorious 2014 from the new regime at this great chateau. Figeac thrives on more gravel based soils which allow the Cabernet Sauvignon to form a greater part of the blend than is generally the norm in St Emilion. An incredible 32% made it into the 2014 which is especially significant as the Cabernets are so spectacular this year. Consequently Figeac displays more masculinity than Clos Fourtet this year with more Medoc-like yet finely engrained tannins and considerable concentration. This is a very fine St Emilion in 2014 and one that will require a minimum of 8 years in the cellar with the ability to improve way beyond this.
The new regime at Figeac has made huge strides in driving the quality of this famous estate even higher. The uniquely deep gravel soils make this the perfect terroir for Cabernet Sauvignon, hence the 44% in the finished blend this year. A fine balance between exuberant spiced dark fruits and a fresh sturdiness. Concentrated and long, there is a hint of Médoc masculinity to this wine and yet it finishes very fine indeed. Huge potential. Drink: 2023-2035
Score: 93-95. David Roberts MW
2014 La Conseillante Pomerol
£640.00 per 12 In Bond
This very impressive Pomerol estate continues to show its outstanding form, producing an elegant, supple fruit driven wine that is exceptionally pure and not forced in any way. This 2014 has cherry, plums, soy spice and tobacco; it is beautifully aromatic with silk like structure. This is a high class offering.
On a quality/price ratio, at £640 per 12 IB, this certainly delivers, especially when compared to its direct competition. Showing the pedigree of its terroir on the Pomerol plateau, one of its direct neighbours, L’Evangile has just released at £865, L’Eglise Client is £1,300, while VCC and Cheval Blanc are yet to release but will be considerably more
This is a favourite property of mine, and it is wonderful to see it absolutely on fire in the quality spectrum. Brilliant purple in colour, this has vibrant fresh pure red cherry aromas. A wine balancing finesse with intensity, there is an excellent concentration of both flavours and weight, with its lively fresh Victoria plum characteristics. A wine of great purity and freshness.
Score: 92-94. David Roberts MW
This afternoon saw the release of Grand Puy Lacoste and Haut Batailley, unquestionably two of the star buys of the vintage; Francois Xavier Borie is making fabulous wines at the moment.
There are a number of outstanding 5th Growths but Ch Grand Puy Lacoste 5eme Cru Pauillac may be the finest of all. Their wines regularly outshine some of the best known and most expensive wines of the Medoc, as the critics’ scores below attest. They are classic Pauillac, powerful, structured and beautifully balanced and this 2014 is no exception. It has that tell-tale balance of fruit and acidity of the best wines of the vintage.
As to the Ch Haut Batailley, it is just fabulous, great value and a wine that we should all have in our cellars. The other lovely thing about the Château is that it is family run and Francois-Xavier Borie and his children are some of the nicest and warmest of all the Medoc proprietors.
2014 Ch Grand Puy Lacoste 5eme Cru Pauillac:
£375.00 per 12 In Bond
It is always such a pleasure tasting with Emeline and Xavier Borie; not only do they themselves exude charm, but so do their wines. Concentrating on a high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, this has an exquisite nose of damsons and tayberries. An extremely broad and rounded mouthfeel with fully developed tannins is helped by a harmonious freshness and lasting sensation of sweetness. As always a fine glass of Claret. Drink: 2023-2033
Score: 91-93. David Roberts MW
The Château Grand Puy Lacoste 2014 is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon and 18% Merlot between 25 September and 9 October at 33 hectoliter per hectare. The aromatics are not as immediate as the Haut-Batailley and demand more coaxing from the glass, but that comes with the territory. It unfurls with each swirl, black fruits at first, then GPL’s trademark, graphite and gravel scents storm into the room. Leaving the glass aside for 10 minutes there is a distant tang of shucked oyster shells. The palate is understated on the entry. This is not a powerhouse Grand-Puy-Lacoste, rather one that emphasizes finesse and precision. It is almost unerringly low-key and yet there is an enormous length already in place. As usual, I suspect that its secrets (or at least some of them) will be unlocked during its barrel maturation. One of the appellation’s most cerebral offerings. Drink: 2020-2045.
Score: 93/95 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (218)
2014 Ch Haut Batailley 5eme Cru Pauillac
£225.00 per 12 In Bond
A star wine, punching well above its classification. Direct, intense blackberry aromas carry through into the palate. A classic example of all the very best characteristics of the vintage: structured tannins, lively freshness and sweet dark berry fruits. Top class. Drink: 2022-2029
Score: 90-92. David Roberts MW
The Château Haut-Batailley 2014 is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Merlot picked between 25 September and 9 October at 33hl/ha. The nose seems to revel in that Cabernet Sauvignon: sensual black fruit on the nose mixed with minerals and incense aromas. It offers knockout precision. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannin that are enveloped in pure black cherry fruit mixed with blueberry and even hints of orange rind. There is already plenty of energy coiled up in this Haut-Batailley – a splendid Pauillac in the making. Drink: 2019-2032.
Score: 91-93 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (218)