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Bordeaux 2014: Haut-Médoc

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

DSC01528There are a number of exciting wines to consider in the Haut-Médoc in 2014. As elsewhere, the miraculous September heat and sun allowed for the proper ripening of the Cabernets, which give depth and sophistication to the blends. The vintage also displays attractive freshness. This keeps the tasting experience positive and appetizing. The Haut-Médoc crus classés such as Château Belgrave, Château CantemerleChâteau de Camensac, Château La Lagune and Château La Tour Carnet have all made excellent wines. Then there is a veritable army of others such as d’Agassac, Beaumont, Belle-Vue, Bernadotte, Clément-Pichon, Charmail, Cissac, Citran, Coufran, du Cartillon, Larose Trintaudon, Malescasse, Sénéjac and de Villegeorge, which show plenty of style and depth. I’ve no doubt these wines will give much pleasure to fans of the appellation.

The following wines were tasted variously at the UGCB event at Château Lamarque in the Haut-Médoc, a comprehensive tasting of all two hundred plus cru bourgeois held at Château d’Arsac in Margaux and a dozen tasted blind at the Grand Cercle event at Château Bellefont-Belcier in St Emilion.

It’s worth remembering that these forty wines reviewed below come from very different parts of the Haut-Médoc, a very large appellation whose geographical extent spans from above St Estèphe in the north to below Margaux in the south. You will see more than a passing resemblance in the wines to the appellations they border. For example Coufran, Charmail, Bel Orme Tronquoy Lalande [and Château Sociando-Mallet which I sadly missed out on tasting] in St Seurin de Cadourne neighbour St Estèphe. These wines are somewhat similarly styled to the wines of that appellation.

Château Cissac is to the north west of Pauillac and shows some of the characteristics of that appellation, while the trio of crus classés Belgrave, de Camensac and La Tour Carnet in St Laurent are just to the west of St Julien. Belgrave and de Camensac often have something of St Julien about them, as does Larose Trintaudon, nestled above them [and beneath the Pauillac boundary].

Down in the south crus classés Château Cantemerle and Château La Lagune in Macau and Ludon respectively often show the perfume and delicacy of the best wines from Margaux, of which they are comparatively close neighbours. One over achieving Haut-Médoc property worth special mention is Château Belle-Vue. The vineyards here border those of respected cru classé Château Giscours in Margaux. It’s no surprise that Belle-Vue performs well when tasted blind, showing much complexity and sophistication.

The good thing about most of the wines reviewed below is that they are good value and remain well within the reach of the pocket of most of us.

Château Aney, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deep looking; some jam; wet rocks; soft and easy on the palate; forward and straightforward. Drink 2018-2022. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 83-85

Château Arnauld, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deep and saturated looking; tight to rim; pretty deep and serious; black cherry and black chocolate; some oak; quite ‘pro’; oak on the palate needs to settle; good fruit and concentration though – needs to come together; ripeness in the fruit is impressive; ripe style; oak needs to integrate. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. Drink 2019-2026. 85-87+

Château d’Agassac, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Saturated looking; purple at edge; sappy and vigorous fruit on the nose; blackcurrants; cassis; some spice; serious wine with good depth; palate has vigour; good effort. Drink 2018-2026. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 85-87+ [Earlier note] Deep and saturated looking; arterial; fat and deep; feels full; little nutty note; full and lots of fruit; quite big and lots of matter; substantial; this could work well; gutsy but not overly drying finish suggests fruit not pushed too far; bite on the finish – though perhaps dips a fraction. Good effort nevertheless. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 86-88+

Château d’Arcins, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deep and dark; blackcurrant and black pepper; soft palate with ripe easy going fruit; attractive and harmonious; supple and enjoyable. Freshness at the end makes it quite appetizing. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 85-87+ [Earlier note] Mid depth; creamy blackcurrants; like this; stalky note but purity; opens up; has potential; clarity and tradionally style [which I’m appreciating]; nice elegance; blackcurrants; some oak; nicely linear; like the fruit and the cooler less overt style; nice texture and flavour; has plenty of middle; complete and very good. Drink 2017-2025. 87-89+

Château d’Aurilhac, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deep and dark at centre; some intensity and mineral notes; focused; blackcurrant purity; ripe fruit on the palate; needs to settle a fraction. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. Drink 2019-2024. 84-86

Château Belgrave, Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc, 2014

Deep and saturated look; tight to the rim; nice creamy blackcurrant on the nose; pure; spicy and deep; coffee notes; tight and focused palate; nice oak; elegant blackcurrant fruit again; extract and nicely proportioned. Good effort. 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. 40% new oak. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted UGC 31 March, 2015. 88-90+

Château Barreyres, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deeply coloured; tight to rim; clean and fresh Haut-Médoc; nice attractive purity and sap on the palate; fresh cherry and blackcurrant aromas and flavours; good crnchy finish; clean and pure. Stylish. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 85-87+

Château Beaumont, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Mid depth; dark core; purple at edge; fresh; ripe; blackcurrant fruits; spices; and ripe; more matter on the palate; but nice structure; matter and grip; acidity and vibrant. 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot. 25/9-14/10 harvest dates. 30% new oak. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted UGCB 31 March, 2015. 86-88 [Earlier note] Deep at centre; sappy and vigorous aromatics; bright black cherry and blackcurrant aromas; freshness is wonderful; sappy and lively on the palate; vital. Great example of the life and joy you can get from Bordeaux in a year like 2014. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 86-88+

Château Belle-Vue, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deeply coloured; saturated look; full aromatics; fresh blackcurrants; some earth; Cabernet freshness; classical and has depth; full and creamy on the palate; nice fruit and real juice here; plenty of freshness too; one of the very best cru bourgeois in 2014. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 88-90+

Château Bel-Orme Tronquoy de Lalande, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Mid depth; clean and pure Bordeaux; elegant and sappy style on the palate; harmony; easy and soft tannins but nice freshness that keeps the ball in the air; balanced. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 85-87

Château Bernadotte, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Very dark; colour tight to rim; ripe and full; lifted black fruits and oak; fruitcake and spice; saturated and solid; this works well and should integrate nicely. Round and meaty Haut-Médoc. Drink 2018-2026. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 86-88

Château Cantemerle, Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc, 2014

Deep colour; vibrant edge; vivid; bright and perfumed fruit; freshness; some cream and blackcurrants; freshness; blackcurrant and cream tones on the palate; black fruits; lots of texture and material; nice grip on the finish. 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot. 13% alc. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted UGC 31 March, 2015. 90-92+

Château de Camensac, Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc, 2014

Mid depth; dark core; vibrant blackcurrant fruit; aromatic; fresh and layered; perfumed blackcurrant and cassis notes; cool entry and nice concentration; focus and balanced; nicely done; vibrant blackcurrant fruit and summer cherry notes; fresh acid; sappy wine with texture and length. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested 14-17/10 & 50% Merlot, harvested 22/9-14/10. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted UGC 31 March, 2015. 89-91

Château du Cartillon, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deep and saturated; opaque; good substantial aromatics; blackcurrants; cassis; layered and deep; impressive; soft fruit; cool; some grip but plenty of fruit here; fresher style; less adorned by oak; nicely balanced and fresh. Typicite. Nicely done. Good wine. Drink 207-2028. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 87-89+

Château Charmail, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deeply coloured; minerality; wet rock; depth; some plum and black cherry note; plum; nice palate; plenty of fruit and nice extraction; soft tannins; good stuff. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 86-88+

Château Cissac, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deep and saturated colour; nice fresh stalky blackcurrant aromatics; enticing; ripe palate but with elegance; fragrant; tightish; has the elements and a little oak to soak up on the finish. Very good balance. Good buy in ’14. Drunk 2019-2029. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 86-88

Château Citran, Haut-Médoc, 2014

Mid depth; vibrant edge; ripe aromatics; red fruits; some wet rock notes; ripe tones; spices; some resin; worked a bit but supple and soft mid palate; little oak on the palate too; chewy finish; should settle OK. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc. Drink 2019-2028. 86-88

Château Clément-Pichon, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deep and saturated look; earthy purple at edge; very ripe cassis notes; blackcurrants; palate packed with juicy fruit but also concentrated; another good effort; sweet ripe cassis fruit. Tasted 2 April ’15. Drink 2019-2027. 86-88 [Earlier note] Mid depth; deep core; seductive; blackcurrants & red fruits and interwoven oak; some sweetness; modern; satin and spice [Citran-esque]; ripe and forward; sweet entry; very likeable; blackcurrants and red fruits; oak but nicely spicy; good extract and depth. Nice wine and happy combination of tradition and modernity. Dribk 2017-2025+ 86-88+

Château Coufran, Haut-Médoc, 2014

Bold colour; earthy purple at edge; fresh and pretty fruit; summer fruit pudding, black cherry; very vibrant; nice fruit; good texture; lots of fruit here; soft tannins. Vibrant and full. Excellent Coufran. 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. 25% new oak. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted UGC 31 March, 2015. 88-90+

Château Dillon, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deep and saturated look; vibrant and high toned aromatics; blackcurrants and acid; stalky blackcurrant aromatics; cream; some harmony; fresh; appetizing. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 85-87

Château Fontsteau, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Mid depth; vibrant edge; leafy blackcurrant tones; stalky fruit; soft and easy going on the palate; pleasant enough if lacking concentration and ambition. Drink 2018-2023. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 83-85

Château d’Hanteillan, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deeply coloured; some liquoice; black fruits; solid; black cherry hint of kirsch; dry palate; tannic and wood tannins too. Needs to settle. Drink 2018-2023. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 82-84

Château La Lagune, Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc, 2014

Mid depth; lighter in the core; red at edge; mid depth; stalk, brambly fruit; attractive blackcurrant tones; some spices; nice fruit; delicacy; nice entry to the palate; supple acidity and freshness; nice blackcurrant and black fruits; will gain weight. Nevertheless lacks a bit of concentration at this stage. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot. 13% alc. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted UGC 31 March, 2015. 89-91

Château de Lamarque, Haut-Médoc, 2014

Deep and saturated colour; tight to the rim; ripe and rasiny fruit; fruitcake spices; menthol and ink tones; oak dominates the palate; extracted; lots of matter; rather dry oak tannins; extracted and gutsy style. Rather raw at this stage. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted UGC 31 March, 2015. 84-86.

Château Lamothe Bergeron, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deep and saturated; tight to rim; ripe; creamy blackcurrant; chewy; good palate; solid; ripe fruit; tannins present; sturdy – bit old fashioned. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 84-86

Château Lamothe Cissac, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Mid depth; looser at rim than some; some cake; wet rock; lightish; sweet attack and nice vibrancy; elegant style; lacks a bit of concentration compared to the best. Drink 2018-2022. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 83-85

Château Larrivaux, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Mid depth; dark core; tighter aromatics; candy and ripe fruit notes; sweet and some violet lift; full entry; lots of fruit; not too extracted; soft; easy; upfront and nicely judged. Tannins soft and early maturing style, though has some grip and freshnesss on the finish. Drink 2017-2023. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 85-87+

Château Larose Trintaudon, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deeply coloured; vibrant edge; fresh, stalky blackcurrant; good and positive; nice fresh Cabernet; sap here but juicy too; nice fresh and positive wine; sappy but with depth. Like this. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. Tasted 86-88+

Château Lestage Simon, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deep and ultra saturated; colour very tight to rim; very ripe and rasiny; red fruits; prunes; plums and black cherry; saturated fruit; liquorice notes & menthol; blackcurrant fruit and cassis beneath; sweet entry; lush; forward and full; sweet blackcurrant and ripe black cherry; very full an caressing with toasty oak element; maybe bit one-dimensional. Soft, full, forward and very easy. Drink 2017-2023. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 85-87+

Château Liversan, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Mid depth; dark at centre; soft; some cherry; cream; bright acidity and vigour; chewy finish. Needs to fill out a tad. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. Drink 2018-2022. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 84-86 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; cool blackcurrants; attractive and fresh; stalks; nice blackcurrant entry; focused; cassis; solid; good acid and fruit balance and tannins well handled; lacks saturation but has elegance; good finish. Traditional Haut-Medoc. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted Grand Cercle, 29 March, 2015. 85-87

Château Malescasse, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deep and saturated look; ripe and jammy; cassis notes; soft and easy on the palate; nicely composed; wet rocks and chalk on the finish. Good effort. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 86-88+ [Earlier note] [Earlier note] Saturated look; deep; purple at edge; creamy blackcurrant fruit; nice purity; not too melded; the fruit speaks here nicely; little leaf and undergrowth complexity too; cassis on the palate; cool and polished; nicely handled; good wine this; has the balanced of very good Bordeaux; very nicely done; this is good wine. Really fine effort. Very good length and very well judged. Drink 2017-2028. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015.  89-91+

Château Peyrabon, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Mid depth; fresh and attractive looking; stalky blackcurrant aromatics; elegant; quite light on palate; needs to infill; not a blockbuster but soft and easy overall. Drink 2018-2022. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 83-85

Château Peyredon La Gravette, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Mid depth; dark core; nice blackcurrant purity; nicely unadorned by oak; fresh and appealing; cassis and plum; little stalky note; like this – not overworked; fresh blackcurrants and plums; cooler style; lighter in the middle but has good sap and freshness. Not over extracted or over oaked; fruit has nice texture and works well. Nicely balanced. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 86-88

Château Peyrat-Fourthon, Haut-Médoc, 2014

Deep and saturated looking; fat and ripe fruit; mealy note; Christmas pudding; Pontefract cakes; spices; solid; fruit and extract; lots of extract; big; chewy beast; feels rather dry and over extracted on the finish. Lacks sophistication. Ballsy and gutsy. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 84-86

Château Ramage La Batisse, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Mid depth; leafy blackcurrant aromatics; little trace of green; soft and easy palate; lightish. Drink 2018-2022. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. 82-84

Château Sénéjac, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2014

Deep and saturated look; earthy purple; bright and composed aromatics; blackcurrants and some lift; ambitious and fine; blackcurrant and cherry fruit on the palate; nice acid at the end with a silky finish. Good effort. Tasted 2 April, 15 Cru Bourgeois tasting at d’Arsac. Drink 2018-2025. 86-88+

Château La Tour Carnet, Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc, 2014

Deep and saturated colour; dark at centre; fresh and blackcurrant tones; cool and attractive; nice fruit and complete; sense of modesty and proportion; supple; nice palate; good purity; attractive and balanced; oak not overdone but well integrated; sense of composure. Very good effort. Matter on the end. 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot. 40% new oak. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted UGCB 31 March, 2015. 90-91+

The Wine Makers Collection, Haut-Médoc, 2014

Mid depth; full; some fatness; fruit cake Merlot; ripe; chalky Merlot; feels a bit stretched on the mid palate but may work out; has sap and chew; decent and workman like. Drink 2017-2022. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 84-86+

Château de Villegeorge, Haut-Médoc, 2014

Mid depth; stalky blackcurrant fruit; little reductive; fresh; gout de chais; nice bkackcurrant creamy note; nice purity and elegance; works on the fruit level this; like it and moreish; nice elegance; purity blackcurranr flavours and not over extracted on the palate. Good effort. Elegant but drinkable. Drink 2017-2023. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 86-88+

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