Neal Martin has produced the finest report on Bordeaux 2014. Candid, thorough and precise, here are some of his remarks on the important appellations.
Pauillac: ‘What would Bordeaux be without Pauillac?… Seriously, in 2014 Pauillac wines deliver. The 2014 vintage was predesigned to benefit later ripening grape varieties and generally, the more in your vineyard, the better chance you had of making a great wine. And nowhere does Cabernet dominate and flourish as in Pauillac.’ We still have Duhart Milon, d’Armailhac and Lynch Bages available as we eagerly await Grand Puy Lacoste, which could be THE buy of the vintage.
St Julien: ‘In 2014, though there are some great wines in St Julien, it was not quite as consistent as I was expecting.’
Margaux: ‘The appellation of Margaux did not quite reach the level of St Julien or Pauillac in 2014.’
St Estèphe: ‘St Estèphe did well. In some instances it excelled.’ Powerful ‘Cos’ has just been released at a reasonable price, but Ormes de Pez, Lafon Rochet, Calon-Ségur and Montrose all look like better buys.
Pomerol: ‘You either made an excellent wine or you were kind of stuffed… depended upon whether your vines enjoy a prime location on the gravel plateau and partly whether your vines reply to the name “Cabernet Franc.”‘
St Émilion: ‘2014 produced some great, and, in a couple of cases, dazzling wines…however, there is no question that the vintage did not favour its Merlot-based vineyards.’
Pessac Léognan: ‘Generally, Pessac-Léognan was a bit up and down in 2014,’ he says of the reds. ‘2014 gave birth to a bounty of outstanding white Bordeaux.‘
Sauternes: ‘2014 Sauternes is one of the best vintages in recent years.‘ It’s worth looking at Coutet, Doisy Daëne and La Tour Blanche!
Two other excellent value picks this week are ever-dependable Chasse Spleen and Nénin. The latter is now a hot property in Pomerol after being bought by the Delon family of Léoville Las Cases. This seems to be the finest vintage they have produced so far.
Wine Advocate Tasting Notes
Nénin 2014 – R 450
The Château Nénin 2014 is a blend of 68% Merlot and 32% Cabernet Franc, the highest percentage ever of the latter due to the ripeness. It has a very fine, quite complex bouquet that is one of the finest that I have encountered, the reorganisation of the vines since Jean-Hubert Delon took over in 1997 enhancing the complexity. There is real finesse here, something not always apparent in older vintages in Nénin. The palate is supple and fleshy on the entry. There is a gentle grip on the palate coupled with finesse that is not diminished as its fruit intensifies on the finish. One of the most precise Nénin’s that I have encountered at this stage. Drink: 2019-2035. – WA
Chasse Spleen 2014 – R 290
The Château Chasse-Spleen 2014 has a splendid nose in the making: lively and vivacious black fruit mixed with graphite and sous-bois, all well defined. The palate is ripe and delineation on the entry with its white pepper dashed black fruit, though I would like to see a little more nuance and precision develop on the finish by the time of bottling. This is a fine Chasse-Spleen in the making. – WA
Pagodes de Cos 2014 – R 435
The Les Pagodes de Cos 2014 is a blend of 43% Merlot, 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot, a selection from the vineyard according to age of vine and the soil. Matured in 50% new oak, it has a clean and precise bouquet, a veneer of blackberry and wild strawberry fruit intermixed with cedar and graphite, the latter becoming more pronounced with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with a silky smooth entry, well-judged acidity with veins of tobacco and allspice emerging toward the finish that gently fans out. There is already a pleasant freshness in situ that I hope will be retained by the time it is in bottle. Very fine. Drink 2019-2030. – WA
Cos d’Estournel 2014 – R 1 375
The Château Cos d’Estournel 2014 is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc picked between 25 September and 10 October at 33.7 hectoliters per hectare. The pH came in at 3.77 and an IPT of 87, quite high compared to some other properties in the northern Médoc. It has “cool” nose, by that I mean it is not a flamboyant set of aromatics like the 2009 or 2010, but rather “streamlined” and focused, very delineated with black fruit intermingling with incense and iris. It is very controlled. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, but “full” tannins in the mouth that lend this Cos d’Estournel impressive volume. There is an unerring purity here, a gradual crescendo of intensity towards a peppery finish that lingers long. This is impressive Grand Vin – classic Cos d’Estournel. Tasted three times with consistent notes. Drink 2022-2045. – WA