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Bordeaux 2014: St Estèphe

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_6747For me St Estèphe has produced some of the 2014 vintage’s most exciting wines. I’ve already written on Château Cos d’Estournel, Château Calon Ségur and Château Montrose who have jointly produced a set of 2014s can will probably hold their own alongside their remarkable 2010s. But this is not the end of the story. Very impressive wines have also been made at Château Capbern, Château Lafon-Rochet, Château Meyney, Château Ormes de Pez, Château Phélan Ségur, and Château Tronquoy-Lalande. Château Le Boscq, Château La Commanderie, Château Le Crock are all potentially excellent too. I’m a great fan of this appellation usually but 2014 is a wonderful vintage here. Given the reasonable pricing of so many of these wines, this vintage provides an excellent hunting ground for price-savvy Bordeaux enthusiasts. 

Clearly the 2014 growing season was drier overall in St Estèphe than in most other appellations. Less rain fell here in August, and the slightly more exposed topography here meant the district more keenly felt the hot drying winds of September, further concentrating the harvest. While there is a fairly high proportion of Merlot in the blends here, it is the quality of the Cabernets that shines through. The fine late September and October weather meant that picking could be delayed for optimum ripeness. The choice was yours.

Amongst the properties who delayed the most was Château Meyney. They waited until the 21 October to complete the harvest of their Cabernet Sauvignon. This property is capable of producing great St Estèphe, positioned nicely alongside Château Montrose. 2014 was the first vintage here with new über consultant Hubert de Boüard [Denis Dubourdieu no longer consults for owner CA Grand Crus as I understand it]. De Boüard now works alongside technical director Anne Le Naour. 2014 Meyney is certainly even more opulent than usual, though I’ve already been impressed with the steady improvements here over the past decade at this property. The 2009 Meyney also tasted while at the property is in fantastic shape, thought it may ultimately be rivaled by the 2014, and the 2008 tasted during primeurs week was a delight. Meyney was released at around £160/$260 per case of 12.

Château Le Crock looks very polished in 2014 also, from the team behind Léoville-Poyferré. The property, which lies on the Marbuzet plateau directly behind Cos d’Estournel and adjacent to Château Haut-Marbuzet, produces serious, long-term St Estèphe. 2014 is akin to 2010 and 2005 here. Interestingly also had a look at the 2005 on my visit which is developing very well. Notes on this will appear in a later post on how the 2005 vintage is progressing.

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The other properties worth a specific mention are Château Lafon Rochet and Château Le Boscq [pictured above]. Le Boscq has made the best wine I’ve had from here recently [and the wines have been generally good]. At Lafon-Rochet they have produced the finest wine since their impressive 2009 and 2010 combination. There is a lot of extract and matter in their 2014, but also a twist of attractive freshness.

I’ve already posted separately in profiles on Calon-Ségur and Montrose on the very impressive Château Capbern and Château Tronquoy-Lalande. Both are excellent – and Capbern [£120/$192 x12] is one of the start buys of the vintage [the price on Tronquoy-Lalande yet to be released].

The following notes were taken variously at the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting at Château Lynch-Moussas, the Cru Bourgeois tasting at Château d’Arsac and Le Grand Cercle event at Château Bellefont-Belcier as well as at the properties indicated. The only omission for me is Chateau Haut-Marbuzet which I hope to taste soon.

Château Beau-Site, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2014

Big and black looking; ripe; full; cassis and some jam; soft entry; easy; some cherry fruit; mid weight with good depth; little loose on the finish. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted at Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arsac, 2 April, 2015. 85-87

Château Le Boscq, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2014

Deep and saturated looking; intense and inky aromatics; tight but layered; creamy blackcurrant notes; plums; spices; nicely handled oak; soft tannins; good blackcurrant and briary fruit. Excellent effort. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted at Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arsac, 2 April, 2015. 89-91+

Château Calon Ségur, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe, 2014.

Deeply coloured; arterial at centre; legs; opaque; very seductive blackcurrant fruit; power but very evident refinement; very complete even at this stage; pure and focused; fruit compelling; natural and unadorned [even despite 100% new oak]; lovely flavour; beautiful Cabernet tones; perfumed fruit; layered and textured; simply fantastic effort in my book; caressing fruit and elegance despite the obvious power and concentration. Excellent length. [66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 13.8% alc, TA 3.6, pH 3.70, IPT 78, 41hl/ha, 100% new oak]. Drink 2020-2035. Tasted at Calon Ségur 30 March, 2015. 95-97+

Château Capbern, St Estèphe, 2014

Deep colour; very saturated look; colour tight to the rim; lots of ripe fruit here; real joy; black fruits; some cherry but nicely fresh; composed too; pretty and voluptuous even; lovely fruit tones continue on the palate; plenty of extract and ripe fruit tones; perfumed and caressing; great palate really; concentrated and glossy. Great effort. Drink 2019-2030. [78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 14.2% alc, TA 3.50, pH 3.80, IPT 76, 41hl/ha yield, 60% new oak]. Tasted at Calon Ségur 30 March, 2015. 91-93+

Château Clauzet, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2014

Deepish; some jam and stalky blackcurrant fruit; strawberry notes; spices; goodish depth on the palate; some jam; silky tannins. Drink 2019-2024. Tasted at Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arsac, 2 April, 2015. 85-87

Château La Commanderie, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2014

Deepish colour; fresh and attractive fruit; decent purity; blackcurrants; plums; more freshness than some; nice texture; ripe but not over ripe; mid weight; good stuff. Drink 2020-2025. Tasted at Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arsac, 2 April, 2015. 86-88

Château Cos d’Estournel, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe, 2014

Deep and concentrated colour; tight to the rim; legs; pure; creamy tones; sweetness and ripeness; fat almost but nicely layered aromatics; core of blackcurrant, cassis fruit; similarly layered palate with an excellent core of fruit and material; oak appears completely soaked up by the fruit; nicely balanced; freshness too; lots of matter and material; little warmth on the finish and plenty of ripe tannin too. Impressive stuff. [65% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot 33%, Cabernet Franc, 2%, 14.2% alc, TA3.5, pH3.77 IPT 87 80% new oak]. Drink 2020-2035. Tasted at Cos, 30 March, 2015. 94-96+

Château Cos Labory, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe, 2014

Deep and saturated looking; purple at edge; tight; some black fruits; blackcurrants and some perfume lift on aeration; soft and easy on the palate; plenty of fruit; soft tannins and some cream. Attractive stuff. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 88-90

Château Le Crock, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2014

Dark saturated look; tight at centre; purple at edge; wonderfully pure fruit; mineral tones; blackcurrant notes; spices; black cherry fruit; elegance but also precision; little wet rock note; tannins nicely handled; ripe tannins and elegant finish. Very mannered St Estephe. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, IPT 83, TA 3.60, pH 3.70, 13.81% alc, 39 hl/ha] Drink 2019-2026 Tasted at Léoville-Poyferré 30 March, 2015. 89-91+ [additional note] Deep and saturated colour; textured; wet rock; minerals; taut; some freshness; cream; composed and polished on the palate; nice fruit; nicely textured and measured St Estephe. Tannic but has good length. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted at Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arsac, 2 April, 2015. 89-91+

La Dame de Montrose, St Estèphe, 2014

Deep and dark; black cherry and plum tones; lots of fruit and freshness; kirsch and summer compote; lots going on aromatically which suggests a very positive future; some stalky blackcurrant fruit tones too; caressing and positive palate; plenty of matter but round and enveloping tannins; Merlot more dominant on the palate; grip and chew on the finish. [50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 14% alc, 37% of production]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted at Montrose 30 March, 2015. 91-93

Château Laffitte-Carcasset, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2014

Saturated colour; juicy plums; oak and fruit; pain grillé; palate masked by new oak currently; has elements but needs to settle; potentially good. Drink 2021-2028. Tasted at Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arsac, 2 April, 2015. 85-87+

Château Lafon-Rochet, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe, 2014

Deep and saturated looking; purple at edge; creamy; black cherry aromatics; very full and glossy; nice depth; good fruit and structure; glossy and voluptuous fruit but with nice freshness still; lovely creamy fruit here in 2014. Very good effort. 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 90-92+

Château Lilian Ladouys, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2014

Deep colour; black fruits; some wet rock; tar; cake spices; textured almost verging towards the thick; gutsy with some tannic clout; chewy finish. Drink 2022-2028. Tasted at Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arsac, 2 April, 2015. 85-87

Marquis de Calon, St Estèphe, 2014

Deep and saturated colour; tight to the rim; purple at edge; saturated and opaque; black cherry; ripe and real sweetness; pretty palate; perfume; cherry and plum tones; soft feel to the fruit on entry; tannins very enveloping; plenty of fruit but some sense of modesty at the same time; supple; some chew and trace of alcohol on the finish. [64% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.7% alc, TA 3.6, pH 3.60, PIT 70, 41hl/ha, 50% new oak]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted at Calon Ségur 30 March, 2015. 91-92+

Château Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe, 2014.

Deep and extracted look; very opaque; tight to the rim; freshness; purple hues; very focused and layered on the nose; really concentrated; perfumed and pretty blackcurrant and cassis tones; very pure and attractive; little more wood evident on the palate but lots of elements; super extract and depth; layer upon layer of fruit; terrific concentration and power here; quite epic. Glossy and caressing. Magnificent wine. Has the whiff of immortality about it. On par with 2010 for me. [61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, 13.7% alc, 47% of production, 60% new oak.]. Drink 2023-2040. Tasted at Montrose 30 March, 2015. 96-98+

Château Meyney, St Estèphe, 2014

Black and dark coloured; very ripe big tarry number; liquorice and black fruits; tar and warm asphalt; palate full of fruit; bold and big; sweet fruit; lots of extract and matter; wow – recalls the big Meyney’s of the 1960s and 1970s. Lots of extract and chew. This is bold, big, strapping St Estephe. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, 30% new oak, 14 % alc]. Tasted at Meyney 31 March, 2015. 90-92+

Château Ormes de Pez, St Estèphe, 2014

Deep and saturated colour; deep at central purple at edge; stone fruits, wet rock, black cherry; cassis notes; nicely ripe fruit; depth and texture on the palate; voluptuous fruit here; some jam, cream and ink; oak too. Excellent effort. [47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot. 45% new oak]. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 90-92+

Les Pagodes des Cos, St Estèphe, 2014

Deeply coloured; saturated look; purple at the meniscus; healthy looking; fruit; precise and creamy; blackcurrant; clean and fresh; some black cherry and summer fruit compote tones; layered palate with texture and a seam of blackcurrant fruit; nice acidity here; complete on the end with nice length. Good effort. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 13.9% alc, 3.4TA, 3.78 pH, ITP 73, 50% new oak]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted at Cos, 30 March, 2015. 90-92+

Château Petit Bocq, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2014

Deep and saturated looking; toasty oak; black chocolate notes; black cherry; mid weight palate; some silky fruit here but currently masked by oak; needs to settle. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted at Cru Bourgeois event at d’Arsac, 2 April, 2015. 84-86+

Château de Pez, St Estèphe, 2014

Deep and saturated; tighter on the nose than Ormes de Pez; black chocolate; some graphite; cool palate; elegant with marked freshness [acidity]; tannins a little tough; Reasonable length. See how this goes, tannins little hard seemingly. [56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot 13.55 alc.] Drink 2018-2027. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 85-87.

Château Phélan Ségur, St Estèphe, 2014

Deep and dark; wet rocks; chalk; minerality; black cherries; palate has fragrance; blackcurrant fruit; tautness; acidity but also extract; correct on the palate; extract and grip; length and some chew currently on the finish. Goodish and will fill out I expect. [64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot. 13.5% alc, 3.6TA 50% new oak, 85 IPT]. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 88-90+

Château Tour de Pez, St Estèphe, 2014

Earthy purple at edge; deep centre; ripe fruit; full; sweetness and candy lift; violets; sweet fruit; nice layers; nicely handled on the palate; good fruit here; nice modest and precision; elegant but quite refined. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted at Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 85-87+

Château Tours des Termes, St Estèphe, 2014

Deep and saturated; opaque at centre; full; some menthol; spice; solid feel; red fruits too; ripe and soft; full and quite lush; caressinf fruit; some spice and falls away a fraction; chew and a little astringency at the back. Good-ish. Drink 2015-2022. Tasted at Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 83-85+

Château Tronquoy Lalande, St Estèphe, 2014.

Deep and saturated; very dark; loaded with extract and matter; black cherry; graphite and genuine depth; glossy and very enticing; freshness too; black cherry and kirsch notes on the palate but with freshness; lots of matter and extract; plenty here and really concentrated; plenty of depth to the fruit; stylish; chew on the finish but tannins ripe. [56% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 14% alc, 25% new oak]. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted at Montrose 30 March, 2015. 90-92+

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