The 2014 vintage in Bordeaux

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by Aymeric de Clouet

Originally written in French

The 2014 vintage in Bordeaux : a fair vintage, in the end

This week was held the “En primeurs” tasting in Bordeaux. The general impression is a pleasant one, although not impressive. Tannins are soft, acidity good but not too high, average to good length on the palate, one can say that 2014 is a fine classic Bordeaux vintage.

It all comes down to this : if prices are kept low, it is a good vintage to buy, if not, it will be a disaster for Bordeaux and all players in the industry. The wine does not justify a price increase, it is better than 2011, 2012 and 2013 but those vintages did not sell ! For example, this year, in my rating system, I put no wine with five stars, and only a handful with four.

Basically, as all visitors of the Atlantic coast could see last year, the weather was terrible until august 15. Then : dry & sunny until late october ! therefore the quality went to the late harvesters.

Let us get to business : the right bank was said to have very poor wines, because of the Merlot grape variety, in fact I was rather pleasantly surprised with some very good wines, but not a lot : Ausone stands out, but also Troplong-Mondot, exceptional, and a few others like La Couspaude, Clos Fourtet. Big disappointment with Figeac. The Pomerol are more difficult, but Gazin is excellent and Beauregard impressive.

The left bank, with the Cabernet-Sauvignon, is considered to be more successful this year : it is perfectly true for Saint-Julien, with the best average grades in Médoc, no wine standing out but none left aside ! As for the Pauillac area, with the great Pichon Baron and Pontet Canet (****), and the very good Clerc-Milon and Grand-Puy-Lacoste, it is rather good but not fantastic. Then comes Saint-Estèphe, some very good wines fairly priced (in general): Château de Pez, Les Ormes de Pez, Lafon-Rochet (***) etc... And Margaux, the worst area, few wines worth saving : Brane-Cantenac, Dauzac and the only 3 stars wine, Malescot-St-Exupéry…

Last, this time, the Graves area : whites are ok but some too soft; so I recommend the usual selection : La Louvière, La Tour-Martillac, Olivier. As for the reds, big recommendation on Picque-Caillou (***), a well-priced Pessac with a fantastic terroir. Domaine de Chevalier and La Louvière are good (***), Smith Haut Lafitte and La Tour Martillac rather good (**), Pape-Clément catastrophic.
So, an interesting tasting, good wines which will be easy to drink young, a few very good, not always the most expensive ones ! Go for it if prices are stable.