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Bordeaux 2014: Pomerol

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_6831Whilst the incredible Indian summer undoubtedly turned around the fortunes of the 2014 vintage, the growing season in Pomerol was not without its challenges. Stormy showers punctuated much of June, July and August and, in terms of overall rainfall throughout the year, it was one of the wettest since in a decade. Despite the rain, the sunny and generally dry conditions that characterised September and October, were sufficient to successfully ripen the Merlot and were particularly beneficial to Cabernet Franc, which looks to have succeeded very well 2014. As always success depended on terroir and diligence. There is great vibrancy in the best wines, which show genuine style and verve, but in a few cases there also appears some dilution.

I’ve already reported separately on Château L’Evangile, Château La Conseillante and Vieux Château Certan, as well as those wines in the Jean-Pierre Moueix stable including Château Hosanna, Château La Fleur-Pétrus and Château Trotanoy. There is brilliance to all these wines in 2014. The wines have balance, freshness and harmony. It feels like 2012 with a little more structure and body.

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At the Union des Grand Cru tastings held at Château Petit-Village [above], the overall quality was very high and pretty consistent. There was great purity of fruit on Château La Pointe, Château Beauregard and Chateau Petit-Village. Château Clinet shows concentration, Château Le Bon Pasteur is flashy and exotic and Château Gazin is full and substantial. Gazin looks an excellent prospect. I was also impressed with Château La Cabanne, which, for me, has produced its best wine in recent years.

At the Grand Cercle event, there were many good Pomerols, but there was also less consistency, with a few feeling soft and light, others rather lean. There is no doubt that Château La Fleur de Gay [very impressive], Chateau Bonalgue, Château Bourgneuf, Château Fayat, Château Feytit-Clinet [also very impressive] and Chateau Rouget have all produced very good wine that I’d be happy to recommend.

I tasted Château Nénin separately at Château Léoville-Las-Cases along with the rest of the Delon range. This property has improved enormously in the two decade sinces they purchased this estate. 2014 looks successful, with elegance and finesse coming through from the Cabernet Franc. There was some dilution in the Merlot here, so they practiced saignée [bleeding] in the cellar, the process were some of the juice is run off to increase the proportion to skins to juice during fermentation. The results appear to have paid off nicely.

I have already written about Le Clos du Beau Père, made by Jean-Luc Thunevin. This is a beautiful Pomerol in 2014 and well worth seeking out.

The following 42 wines were tasted variously at the properties concerned, at the UGCB or the Grand Cercle, during primeurs week 28 March – 3 April, 2015.

Château Beauregard, Pomerol

Deepish; vibrant edge; clean fruit aromatics; plums and ripe cherry aromas; spicy; pretty fruit; some oak on the palate; needs to settle but the fruit is juicy and fragrant. Hint of jam too. Grip on the finish. [65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2019-2027. Tasted UGCB 1st April, 2015. 88-90

Château Beau Soleil, Pomerol

Lightish; translucent at centre; little reductive at first; plum tones; freshness; saline touch; quite modest; lacks richness and mid palate; fresh but lacks concentration. Modest Pomerol. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2019-2023. 83-85

Château Bellegrave, Pomerol

Mid depth; vibrant edge; some fruitcake spice; little plum; fresh on the palate; vivacious style; fruit dominant; nice texture and some elegance; good finish. Vibrant Pomerol. [75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 8.5ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2019-2025. 87-88+

Château Le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol

Deeply coloured; purple at edge; seductive fruit and pain grillé notes; black fruits and plums; sexy; very seductive sample; fragrant plums and black cherry fruit; fresh acidity; vivid style; fruit creamy and fragrant. Nice texture. Length too. Excellent effort. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. Drink 2019-2028. 91-93

Château Bonalgue, Pomerol

Deep and bold; saturated look; inky and rich; concentrated and sublimated by comparison; mocha and chocolate tones; seductive; lots of extract and material; acidity too and oak [a lot of oak but well integrated in this sample]. Has power and depth; chewy on the finish. Impressive, masculine Pomerol. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 9.5ha]. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 89-91+

Château Bourgneuf, Pomerol

Deep and full; dark at centre; little reduced; fresh plum fruit beneath; nice clarity; supple fruit; which we can read; elegance but degree of purity with some oak; some delicacy here; nice texture. Good effort. Elegance and vibrancy. [90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 9.5ha]. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 87-89+ [second tasting] Deepish; dark core; little lighter red/purple at edge; perfumed and scented from the oak; but juicy fruit beneath; very pretty at this stage; black cherry; plum tones plus spices; palate has depth and structure from the oak and the extract but plenty of lively fruit; textured palate with pretty fruit and perfume; plum; ripe cherry and spices; vigour and some extract plus zap; bit of chew to resolve on the finish. Tasted JP Moueix 1 April, 2015. Drink 2020-2030. 90-92+

Château La Cabanne, Pomerol

Deep and saturated colour; deep at centre; purple rim; fragrant lift; nice and juicy fruit; black cherry; depth; cool fruit and acidity; nice juice; some oak but not too present; plenty of flesh and some grip on the finish. Best La Cabanne in a while. [94% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 60% new oak, 40% one year old]. Tasted 1st April ’15. Drink 2020-2027. 88-90

Château Certan de May, Pomerol

Deeply coloured; opaque core; earthy purple at edge; perfume and violet fruit; vibrant and scented; ripe plums and blueberries; spices; nice delicacy; more oaked feel; more noticeable oak; but nice plummy scented fruit beneath; savoury edge; pretty fruit; black cherry and plum; deep; little spice; full and fruity; more oak influenced palate; little taughter and the fruit has absorbed more oak [or it doesn’t quite have the silkiness of Hosanna]; gutsy style; but lots of caressing fruit having said that; sappy finish with extract and matter and a little oak that needs to settle. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted JP Moueix 1 April, 2015. 91-93+

Château La Clémence, Pomerol

Mid depth vibrant edge; full and juicy aromas; cherry and plum tones; some spice; attractive; fresh and attractive; has some joy on the palate; fresh fruit qualities; sour cherry; some wood; quite lean in style currently but should settle well and fill out. [85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 3ha]. Drink 2019-2026. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 86-88

Château Clinet, Pomerol

Deep and saturated looking; vibrant purple at edge; deep in centre; ripe and glossy aromatics; jam, cassis and ripe black plums; extract on the palate but attractive texture; tighter than many; lots of extract and texture but focused; Grip and acidity on the finish. Sublimated texture but also quite tight. Should be excellent. [90% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc, 13.5% alc]. Tasted 1st April ’15. Drink 2022-2032. 92-94

Château La Conseillante, Pomerol, 2014

Good depth of colour; vibrant edge; lovely pretty fruit; caressing and satiny; beautiful fruit in fact; quite measured on the palate; lovely elegance; glossy, balanced and textured on the palate; tension too [some freshness]; proportional wine; acidity fresh and good length. Attractive La Conseillante. [78% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, 13.5% alc, 3.6 TA, 15-18 months in oak]. Tasted at La Conseillante, 3rd April ’15. Drink 2019-2030. 93-94+

Clos du Clocher, Pomerol

Mid depth; earthy look; some smoke and savoury notes to the aromatics; some delicate fruit beneath; oak; some spicy plum fruit; mid weight; little short on the finish. Needs to settle. [70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 6ha]. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 84-86+

Le Clos du Beau Père, Pomerol, 2014

Glossy and deep with liqourice note; plums, very glossy and concentrated; fruitcake and spices; creamy fruit; plums, black cherry; oak; nicely integrated; glossy and creamy mouthfeel; nice balance at the back end; not over extracted or dry; fruit completes the circle. Another excellent effort here. Black chocolate on the finish. Tasted Jean-Luc Thunevin 3 April 2015. Drink 2019-2027. 90-92+

Clos l’Eglise, Pomerol

Deep; darker look; earthy purple at rim; purity; spot on; sour cherry; plums; unadorned but similarly complete; little oak [more present later]; blackcurrant, sour cherry note; with some oak; lacks roundness and generosity in the middle; nice material on the finish. Should fill out. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 6ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 86-88+

Château La Croix de Gay, Pomerol

Deep and saturated style; dark core; vibrant edge; toasty oak and liquorice; black cherry; some earth and undergrowth; quite saturated in style and somewhat dominated by oak; not too dry on the finish. Should settle. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. Drink 2020-2027. 86-88

Château L’Evangile, Pomerol

Mid depth; purple at edge; depth; ripe fruit; some plum; spices; attractive fruit; polished and delicate; fine palate; textured; mid palate depth; sense of proportion; balanced and harmonious; freshness on the end. Good length. 22ha property with 16ha in production. [82% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc 14.2% alc]. Tasted 3rd April ’15. Drink 2019-2030. 91-94

Château Fayat, Pomerol

Deep and saturated look; very opaque at centre; nice purity of fruit; plum; depth; attractive purity; this looks good; very classy aromatics; full but focused palate; red fruits; some wood; bit of toast; ripe and attractive. Little bit of fruit and oak to integrate on the finish [little woody]. Soft and not over extracted. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 16ha]. Drink 2019-2027. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 89-91+

Château Feytit-Clinet, Pomerol

Mid depth; some saturation; earthy; ballsy Pomerol; opens up to reveal satin and cake like aromatics; sexy; nice palate; open and forward but with depth; nicely integrated oak and attractive fruit. This will be forward, delicious Pomerol. Quite soft and almost drinking nicely now. Well done. Oak to resolve on the finish. All this should settle nicely though. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 6.3ha]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 90-92+

Fugue de Nénin

Mid depth; purple at edge; fresh fruity and some spices; attractive fruit and spicy characters; some flesh; soft and easy on the palate; some chew. Perhaps a tad short on the end. Lively. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 41hl/ha, 205 new oak, 13.7% alc, 3.70TA, 3.55pH IPT 60]. Drink 2019-2024. Tasted Léoville-Las-Cases 30 March, 2015. 85-87

Château Gazin, Pomerol

Deep and saturated; vibrant edge; fresh; little reductive at first but plenty of fresh fruit on the nose here; very full and sense of being sturdy; savoury edge almost; fresh creamy black cherry on entry; very fresh and clean; cool with lots of middle; this is an excellent prospect. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. Drink 2020-2030. 92-94+

Château La Grave, Pomerol

Vibrant and deep looking in the glass; earthy red purple at edge; lovely fresh plum and spice tones; some ripe Morello cherry too; real zap and life; purity here in the wines; little spice too; juicy and salivating attack; such freshness and juice here; really attractive and bouncy but with greater weight and ripeness than 2012 even; zip and lightness; fresh style but with plenty of body. Zap and refreshment on the end. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted JP Moueix 1 April, 2015. 90-92

Château Hosanna, Pomerol

Deep and dark yet fresh looking at the same time; slightly tighter to rim than Certan de May; more purple too; spices; little tighter and more pent up than de May; opens up to reveal perfumed; scented plums and morello cherry; layers and depth here; impressive freshness and purity at the same time; great attack; silky and caressing yet also concentrated; lovely voluptuous palate; very harmonious across the mouth; great concentration but not in the slightest bit heavy; great stuff; such lovely freshness and zappy acid too! Very good length. Excellent. Drink 2020-2033. Tasted JP Moueix 1 April, 2015. 94-96+

Château Lafleur-Gazin, Pomerol

Deep and attractive; dark at centre; fresh sappy and vibrant fruit; full; ripe cherry; plummy freshness; brighter fruit; bit of black pepper spice at the edge; full and lively on the nose; sweet ripe; vibrant juicy entry; so pretty and more-ish; delicious now almost; such lightness of touch; vibrant and fresh but with plenty of sweet fruit. This is a beautiful vintage with the balance between the juicy fruit and the freshness; but also the bounce here. Lively zap on the finish. Great stuff. 2020-2030. Tasted JP Moueix 1 April, 2015. 90-92+

Château La Fleur de Gay, Pomerol

Deepish- red at edge; oak, some mocha notes; liquorice; red fruits beneath; some saturation; oak and fruit; has nice concentration and fruit is sweet and ripe; will probably meld quite nicely. Sturdy and substantial feeling to the palate. Good stuff. [100% Merlot, 2ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2019-2028. 90-92+

Château La Fleur-Pétrus, Pomerol

Mid depth; dark at centre; tight to edge; earthy red/purple; ripe seductive aromatics; beautiful and delicate; lovely stone fruit; fresh plums and spices; violet scents too; very caressing attack; supple and harmonious; wonderful balance; sap and vibrancy on the finish but plenty in here; 10/10 on the digestibility index. Nice length. Fresh and vibrant finish with considerable length and zap. Drink 2020-2033. Tasted JP Moueix 1 April, 2015. 94-96

Château Lécuyer, Pomerol

Mid depth; fruit driven aromatics; plum; elegance; little taut with some acid; has freshness but lacks a bit of generosity at present; fresh certainly; faintest streak of green; has texture and elegance; fraction pinched on the end. May fill out. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 3.4ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2019-2024. 84-87

Château Mazeyres, Pomerol

Light depth; translucent; bit short on the aromas; some bubble gum etc; short on flavor and fruit on the palate; some honey notes; lacks depth and concentration – though soft. [73% Merlot, 24.4% Cabernet Franc, 2.6% Petit Verdot, 25ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2019-2023. 82-85

Château Le Moulin, Pomerol

Deeper; more opaque at core; very ripe sweet fruit; nice expression; concentration on the nose; satin quality; some plum jam tones; definitely seductive and ripe wine; little more lighter on the palate than the aromatics suggest; nice purity of fruit; texture and refreshing acid. Tighter than I’d expected on the palate – much more closed – but promsing. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 2.4ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2019-2026. 87-89+

Château Montviel, Pomerol

Mid depth; vibrant edge; resin and wood tones with some red fruits; jam and sweetness; little jumbled but seem in equal proportion; later seems to settle in the glass; satin and spice tones; soft palate; easy; some texture but lacks concentration. Little oak on the finish, but not dominant. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 4.5ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2019-2025. 85-87

Château Nénin, Pomerol

Deeper and darker at the core; nice blackcurrant; pretty Cabernet Franc on the nose; creamy notes; oak on the palate dominates a bit; texture is good; lacks a bit of mid palate richness; should blend in. Nice finish. Needs to fill out. [68% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, 41hl/ha, 30% new oak, 13.8% alc, 3.70TA, 3,53pH, IPT 69]. Drink 2020-2026. Tasted Léoville-Las-Cases 30 March, 2015. 89-91+

Château Plince, Pomerol

Mid red; deepish at centre; little loser at the edge; little more oak influenced and tempered; little lift from the wood but attractive fruit; some delicacy; quite nicely integrated; sexy almost; palate little subdued; not quite so vibrant; but there is texture and polish; more measure and oak influenced; the fruit will re-emerge. Nice sap and acidity at the end; plenty of juicy fruit underneath things [and it’s not that submerged]; nice finish; some chew and sap. Some length here. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted JP Moueix 1 April, 2015. 87-89+

Château Petit-Village, Pomerol

Deep core; earthy purple at edge; some chocolate; depth apparent but sample a bit dumb; nice palate; well handled fruit; layered and composed; fresh and very Bordeaux. Like this. [72% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted UGCB 1st April ’15. Drink 2020-2030. 90-92+

Château La Pointe, Pomerol

Deep and saturated colour; tight to edge; perfumed and fragrant; plenty of cherry fruit with some blackcurrants; fresh and attractive palate; quite plump; plenty of oomph on the palate; juicy style; plump and juicy. Bright acidity on the finish. Tasted UGCB 1st April ’15. Drink 2019-2028. 89-91+

Château Rouget, Pomerol

Deep and bold; saturated look; lifted; VA; oak and resin; red fruit packed beneath; attractive; oak; fruit and depth; extract; will fill out and cover the structure; has satin quality too; good overall – wood a bit present. Modern styled but I think this will settle well. [85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc 17ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2019-2025. 87-89

Château Taillefer, Pomerol

Mid depth; little dumb; extract on the nose; hard palate; chewy and lacking in generosity. Lean Pomerol, may come through. Dry finish. [85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 12ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2019-2024. 83-85

Château Latour à Pomerol, Pomerol

Deep and saturated look; quite tight to the rim; opaque at centre; creamy; perfumed and more layered; clearly a serious effort but the fruit has such joy; perfumed lift; plummy fresh fruit and summer compote beneath; delicious and nicely integrated [fraction better than Bourgneuf]; caressing fruit on the entry; so much juice and joy here; lovely vintage for these wines seemingly; layers of plummy fruit and some spicy overlay; structured but the fruit is the thing. Zappy on the end. Vibrant and fresh. Exciting and vital wine. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted JP Moueix 1 April, 2015. 91-93+

Château Trotanoy, Pomerol

Fresh at edge; purple and fresh looking; deep core; plummy; spices; some red fruits and satin; chalky and substantial; lots of minerality and sap; more wet rock elements than La Fleur-Pétrus; substantial; very moreish in terms of juicy fruit and acid impression; definitely bigger and more chew on the finish. Substantial and bold. Will doubtless reveal more down the track. Drink 2022-2035. 93-95+

Clos de la Vielle Eglise, Pomerol

Mid depth; quite dark at centre; pure cherry tones; freshness; little tangy; fresh; lacks concentration but soft and not extracted; lacks middle; may fill out. Some chew on the finish. [70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 1.5ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2019-2025. 85-87.

Château Vieux Maillet, Pomerol

Mid depth; vibrant edge; quite full; little pinched compared with some; palate easy and soft; lacks the highlights; not hugely stylish; has good-ish fruit and texture and some chew on the finish. Lacks excitement. [75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.7ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2019-2025. 84-86

Clos Vieux Taillefer, Pomerol

Deep and saturated look; plum; spices; fresh; some red fruits; lifted; easy entry; some perfume [oak]; spices; fruitcake notes; needs to meld a bit; soft; not over-extracted. [100% Merlot, 3.8ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2019-2025. 85-87

Château Vray-Croix de Gay, Pomerol

Light-mid depth; little translucent; light, pretty fruit; ripe cherry; soft plum; colour and fresher style; cool and fresh fruit; some depth and juicy sour cherry; bit of extract and chew; soft finish. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 3.7ha]. Drink 2019-2024. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 85-87

Vieux Château Certan, Pomerol, 2014

Vibrant and healthy colour; beautiful aromas – plum and creamy blackcurrant and black cherry notes; ripe and clean; spices; creamy note to the palate – very harmonious with good fresh acidity; very attractive prospect; proportional and balanced. Probably will fill out more too. Feels very complete and finely crafted. [80% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, 1% cabernet Sauvignon, pH3.62 TA3.68, IPT 63 13.4% alc 39 hl/ha Tasted 3rd April ’15. Drink 2022-2030. 94-96+

 

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