Now the dust has settled on primeurs week my verdict would be that 2014 Bordeaux is a good to very good vintage for red wines, a vintage which favours the Left Bank especially, but there are also many successes on the Right Bank too. Without doubt it is the best and most consistent vintage since 2010, though it is not up to the quality of that vintage nor its predecessor 2009, with a couple of possible exceptions. 2014 is another excellent vintage for the dry white wines of Bordeaux and there are a number of stylish sweet wines from Sauternes and Barsac. Given the overall quality of the reds, 2014 is definitely a vintage worthy of purchasing en primeur, assuming the price is right. Early indications are that prices will remain stable or increase a little from 2013 for the top estates [an altogether inferior vintage for the reds]. Still given exchange rates, this will still be a reduction of between 10-20% if you are a GBP or USD customer – so if that’s your currency 2014 is potentially interesting. The litmus test usually is that chateaux must release cheaper than any physically available vintage otherwise an en primeur purchase makes no financial sense. So, even if by default, 2014 may be the first vintage since 2008 to offer decent prospects for the consumer. Fingers crossed!
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Montrose’
If you ignore the question of the price of 2014 Bordeaux – though the subject is the elephant in the room in every salle de degustation you visit – and just look at the wines themselves, yesterday trips to nine properties on the northern left bank shows just how impressive 2014 is at the top level. In St Estèphe Montrose and Calon Ségur have both produced breathtaking wine – both have power, scale density and freshness in their different ways. Junior siblings here – Tronquoy-Lalande and Capbern [the Gasqueton has been dropped from the name] are both irresistible. Cos continues its thoughtful progression and has produced nicely measured and precise wines in the vintage [and Cos Blanc goes from strength to strength]. At Meyney, Montrose’s close neighbour, 2014 has produced a big, strapping wine full of extract and alcohol.
St Estèphe enjoyed an excellent vintage in 2010. The vintage showed great promise early on and later at Vinexpo at an in-depth tasting of the appellation’s wines two years ago [see those notes here]. The MW Institute’s line up of five of the top properties of the appellation last November, albeit sans over-achiever Château Meyney, shows the wines to be living up to their potential. Almost all have much more to give with further bottle age. Château Montrose is full of power and weight, but also freshness. This is yet another Montrose with years of life ahead of it. Château Calon Ségur has produced beautiful Bordeaux that has the most wonderfully moreish texture. Château Cos d’Estournel was a little backward compared with the rest, and certainly compared to its own overt 2009, but there is greater freshness and typicity to Cos in 2010. Château Cos Labory has made another chewy, substantial wine. Qualitatively it rivals their fabulous 2009.
The MW Institute’s Annual Claret tasting of over one hundred top chateaux held last November was a good opportunity to assess how the 2010 Bordeaux vintage is developing. There is no doubt that this is a great vintage for many reds. It has been pretty consistent from cask to bottle, a vintage generally much more classical than the precocious and forward 2009, but of similarly prodigious quality. Taken together these two vintages make an exceptional back-to-back duo for Bordeaux, especially so on the Left Bank and in Pessac-Léognan. The same can also be said for Sauternes and Barsac. Pomerol and St Emilion once again have made many excellent wines in 2010, often extremely well endowed and big framed, though sometimes too much so in St Emilion when they nudge sixteen degrees.
Overall St Estèphe was a little more variable than I’d expected in 2013. The wines are fresh, vigorous and pretty high in acidity. Some lack charm and there’s not the full-fat quality of the good years here. There are successes. I’ve posted already on Calon-Ségur, Château Cos d’Estournel, Château Meyney and Château Montrose, but Château Phélan Ségur looks nicely polished, Château Capbern Gasqueton is very pretty and I was particularly struck by Château de Pez. There are also solid efforts from Château Haut-Marbuzet, Château Tronquoy-Lalande, Château Le Crock and Château Ormes de Pez, though they lack the flair of the best vintages.
Only five properties were shown from St Estèphe at the MW Institute event late last year but it included all the big guns: Cos d’Estournel, Calon Ségur and Montrose. Of these, Montrose showed real classicism with tremendous power and freshness. Cos seemed even thicker and richer than I remembered it. Let’s just say it continues to be an extremely bold winemaking statement. But Calon is the one that really does steal your heart. It has produced absolutely delicious Bordeaux in 2009. It is the star buy. Special mention also goes to Château Lafon-Rochet. It has made a wonderfully concentrated St Estèphe in this vintage.