Bordeaux vintage 2014 primeur

26. April 2015Deutsch

2014, the best vintage since 2010

Related topics

Bordeaux Vintage 2014 (German language)
Premiere en Primeurs

Tasting notes vintage 2014

Left Bank / Médoc

- Château Margaux (97-100 WR) - release 240.- € (+11%)
- Château Montrose (96-99 WR) - release 88,80€ (+52%)
- Château Pichon Comtesse de Lalande (96-98 WR) - release 64,80 € (+13%)
- Château Latour (95-98 WR)
- Château Lafite Rothschild (94-98 WR) - release 288.- € (+0%)
- Château Léoville Las Cases (94-98 WR) - release 96.- € (+22%)
- Château Cos d`Estournel (93-96 WR) - release 84,50 € (+3%)
- Château Pontet Canet (93-96 WR) - release 66.- € (+10%)
- Château Ducru Beaucaillou (93-96 WR) - release 79,20 € (+20%)
- Château Lynch Bages (93-96 WR) - release 60 € (+20%)
- Château Pichon Baron (92-95 WR) - release 66 € (+22%)
- Château Léoville Barton (86-89 WR) - release 44,40 € (+3%)
- Château Mouton Rothschild (84-88 WR*) - release 240 € (+11%)

Right Bank / Pomerol / Saint-Émilion

- Château Lafleur (98-100 WR) - release 330.- €
- Château Le Pin (97-100 WR)
- Château Cheval Blanc (96-99 WR) - release 360.- € (+20%)
- Vieux Château Certan (95-97 WR) - release 102.- € (+13%)
- Château L`Évangile (94-96 WR) - release 90 € (-10%)
- Château Troplong-Mondot (93-96 WR) - release 57,60 € (+9%)
- Château La Conseillante (92-95 WR) - release 66.- € (+16%)
- Château l`Eglise-Clinet (90-93 WR) - release 132 € (+25%)
- Château Rol Valentin (90-93 WR)
- Château Ausone (88-92 WR) - release 360.- € (+20%)
- Château Angélus (84-88 WR) - release 180 € (+9%)

White wines / Sauternes

- Château d`Yquem (98-100 WR)
- Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux (97-100 WR)
- Château Cos d`Estournel Blanc (95-98 WR)

April 4th, 2015

This year the Primeur week ended with the Easter holidays. As they added one additional day to the official program, there seemed to much fewer people around, especially at the beginning of the week the tasting rooms felt extremely “empty”. This may be because the UGCB tastings only began on Tuesday. Except for one slightly sunny morning the event was unfortunately dominated by continuous rain. Almost no Château was able to put up with these difficult weather conditions, visitors were often forced to cover larger distances from the parking lot to the tasting room in the sodden clay. The often hired parking security, themselves drenched with rain, but they had no mercy and sent the guests in the far. Even for the most experienced taster, it is a challenge to completely shake off this negative sentiment during the tasting.

Much more enjoyable was the quality of the wines! Very often we heard the politically correct comment that 2014 was the best vintage since 2010. No doubt, that`s true in every case. Some grapes ripened on the vine for over 120 days, a very long period of growth. The left bank benefited from Cabernet Sauvignon, the right bank from Cabernet Franc. Calling it a a "Cabernet-year" would be a mistake anyway, as the Merlot showed itself in top form in the northern St. Estèphe. 2014 was a classic terroir year, the best soils and the best microclimate also generated the best wines. With so many fantastic options to choose from, buyers can count themselves very lucky. Unfortunately there were prominent mistake as well and it is very important to know about those.

Big success for Montrose 2014.

The delayed summer only starting on August 12th literally saved the vintage with hot and dry weather until the harvest was due in October. Previously, it has been raining a lot, especially in St. Emilion and Pomerol. The small, fully ripened grapes yielded wines of high concentration and intensity, high acid value gives them freshness and a long life. The best producers used these conditions for wines with elegance, balance and sweet fruit that give great drinking pleasure even now having been in the barrel for only a few months. The less successful wines showed a significant over-extraction and thus an unpleasant aftertaste with dry tannins. So this time it was not the weather to blame for the heterogeneity of the results, but the terroir and the processing in the cellar. The harvest was not only very late in 2014 but they also took up a long period of time. Overall a really good year, some say, a very good one. The word “great” was nowhere to be mentioned, too high is the reverence of the two-century vintages 2009 and 2010. Yields were not small this time, but still below the long-term average. Happy faces everywhere, especially in those who presented mediocre wines - that`s just Bordeaux.

Although the producers tried to avoid the discussion, the biggest issues were the high prices. It is still written in the stars whether the 2014 vintage will be an economical success, the industry is waiting for the prices to be released. Traders in the wine business are not keen on buying another overprices vintage, as they are still struggling to sell the expensive wines of the last couple of years. Some wine merchants literally just arrived in order to talk to the Château owners and explain the seriousness of the situation. However, we all know that this won't make a change. Even Robert Parker has been asking for a lower price policy for years - adequate to the quality. Everyone agreed that another unsuccessful campaign would kill the system of Primeur for good.

Left bank (Médoc)

There is a very high concentration of outstanding wines on the left bank. Due to less rain and the higher percentage of Merlot, which succeeded extremely well on clay soils, the further north we went, the better the wines became. A prime example is Château Montrose, they produced a fantastic wine in their new winery. Also Cos d`Estournel astonished with an amazing Grand Vin.

Château Latour also presented the classic 100 pointer from 2003.

At Lafite Rothschild the result was impressive, but not spectacular. Neighbor Mouton Rothschild was less successful - once again they were not able to use the good weather conditions and fail to produce on the same level as their competitors. Pontet Canet is a phenomenon as they presented a smooth and velvety 2014 vintage, even if the extra mile of acid and structure are missing. Also silky smooth and seductive as usual, but just a tad better was Pichon Lalande. The winery just finished their brand new cellar and achieved something that they had not intended: the production of a classic, precise, harmonious and perfect wine. Lalande lovers are recommended to buy this vintage no matter how good or bad the critics will rate. Across the street at Pichon Baron you will have to wait for another year or two in order to be able to experience something alike. Obviously high-tech wine cellars have the characteristic of exposing the inner genes of a Château to perfection rather than changing them it artificially.

Château Latour introduced its classic power wine, a full-blooded Pauillac for real men who are looking forward to many more years of waiting before enjoying this treasure. No doubt, their vintage of 2003, which they presented simultaneously is ready to be opened. After all, 100 Parker points are difficult to do justice, but it kept its promise: incredible fruit sweetness, strong but beautifully integrated tannins and perfect balance. The ex-Château price is 600 €, for a 100-Latour points it may not be exaggerated.

The wines of St. Julien struggled a bit with tannins. What we liked best was Durcu Beaucaillou since their wines are getting better and better and are looking much alike Las Cases. This time their neighbor Leoville Barton was not able to convince, the tannins were just to dry and hard on the finish. Antony Barton seems to be seriously ill, but it is pure speculation whether this has an impact on the quality of their wine.

Similar to a Pauillac, Leoville Las Cases presented a masculine wine with powerful fruit and very strong tannins, it is difficult to distinguish it from Latour.

And then there is Château Margaux. This Chateau has definitely proven its exceptional position in 2014 and produced a wine with a quality that not only left all tasters in the room speechless, but all other châteaux far behind. Nobody we asked in the course of the week doubted their class and special position – probably not just our wine of the year.

Also the white wine from Château Margaux plays in its own league. 100% Sauvignon Blanc.

In a sea of red wine you should never forget to have a look at the extremely rare and exquisite white wines, which are usually a blend of Sémillion and Sauvignon Blanc. It is quite seldom that red and white wine come out great in the same year, but in 2014 this is definitely the case. With seductive fruit and fresh and pleasant acidity, those white wines can be spectacular, we are still dreaming about the Cos d`Estournel Blanc and Château Margaux Pavillon Blanc. Château d`Yquem once again produced an outstanding wine since it was a good year for Sauternes anyway, but this time it literally tasted of melting apricot and honey.

Right bank (Libornais)

It was generally admitted that 2014 was a year of the left bank and we agree, however, it is not true overall. We experienced sensational wines on the right bank in Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, as well as disappointments on both sides. At the border of Cabernet Franc and Pomerol /Saint-Emilion the grapes had reached a perfect maturity and therefor came out as rich-tasting wines. At Château Cheval Blanc we tasted everything you are looking for in a phenomenal wine: an endless finish and powerful fruit - one of the best sips we had this week. Vieux Château Certan plays in the upper league since owner and perfectionist Alexandre Thienpont leaves absolutely nothing to chance. This wine is light yet fruity with a high complexion and berry-tasting tannins at the finish - a wine in perfection. It is such a great pleasure to enjoy this vintage, if you ever have the chance to taste this treasure, please don't miss out.

Cheval Blanc with the best wine from appellation Saint-Émilion in 2014.

With more character a few edges come along, but the 2014 vintage of Troplong-Mondot is still better than the already wonderful 2011. After the vertical tasting it cannot be denied, that the 2010 is unreachable as this wine performs with great class. The Château is still mourning about the early death of Christine Valette, but her husband, Xavier Pariente, is putting up a good front and is tremendously encouraged to produce a great vintage and to find a way to a happy future with his five daughters – even without their mother.

La Conseillante shines as usual with its amazing price-pleasure ratio. It is nothing new to a connoisseur that they own a great terroir and work carefully and with precision.

With L`Eglise Clinet we were a bit disappointed. Denis Durantou did not managed to make a great wine - it tasted simply over-extracted. Château Angelus showed hard, dry tannins, which dominated the finish and had no fruit – difficult. After prices have gone crazy since their classification went up, this wine is only recommended for label drinkers. Experts in Bordeaux recommended excellent vintages, but all of them older than 2000.

Rol Valentin may not be one of the worlds best, but is definitely one of our favorite wines: very down-to-earth and made with love for only 20 – 30 Euro a bottle, his wine is highly appreciated. When we tasted Ausone with Alain Vauthier right after, we couldn't believe our eyes. The price difference is insane and the quality does not show as expected. Ausone is a fine wine without emotion, which is missing out completely when it comes to a powerful finish.

It happens frequently that big names cannot handle a supposably good vintage, but how is this possible? And on top of that you need to buy dozens of their other wines worth a fortune in order even be allowed to buy their first wine. Ausone produces about half a million bottles of wine including only 15,000 bottles of the Grand Vin Ausone.

Barrel tasting of Le Pin 2014 with Jacques Thienpont, owner of this legendary Château.

But lets get down to the superstars of Pomerol, Le Pin and Lafleur. They both play in their own league and cannot be compared with anything else produced at Bordeaux. These two extraordinary small Châteaux work with an approach that is very similar to winemaking in Burgundy – La Fleur even names its wines Village, Premier Cru and Grand Cru. Both Châteaux produce significantly less than 10,000 bottles a year and are much more legendary than even Pétrus. The release prices of these two producers are "only" at a few hundred euros, the market prices are at a full 4-digit number – if you ever manage to find a bottle. They are looking for real wine enthusiasts who will open and enjoy their bottle instead of buying it for reasons of speculation only.

Le Pin colored of bright cherry red and exudes an intense and delicate flavor of fresh strawberries. We experienced an explosion of fruit flavors that continued seamlessly into an endless finish - sensual and weightless, a breathtaking experience. How will this wine develop after a few years in the bottle? Everything is very similar to Lafleur, which brings somewhat more weight and feels stronger and more intense. The finish lasts for five minutes at least and demands full concentration of the drinker. Clearly, this wine is close to drug abuse.

March 11, 2015

Every year thousands of wine professionals flood the tasting rooms in Bordeaux to taste the new vintage from barrel. will take a full week to taste and report to our readers.

Venues this year:
    - Château Smith Haut Lafitte: Graves & Pessac-Légnan - Clos Fourtet: Saint-Emilion Grand Cru - Château Petit-Village: Pomerol - Château de Lamarque: Médoc, Haut Médoc, Moulis & Listrac - Château Dauzac: Margaux - Chateau Leoville Poyferré: Saint-Julien - Château Lynch-Moussa: Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe - Château La Lagune: Sauternes et Barsac

It was shocking to everyone, that Robert Parker will no longer taste at Primeur week himself, but will be replaced by Neal Martin. After 2002 this is the second time that Parker was not there to form his own opinion, it is still written in the start whether he will ever return. It will take some time to see the impact that this change will have on the market. Even if we appreciate Neal Martin's opinion very much, his judgment does not have the weight of Parker's by far.

March 1st, 2015

With ProWein and Bordeaux Primeur week two major events are awaiting wine lovers. The UGCB and almost all Chateaux are inviting journalisits and buyers to Bordeaux in the beginning of April. We are expecting a great vintage, it will be exciting to see, whether expectations are too high. Even though Château Latour will no longer join the Primeur sales, they are still hosting a tasting. We cant wait to see which wine they will present - apart from the 2014. After the completely failed campaigns 2011, 2012 and especially 2013, the trade is pushing for a moderate prices, in order to come back to the business. The old stock of many overpriced wines and weak vintages are putting pressure on balance sheets. Will the producers react?

We will summarize our impressions and experiences here.