Posts with the label "bordeaux 2014 en primeur"


Southwold: Bordeaux 2014 – very good, but not quite great

Southwold: Bordeaux 2014 – very good, but not quite great

Monday 19th February 2018
by Tom Jenkins

Last week, the great and the good of the British wine trade including journalists, merchants and multitude of MWs decamped to our new Southwold-on-Thames venue to dissect the 2014s.

After the demoralising 2013s, there was a palpable sense of anticipation. We have always admired this vintage for its classical style and elegance. As is custom, we start with several flights of St Emilion. The flights seem to get longer each year and usually feature unfamiliar names that leave us pondering, ‘why?’ There was no such bafflement this year. Vignerons appear to have used a lighter touch and coupled with the natural acidity of the vintage, the wines have a real sense of cohesion and energy. Top marks went to Francois Mitjavile’s Tertre Roteboeuf, such an unmistakable wine, there’s really no need to disguise its identity… My preference was Canon, John Kolasa’s last year at the helm – this is as classical and super-refined, and a mighty impressive showing from Troplong Mondot.

Vintage Report: Bordeaux 2014, the Marathon

Vintage Report: Bordeaux 2014, the Marathon

Monday 6th April 2015
by Tom Jenkins

Emeline Borie from Grande Puy Lacoste aptly described 2014 as a ‘marathon’. ‘It was easy to start with… really tough in the middle… the last part was a breeze… and we were just elated when we crossed the finishing line’.

This captures the thoughts and experiences of vignerons up and down the Medoc, the Graves and in St Emilion and Pomerol. Usually one side of the river or a particular commune gets preferential treatment from the heavens; in this respect 2014 was even handed. Flowering was much easier than in 2013 and fine spring weather lulled Chateaux into thinking this would be an early harvest. July and August were drab; not wet, but cool and overcast. By mid-August early optimism had turned to despair. But as is so often the way in Bordeaux, an Indian summer rode to their rescue. Wonderful conditions continued until mid-October. Warm, breezy days and cool nights concentrated fruit and allowed wine-makers to wait and choose their moment to harvest.

Yields are healthy, but not bountiful. Many estates expected more juice from the weight of their musts, but achieved a few hl/ha less than their calculations. When asked why, they shrugged and said that there just wasn’t that much juice. This is not the scientific response we anticipated, but it probably points to the juice to skin ratio being quite low. Certainly, colours are good and there is the potential for substantial tannins. Analytically, the berries possessed high levels of sugar, acidity and tannin, so vinification had to be managed thoughtfully.

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2014 - Day four, the road home

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2014 - Day four, the road home

Thursday 2nd April 2015
by Tom Jenkins

Day four got underway with a trip to our perennial favourite Grand Puy Lacoste

This high flying fifth growth can do no wrong and again, Xavier and his team have excelled. This is a very stylish, refined Pauillac packed with noble Cabernet flavours. Not that GPL is ever lacking in the refreshment department, but the 2014 vintage adds even more energy and vibrancy than normal – a stunning wine for the purists!

The route back to Merignac included three UGC tastings. Our first stop was at the 11th century Chateau Lamarque. The beauty of the fine courtyard didn’t transcend into the wine, but we did find a couple of real gems. Cantemerle and Chasse Spleen are really excellent efforts, oozing class and sophistication. Both possess lovely cool cassis fruit flavours and have a refinement that one doesn’t expect at this level - kudos to their wine-making teams.

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2014 - Day three, the Bordeaux rollercoaster continues

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2014 - Day three, the Bordeaux rollercoaster continues

Wednesday 1st April 2015
by Tom Jenkins

To coin an overused Bordelaise phrase, the wines of the Medoc are not ‘homogenous’. 

There are stars and there are stinkers. Let’s start with the good. Lafite is regal, a really aristocratic wine with beautifully delineated flavours. In very much the same mould, Pichon Lalande backed up their wonderful 2013 with a spellbinding 2014. They utilized their Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot in the 2014 and the result is spectacular.

Hervé Berland looked supremely confident, and well he might; Montrose is a beauty: precise, pure and refined. Pontet Canet is back on form and mixing it with the very best  – chapeau Alfred, a great sport for playing along with our Chairman’s April fool’s ruse and a restrained, classic, handsome 2014 in his cellars. Duhart like big brother Lafite is a beauty – this is tense, defined and very impressive. Bruno Borie’s wines all excelled. Often we just focus on Ducru Beaucaillou, however, Lalande Borie is possibly the best effort we have tasted from this estate and Croix de Beaucaillou is a notable effort too. Calon Segur 2014 is a slight change of direction. The Denise Gasqueton era is over and the new style seems to be for more power and extraction, but there is still a Calon charm. It didn’t sit well with some of the traditional Calon fans in our team, but it is mighty impressive. One other wine from the northern Medoc which deserves special mention is Chateau Meyney. This wonderful terroir close to Montrose and Phelan Segur, owned by the Credit Agricole group is finally realising its potential. This will be one of the best value buys of this campaign!

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2014 - Day two, a day of transition

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2014 - Day two, a day of transition

Tuesday 31st March 2015
by Tom Jenkins

We started under gloomy, leaden skies in St Emilion and have finished in St Estephe with the odd flicker of sunshine. 

As Neal Martin has already pointed out, the car park at UGC Pomerol resembled Glastonbury `97. Our loafers squelched through the mud and we tasted some rather less inspiring wines than we did on day one. Gazin has beautifully delineated fruit and lots of promise; the rest are forgettable. Then to Clos Fourtet for the St Emilion UGC for some audacious winemaking. Tasting conditions were not ideal, but even taking that into consideration, the wines in general were disappointing.

It was time to bid adieu to the Right Bank and cross the Gironde for our visit to La Mission Haut Brion. Prince Robert greeted us and presented an ever growing number of wines from their numerous estates. The whites were stunning; vivid, precise, voluptuous and very fresh. There was a lot of conjecture as to which wine was better out of Haut Brion and La Mission. In truth both were spectacular – La Mission has a more Cabernet character, whereas Haut Brion has an atypically decadent Merlot style, but still shows a bit of its classic chalky minerality. In short, a great tasting and some great wines.

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