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Bordeaux 2014: Pauillac

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_68582014 looks to be a strong vintage in Pauillac. I’ve already reported on the outstanding wines from Château Latour, Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Mouton-Rothschild, Château Pichon-Lalande, Château Duhart-Milon, Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Château Pontet-Canet. At the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux event held at Château Lynch-Moussas [pictured], Château Lynch-Bages and Château Pichon Longueville were equally impressive, while Château Batailley was extremely fine. Good wines have been made at Château d’Armailhac, Château Clerc Milon and Château Grand-Puy Ducasse.

As you’ll be aware, the end of season Indian summer really favoured the later ripening Cabernets here, so you’d expect Pauillac to have faired well in this vintage. Nevertheless there is some variation, and 2014 is not the knockout affair that 2009 and 2010 were here at the same stage in their different ways. That said, 2014 has more evident freshness than ’09, if not the weight and richness, and it is also more supple than ’10, yet without the extraordinary density of that year. So there is a lot to recommend about 2014 in Pauillac, even if it doesn’t quite scale the towering heights of ’09/’10.


Whether you are tempted to buy this vintage en primeur obviously comes down to price, as the quality is generally there. Much is still available at the time of posting. The wines should offered at a decent discount on 2006 and 2008, perhaps the most closely comparable vintages [though 2014 looks to be generally better than both of these]. A 20% discount has been discussed as the point at which wines in this en primeur campaign have found traction this year. Lafite judged prices very well, and so too did CA Grand Crus who own Château Grand-Puy Ducasse [pictured above]. Their 2014 is offered at a substantial discount [around 30%] to physically available comparable vintages. Lynch Bages too has priced very favourably – and has made a truly excellent wine. There is much excellent [free] analysis on Bordeaux pricing to be had on the Liv-Ex blog [check out this blog in particular]. Some UK merchants, notably Farr Vintners, also print the comparison prices of 2008 alongside their en primeur offers. Do shop about!


The following 25 wines were tasted either at the UGCB event or at the properties themselves.

Château d’Armailhac, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deep core; purple red at edge; attractive Cabernet purity; very pretty Cab; flattering at this stage; some wet rocks; blackcurrant and oak on the palate; chew and some density; balanced with decent sense of equilibrium; has flesh and good length. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot. 13.8% alc]. Drink 2021-2028. Tasted Mouton 30 March, 2015. 89-91+ [additional note] Deep and saturated look; creamy notes; some fruitcake elements; spices and cassis; little lift; wet rock notes; cool entry to the palate – blackcurrants and cassis and tannin and extract on the finish. Little pushed in feel at the back but textured in the mid palate with some chew to resolve in the tannins. Drink 2020 – 2030. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 87-89+

Château Batailley, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deep-ish; earthy purple at edge; cool, clean blackcurrant tones with some cassis; very attractive and composed; sweet ripe blackcurrant fruit on the palate which demonstrates excellent purity; textured with good mid-palate richness; this is very good Batailley; fine palate and shows the increasing class and sophistication at this property. Good length. Classy. [82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, yield 33hl/ha]. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 91-93

Château Bellegrave. Pauillac, 2014

Mid depth; dark core; slightly looser at edge; blackcurrant fruit; attractive and open; some layers; good stuff; fresh and cool Cabernet flavours; nice balance; good texture; elegance but also some layers; nice depth; good length. Balance. Drink 2027-2025. Tasted 30 March, 2015 Grand Cercle. 86-88+

Carruades de Lafite, Pauillac, 2014

Deep and healthy looking; vibrant edge; perfumed and rich aromatics; nicely composed; blackcurrant fruit; some fatness; plumpness from the Merlot; cool entry to the palate; blackcurrants and plums; very nicely done and proportional; wet rocks and some minerality too; softness and delicacy but also balance and quilibrium; length too. Little oak on the finish currently. [58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 13% alc]. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted 30 March, 2015 at Lafite. 91-93

Château Clerc Milon, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deep and concentrated; vibrant edge; blackcurrant and cassis; some wet rock; nice purity; attractive cool blackcurrant tones; some pretty perfume at edge; Cabernets feel dominant in the blend; spices and blackcurrants on the palate; extract and matter; some chew and more material evident than on d’Armailhac; still more closed but fraction more fruit on display on the day. [58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 29% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdit, 1% Carmenere]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted at Mouton 30 March, 2015. 90-92+ [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; some cake spices; wet rocks and minerality; tight; palate also a little tight and sappy; fraction hardness; blackcurrant fruit emerges but the wine is tight and shows elevated acidity leaving it finish chewy at present. Tighter and more closed than at Mouton earlier in the week. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 87-89

Château Croizet-Bages, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Mid depth; lighter core; stalky and elegant palate with blackcurrant aromatics; reasonably clean; rather grippy and lacking in concentration on the palate. Lots of grip and sap. Austere and lacks depth of the best. Hopefully it will fill out. Drink 2020-2025. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 84-86

Château Duhart Milon, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deep core; full looking; purple at edge; fractionally tighter to the rim than Carruades; fine, lead pencil Cabernet nose; gloss too and some prettiness; creamy blackcurrant fruit tones here; cool blackcurrant fruit on the palate; quite exceptional fruit tones in fact; Cabernet par excellence; lots of extract and matter but held in wonderful proportion; softly handled tannins; terrific length. Exquisite Duhart. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot 13% alc, harvest 23-29 September for Merlot, 29 September to 10 October for Cabernet Sauvignon.]. Drink 2019-2035. Tasted 30 March, 2015 at Lafite. 93-95+

Château Fonbadet, Cru Bourgeois, Pauillac, 2014

Deep and saturated looking; cassis; fruit cake and some jam; ripe fruit; creamy note; oak needs to settle; modern styled; ripe picked fruit. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted Cru Bourgeois 2 April, 2015. 86-88

Les Forts de Latour, Pauillac, 2014

Very fresh colour; earthy purple at the edge; firm; substantial; mineral; wet rock; layers; tight; tightness; little oak; tight and closed on the palate; matter; acidity; grip; lots of matter; elegance; acidity and fresh; opens up later to reveal pretty fruit and layers; bright, vivid black cherry and blackcurrant fruit; tighter still though; bit closed and shut down; chew and acid on the finish. Needs to settle but potentially exciting. [71.4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28.6% Merlot, 13.01alc, IPT 70, 40.1% of production]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted Latour, 2 April, 2015. 91-93+

Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Attractive depth; deep and vibrant at edge; bright fruit; clean; blackcurrants; cassis and cream; clarity and purity on the palate; blackcurrant tones; nice chew and density; good grip and structure; fresh acidity; fresh and pure Pauillac; good length and nicely ripe tannin. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted at Ch Meyney, 30 March, 2015. 88-90+ [Additional note] Deep and dark looking; purple edge; some oak influence; scented; then cool blackcurrant aromas beneath; palate has blackcurrant fruit and fresh vibrant acidity; bit grippy this sample but it will settle. Bright fruit. Fresh. Drink 2016-2030. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 88-90

Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deep and attractive looking; opaque at centre; legs: blackcurrant cassis; quite supple; cassis; freshness; some cherry; cool entry; blackcurrant fruit; nice precision and harmony; attractive fruit; nicely handled on the palate; nice fresh; blackcurrants; very nice purity overall; very harmonious Pauillac. 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 13.5 alc, 75% new oak]. Drink 2020-2035. 91-93+ [Earlier note] Deep-ish; minerals, chalk; cool blackcurrants at the back; tight on the palate; cold sample; acidity present. Has all the elements but subdued sample [cf one tasted at Grand-Puy Lacoste earlier in the day]. Drink 2017-2032. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 89-91

Château Haut-Bages Libéral, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deep and vibrant looking; mealy note; herbal tones; spices and some blackcurrants; sample a little dumb/subdued; elegant palate; high toned; lacks mid palate richness; freshness and acidity very present. Should settle. 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 40% new oak. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 85-87

Château Haut-Batailley, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deep; attractive; fresh looking; deep at centre; beautiful blackcurrant fruit; nice cool aromas; harmonious; beautiful aromatics; lovely purity; lovely glossy; blackcurrant flavours on the palate; fresh and acid; with length; acidity on the finish. Fresh. Attractive. Little oak to combine. Fresh. Nicely composed. 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 13.5% 60% new oak]. Tasted at Grand-Puy-Lacoste, 2 April 2015. Drink 2020-2030. 89-91+

Lacoste Borie, Pauillac, 2014

Mid depth; deep in the core; very ripe blackcurrant; fresh; vivacious; nice entry; some oak to resolve; little present on the palate; some cream; balance and freshness; vibrant; mineral; texture; attractive. [67% Cabernet Sauvignon 23% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 13.5% alc, 45% new oak.] Drink 2018-2025. Tasted at Grand-Puy-Lacoste, 2 April 2015. 86-88+

Château Lafite-Rothschild, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deep and dark; fresh looking at edge; opaque centre; purple at edge; very ripe blackcurrants and cassis notes; graphite; intense cassis infact; sublimated blackcurrants and cassis; plenty of flesh on the palate; focus; some oak to integrate but lots of blackcurrant fruit and cassis again; structure evident beneath; excellent purity and length; very long palate impression. This is concentrated Lafite, sublimated even. In the realm of the great years. [second sample showed similar characteristics – very concentrated blackcurrants; cassis]; exceptional stuff. [87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 12.6 degrees alc, harvest 22-27 September for Merlot and 29 September-8 October for Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc 2 October and Petit Verdot 10 October]. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted 30 March, 2015 at Lafite. 95-97+    

Château Latour, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deep and saturated; lovely colour; tight to the rim; sweet ripe blackcurrants; very nice seam of blackcurrants on the nose; layered; nice density; very polished; more open on the nose but considerable density; acid and fruit; freshness; very correct; perhaps a little strict at this stage; acidity and freshness very overt; lots of matter; very nice length. Long and elegant finish. Later opened up to reveal more bright black cherry and cassis notes on the nose; mineral palate with chew and extract on the finish; acidity strong and grippy. Very impressive, long-term Latour. [89.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.2% Merlot, 0.6% Cabernet Franc, 0.3% Petit Verdot, 12.89alc, IPT 77, 33.9% of production]. Drink 2023-2035. 95-97+

Château Lynch-Bages, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deep and dark; black and opaque at centre; saturated; lovely ripe cassis and fruit; very deep; open glossy blackcurrant aromatics; full blackcurrant tones on the palate; lots of extract here and matter but remains focused with a very central core of fruit; lots of chew and extract; tannins here but ripe by and large. Fairly long term but usually settles nicely. Deep and chewy. Potentially outstanding Lynch Bages. Real potential here. 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot. 75% new oak. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 93-95+

Château Lynch-Moussas, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deepish colour; dark core at centre; attractive Bordeaux – some elegance; stalky fresh Cabernet Sauvignon; tighter acidity and fresherness. Elegant style but should fill out a bit. 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 34hl/ha yield. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 85-87

Château Mouton Rothschild, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deeply coloured; vibrant edge; good depth; perfumed blackcurrants; some violet lift; freshness; cassis; layers but a little closed on the day; blackcurrant fruit on the palate; firm and sturdy; soaking up the oak; chew and extract here; plenty of matter and early days here; quite backward overall; lots of material evident and clearly has length. Needs to unwind somewhat – though clearly has density and extract. [81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 13.1% alc]. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted at Mouton 30 March, 2015. 94-96+

Pauillac de Latour, Pauillac, 2014

Mid depth; redder at edge with purple; bright fruit; fresh; blackcurrants; fresh blackcurrants; wet rock notes; textured with grip; cool fruit and acids; nice grip and chew. Freshness and sap. More ripeness from the Merlot; some spice; bright and grippy; vivid. [50.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42.3% Merlot, 7.1% Petit Verdot, 13.02alc, IPT 65, 26% of production]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted at Latour 2, April 2015. 88-90+

Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, 2014

Mid depth; colour quite tight to the rim; purple edge; stalky blackcurrant aromatics; little backward; palate fresh in acidity and fruit; Cabernet dominant; spicy blackcurrant tones and freshness; chew in the middle and has depth; bit backward at present – and certainly so for the usually more coquettish Petit Mouton. 2012 was much more flattering at the same stage. [93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot]. Drunk 2022-2028. Tasted at Mouton 30 March, 2015. 88-90

Château Pichon-Longueville, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deep and saturated look; dark and solidly opaque core; stalky, fresh blackcurrant fruit and cassis; little reductive at first but opens up; blackcurrant entry on the palate; fruit turns out to be ripe and pure with nice sweetness; lots of matter and extract and a little chewy on the finish. Needs to settle but all the elements there and in the right order. This is infant Pauillac afterall. Similar to Lynch Bages but with a little more composure. Excellent length and acidity. Quite a brilliant effort potentially. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 94-96

Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deep and polished looking; vibrant at edge; saturated colour in the middle; tighter and more composed on the nose; very measured; really finely focused seam of blackcurrant fruit; some mineral; perfumed lift as it opens up in the glass; concentrated palate; blackcurrant, black cherry and dark chocolate; texture and matter here; nicely balanced; acidity and texture; length and matter. Very exciting wine here. [65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted 2 April, 2015 at Pichon-Lalande. 93-95+

Château Pontet-Canet, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014

Deep bold colour; saturated; tight to the rim; healthy look; cassis; blackcurrant notes; ripe and full; little menthol and spice; round, full and generous on the palate; another Burgundian rendition of Pauillac here; lovely texture; creamy fruit; nicely fresh; very round and generous overall; supple quality to the tannins. Slips down a treat. [65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, 13.5% alc]. Drink 2020-2035. Tasted 2, April, 2015 at Pontet-Canet. 93-95+

Réserve de la Comtesse, Pauillac, 2014

Dense colour; opaque at centre; earthy purple at edge; black cherry; cassis tones; lush and very full presently on the nose; juicy almost; spices and some graphite; tighter on the palate; acidity and freshness dominate; vibrant but still needs to settle; lots of fruit. Very ood effort. [59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted Pichon-Lalande 2 April, 2015. 88-90+

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