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Bordeaux 2014: Margaux

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_6775Margaux has had a good to very good vintage in 2014. It vies with 2012 as being the best year here since 2010. The quality is not quite as outstanding as it is further north in the Haut-Médoc [St Estèphe, for example has produced wines that rival 2010] but I was still impressed with many of the wines in Margaux for their balance and elegance. Things feel significantly more homogeneous here than in the past in what remains a very heterogeneous and large appellation. Out side of Château Margaux and Château Palmer I was very impressed with Château Brane Cantenac, Château Giscours, Château Lascombes, Château Marquis de Terme and Château Rauzan-Ségla. There are good efforts too from Château Angludet, Château Cantenac Brown, Château Kirwan, Château Labégorce, Château Malescot Saint-Exupéry, Château Rauzan Gassies and Château Siran.

While the Indian summer was as hot and dry, I was told that the growing season was a little wetter overall than elsewhere in the Haut-Medoc [though I was told this by producers in St Julien and Pauillac – so I’ll stand corrected if anyone disputes this!]. If this was the case it may explain why the wines further north pip the best wines here down in Margaux. It may also be the higher proportion of Cabernets in the blends in say St Julien, and Pauillac and certain St Estèphe’s [though there’s usually a high proportion of Merlot in this latter appellation’s blends too]. There is also a varying degree of Cabernet in the blends in Margaux as well – from Château Margaux itself [90% Cabernet] to Palmer and Lascombes [virtually half Merlot]. Clearly 2014 is a complex picture, but there is no doubt that Cabernet is king this year [Franc and Sauvignon].

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There is always something beautifully enticing about the top wines from this appellation and I don’t think Margaux devotees will be at all disappointed with many of the wines here in 2014. Price is the determining factor if you are considering buying early, and with quality akin to 2012, perhaps slightly better overall, the price differential still needs to be substantially in your favour in 2014 to make an en primeur purchase attractive. Liv-Ex’s blog has excellent [free] analysis on many of the appellations releases this year.

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I hope you find the tasting notes below notes useful. They were taken variously at tastings held at Château Dauzac for the UGC and Château d’Arsac for the Crus Bourgeois. The major omissions are Château d’Issan and Château Durfort-Vivens that I didn’t get over to this year but will follow up with at some point.

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In terms of surprises, at the top end I was encouraged by the effort at Château Kirwan, which had more flesh and character than some previous vintages which have felt a little lean and hard. I was also impressed with Château Cantenac Brown. This property has gone hell for leather in recent vintages so it good to see them step off the gas a bit and make something more intriguing than usual. There appears to be genuine and steady improvement at Château Rauzan Gassies which has produced a fresh, pure and proportional Margaux in 2014. I was also impressed with Château Marquis de Terme. Winemaker Ludovic David believes is his best wine yet at the property [he took the helm here in 2009].

Alter Ego, Margaux, 2014

Mid depth; purple at edge; pretty fruit; some fatness; black cherry; mineral quality; sense of proportion; little perfume lift; extract; structure; little cool sample; little subdued; proportional though with some finish. Opened up in the glass nicely to reveal perfumed, black cherry notes and lots of extract and texture on the palate. Good stuff! [52% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at Château Palmer. 90-92

Château Angludet, Margaux, 2014

Deep and saturated colour; tight to rim; full and loaded with fruit on the nose; extract; lots of matter; creamy blackcurrant fruit and black cream – attractive; good matter and depth; perfume on the palate; nicely balanced. Some grip and density; structure too. Good effort. Drink 2019-2030. 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot. 13.5% alc. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 88-90+

Château d’Arsac, Cru Bourgeois, Margaux, 2014

Dark core; some lift and perfume; blackcurrant aromas beneath; soft fruit and elegance on the palate; nice extraction; delicacy; fresh and pure and true to the Margaux commune. Good effort. [67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 53 ha]. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted Cru Bougeois 2 April, 2015. 86-88 [Earlier note] Mid depth; deep-ish but looser at rim; wet rocks; chalk; menthol and faint marzipan notes; spicy blackcurrant beneath; blackcurrants open up in the glass; fresh and attractive; blackcurrant on the palate; nice and pure; elegant and not drying; nicely judged extraction; elegance; some sap on the finish. Good stuff though. Nice balance. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 86-88

Château Bellevue de Tayac, Cru Bourgeois, Margaux, 2014

Mid depth; some creamy oak and black fruits; worked style but nicely done; perfume; black cherry, plum and perfume notes again; not over extracted; soft tannins; purity on the finish. Has elegance and texture. [70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 4 ha]. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted Cru Bourgeois 2 April, 2015. 86-88

Château Brane-Cantenac, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Deep colour; purple at edge; stalky blackcurrant Cabernet fruit; black cherry and blackcurrant tones; opens up in the glass; freshness here; lots of blackcurrant fruit here; strong and fresh on the palate; purity and acidity. Clean and fresh with matter and extract. Very good effort. Expect this to fill out. 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc. 13% alc. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 91-93+

Château Cantenac Brown, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Deep and saturated colour; tight to the rim; some purple; nice creamy blackcurrant fruit; nicely handled [they have finally stepped off the gas here]; polished; glossy wine with depth; nice entry to the palate; softer and more caressing than expected; creamy blackcurrant fruit; some tannin but nicely proportioned; extract but ripe tannins and finally not over extracted. Good stuff. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot 13.2% alc, 60% new oak. Drink 2010-2030. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 90-92+

Château Dauzac, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Deep and saturated look; tight to the rim; toasty; liquorice; black fruits and vanilla; savoury meaty notes; resin from the oak but there is fruit; blackcurrants and black fruits [plums]; some oak too on the palate but mostly absorbed; good effort with some freshness despite the oak regime. Bright finish. Little chew on the end. [68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 87-89+

Château Desmirail, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Deep and saturated look; dark at centre; purple at edge; earthy blackcurrant tones; little spicy note; savoury and fruit cake tones; forward; pure fruit; some cream; some extract and matter; some coarseness at the end of the palate; spice and oak; grip and acidity. Little chew on the finish. [57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 42% new oak, 12.5% alc]. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 85-87

Château Ferrière, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Deep and saturated colour; opaque centre; vibrant edge; fresh black cherry and cabernet purity; stalky cab tones; some depth and perfume; violet lift; elegant; tightness on the palate; more grip and acidity; compact texture and grippy finish. Chew and acid at present but like the aromatics and the freshness. Will come good and fill out to a degree – but typically fresh style here. [61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 86-88+

Château Giscours, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Deep core; vibrant and healthy edge; silky blackcurrant aromatics; some earth and pain grillé notes; blackcurrants the main theme but nicely pure and well integrated – a sexy sample; cool blackcurrants on the palate; really fresh and cool; nicely textured with middle but also freshness and acidity. Purity and tight at present. All definitely as it should be. Genuine length on the finish. Impressive stuff. [70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot 13.4% alc, harvested between 22/9 for Merlot and to 16/10 for Cabernet]. Drink 2020-2032. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 91-93+

Château Kirwan, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Deep, saturated colour; tight to the rim; purple; some oak lift but emphasis on the fruit; ripe too; menthol, spices and some cassis tones; blackcurrant fruit; good emphasis on the fruit also on the palate; bright blackcurrant flavours; grip and structure but flesh [good to see some flesh on offer at Kirwan]; crisp finish; nice length; this should fill out and feels far more positive than any Kirwan since 2010. Still serious but there has been attention paid to mid-palate here. [58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 13% alc]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 89-91+

Château Labégorce, Margaux, 2014

Deep and attractive colour; oak; black fruits and lift; some perfume; creamy fruit beneath; quite sexy pain grillé tones too; pure blackcurrants and black cherry fruit on the palate; texture and depth; some chew and tannin on the finish but the tannin feels ripe enough. [58% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 87-89

Château Lascombes, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Deep and saturated colour; concentrated look; full and fat on the nose; the definition of plump and generous; the wine is full and moves slowly around the glass; pure fruit on the palate; some cream; black fruits; perfume; and very round on the palate but some acidity too; extract and matter but very enjoyable; some warmth at the end – is this really 13.5%? Still a typically full and attractive Lascombes. [50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 13.5% alc, 90% new oak, 60% selection for the grand vin]. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 91-93+

Château Malescot Saint-Exupéry, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Deep and saturated colour; legs; very ripe notes to the aromatics; some chalk; some fig tones; some spice and fruit cake notes; lots of depth and matter on the palate; substantial; creamy black fruits and some perfume here; freshness on the palate and some grip; lots of extract, matter and length. [58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 90-92

Château Margaux, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Margaux 2014

Mid depth; legs; earthy purple at edge; stalky blackcurrant; some graphite; briary tones; fresh and quite layered; nice fragrance; mineral, taut and concentrated on the palate with fresh acidity; some chew and texture; lacks a bit of mid palate richness but will doubtless fill out. Nice length on the finish. I’m probably underrating this at present – let’s see. [90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted at Ch Margaux 31 March, 2015. 93-95+

Château Marquis de Terme, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Deep and saturated look; opaque at centre; legs; ripe and lifted; cassis and blackcurrants with black cherry spices; sweet but attractive; spicy menthol tones too; loads of fruit here; attractive and crafted very nicely – really polished; some oak on the back end of the palate but should integrate; depth and perfume too; textured and very enjoyable. Well done! [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 90-92+

Château Marsac-Séguineau, Margaux, 2014

Mid depth; glossy; reddish purple at edge; oak; some violet perfume; but more oak at this stage; quite lean styled on the palate; some blackcurrant fruit; needs to soak up the oak; acidity and freshness on the palate. [70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10ha]. Drink 2019-2024. Tasted Chateau Meyney 30 March, 2015. 84-86

Château Monbrison, Margaux, 2014

Mid depth; vibrant edge; attractive blackcurrant Cabernet tones; pure; less worked and fresher style; some delicacy on the palate; freshness; more delicate; not as rich as some; tight at present; doubtless will fill out but freshly styled [read grippy at present]. [72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot]. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 85-87

Château Mongravey, Margaux, 2014

Deepish; some perfume; little jammy note but overall feels attractive; soft and easy entry; lacks a little depth but soft and not over extracted. May fill out a tad. [70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 13ha]. Drink 2018-2023. Tasted Cru Bourgeois 2 April, 2015. 84-86

Château Palmer, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Bolder colour; tighter to rim; perfume; mineral note; little subdued; apparent depth; tight; nice fruit on the palate; tight and focused; bit closed on the day; layers and pent up; freshness. Clean fruit. Proportional. Nice length; Pretty long. Impressive on the palate and the finish. Concentrated and tight on the palate; lots of density and focus; tight. Proportional fruit with plenty of extract; lots of chew and density on the finish; extract. Length is very good. [49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2021-2035. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at Château Palmer. 94-95+

Château Paveil de Luze, Margaux, 2014

Big and saturated looking; quite jammy styled fruit; briary tones; brambly, briary tones with black fruits; concentrated but rather extracted in feel at present; lots of elements but little jumbled. Should come together during elévage. [65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 32ha]. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted Cru Bougeois 2 April, 2015. 84-86+

Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux, Margaux, 2014

Mid depth; lively look; purple at edge; nice pretty fruit; blackcurrant and black fruit; perfume – nicely dome; elegance; nicely composed palate; fresh acids; fuller than ’08; structured but open; traditionally styled; nicely handled tannins; good finish. [77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, 13.5% alc, 50% new oak]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted at Ch Margaux 31 March, 2015. 90-91+

Château Prieuré-Lichine, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Deep and saturated colour; purple at edge; nice purity here on the nose; blackcurrants; some gloss and polish; feels complete; full creamy palate with blackcurrant fruit tones dominating at this stage; some chew to the tannin at the back; should round out. Grip and freshness on the end. [65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot 13% alc]. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 89-91

Château Rauzan-Gassies, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Dark core; black at centre; full blackcurrant aromas; some reductive notes; lots of depth and opens up well; good effort here for this property and continues the steady progression of recent vintages; cool cabernet on the palate with purity; freshness, extract and matter; good length – good effort. [70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 2.5%, 1.5% Petit Verdot, 45% new oak]. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 88-90

Château Rauzan-Ségla, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Deep colour; tight to rim; blackcurrants and cassis; some oak; little stewed note; black cherry; cassis and some fruit cake; nice texture; black fruits; tight and focused on the palate; has flesh and structure. Serious as ever. John Kolasa’s last vintage here. [52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2020-2032. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 90-92

Château Siran, Margaux, 2014

Mid depth; purple rim; creamy blackcurrant fruit; ripe and full; ripe black cherry; palate full of fruit; black fruits; black cherry; extract and matter; little oak on the finish to integrate. Substantial effort. Textured. Edouard Miailhe compares it more to 2005 than 2009/2010. First vintage in which Hubert de Bouard has consulted. [53.5% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Petit Verdot. 13.5% alc, harvested 24 Sept-16 Oct]. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 88-90+

Château du Tertre, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2014

Glossy black colour in glass; earthy purple at the rim; spicy blackcurrants; pure; some stalky Cabernet fruit; fresh; clean and pure palate with blackcurrant tones; balanced and round with freshness; freshness and length on the finish. Fairly classic du Tertre. Nicely proportioned. [58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot. 13% alc. 3.7TA. Harvest 26/9 onwards for Merlot, Cabernet finished 16/10, Petit Verdot 13-15/10]. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 89-91+

Château La Tour du Mons, Cru Bourgeois, Margaux, 2014

Deeply coloured; serious but with life and freshness; fruit cake spices; some spicy plum tones; attractive; little oak to integrate on the palate but has the elements – and much more fruit evident here – chew and extract on the finish and spice from the oak; but this wine has prospects. Fresh finish. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted at Ch Meyney 31 March, 2015. 85-87

 

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