Bordeaux 2014 progress report: No surprises.

Bordeaux 2014 progress report: No surprises.

Friday 21st October 2016
by Tom Jenkins

There were no revelations re-tasting Bordeaux’s 2014s at the London UGC. We knew we liked the wines, but elevage hasn’t miraculously transformed them into something ‘exceptional’. 

Correct, poised, fresh, well delineated flavours, balanced and charming; the 2014s will, in general, be very enjoyable wines with a plushness that suggests they will be approachable quite soon. People who bought them en primeur will have no regrets.

The best wines we tasted possess a silkiness and refinement that is very alluring, but not the depth or structures of the truly great vintages such as 2005, 2009 and 2010. Earlier in the week I was fortunate enough to re-assess the 2014 Tertre Roteboeuf with Francois Mitjavile. This certainly had extra gears. And a recent tasting of the 2014 Ducru Beaucaillou also indicated that the elite estates have produced more profound wines than anything we tasted at the UGC.

Best in show was contested by the spectacular, but slightly subdued Pichon Lalande (this appears to be in a slightly stubborn phase), a muscular Lynch Bages, a surprisingly pliable Leoville Barton, the ever sleek Smith Haut Lafitte, a magnificent Gazin and the ever dependable Domaine de Chevalier.

It was reassuring to confirm that our misgivings about the St Julien commune were unwarranted. Our initial barrel tastings were disappointing. We reported the wines as we found them, however, re-tasting on Wednesday proved that these are a fine set of wines. Leoville Barton, Leoville Poyferre and Gruaud Larose stood out from the crowd. Margaux in general was a much more pleasurable flight post elevage - Rauzan Segla as always leads the way.

Please don’t interpret our lack of fervour as apathy; we really like the 2014s. They are predominantly attractive and most importantly correctly priced. They have developed much as we’d anticipated. They will give lots of drinking pleasure, won’t break the bank (or at least won’t if you bought them en primeur) and they are clearly a better range than the 2011s, 2012s and the 2013s. Unfortunately for the 2014s, they will live in the shadow of the much vaunted 2015s and although it is early days, potentially the 2016s as well. The 2014s are very good, but let’s not get carried away!