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Bordeaux 2014: Pessac-Léognan & Graves white wines

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

DSC01457The quality of Pessac-Léognan’s dry white wine is exciting in 2014. Whilst the quality of recent vintages has been high here, 2014 looks excellent. Once again there is a salty, saline touch to the wines, which, by and large, display refreshing and moreish acidity but there are plenty of ripe, pretty fruit flavours to be found in the wines too. Overall they will give much enjoyment. These are stylish, impressive white wines with verve and character. If you are a fan of top class white Bordeaux then they are usually worth buying en primeur as, unless you plan a trip to Bordeaux, they are produced in small quantities and can be hard to find.

I’ve already posted on the spectacular white wines produced at Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion. La Clarté, the second wine of both properties, is also impressive [and much. much less expensive]. At the Union des Grand Crus tasting Château Smith Haut Lafitte was gorgeous, with Château Malartic-Lagravière not far behind. Château Pape Clément should also be very good down the track, though it was aromatically a little subdued when tasted.

In the classical vein Domaine de Chevalier is pure, taut and elegant in 2014, Château Olivier fresh and impressive and Château Carbonnieux has depth and class. Château Latour-Martillac is also very good.

In the bolder, more overtly styled wines, Château Bouscaut should settle nicely, though currently a little oaky, and Château de Fieuzal has all the elements, which should meld well. Château Larrivet Haut-Brion is full and textured [with a fair bit of alcohol I reckon]. Château Haut-Bergey looks good, a modern styled Pessac-Léognan. Outside of the UGCB Clos Marsalette was zappy and refreshing.

In Graves it is worth mentioning the knockout performance from Chateau Rahoul. This property has produced beautiful white wines for a number of years, but there is great class and finesse to Rahoul in 2014.

Château Bouscaut, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Pale silver; lots of oak and oyster shell notes; some grapefruit tones; substantial and weighty; bold palate; slightly worked style but with attractive body & mouthfeel; length on the finish. Good effort in a bold Bouscaut style. [57% Sauvignon Blanc, 43% Sémillon]. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 91-93+

Château Carbonnieux, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Silver/hints of green; very washed and fresh looking; fresh, taut and some green apple notes; sense of finesse and style on the nose; some wax and tautness; peardrop and white flower notes; focused palate; bone dry but with depth and length; refreshing – nicely taut and saline. Salty tang on finish. Genuine length. Classy and elegant. [70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon]. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 91-93+

Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Silver; apple and peardrop notes; vinous; mineral and some spice; piercing; taut and elegant on the palate; apple freshness with mineral, zippy finish. Should fill out further. [75% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Sémillon]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 91-93+

La Clarté de Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Washed green gold; lovely lychee, lime and citrus notes with hints of oyster shell; saline quality too; nice weight on entry; very balanced; lots of concentration, life and acidity; very zippy but has weight too; big white this in fact; great stuff with impressive length. [34% Sémillon, 66% Sauvignon Blanc. 14.7% alc, Clarté represents the second wine of both La Mission and Haut-Brion Blancs.] Drink 2018-2025. 92-94+

Château de Fieuzal, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Silver/green; washed; candied peel, white melon and pear drop notes; little oak dominates the palate currently; some cashew; needs to meld but has weight and texture. Some length. Little disjointed for now – but de Fieuzal makes classy whites so expect this to meld. [60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon]. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 90-93+

Château de France, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Palest silver; some honey and candy tones; wax; little tight; grapefruit tones on the palate with wax and flint and apple highlights; tight in the middle but easy finish currently. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon]. Drink 2017-2022. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 86-88

Château Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Pale straw/silver [bit cloudy currently]; candy and pear drop notes; fresh; waxy and full palate with some wet wool notes. Nicely done. [80% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc]. Drink 2017-2024. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 90-91+

Château Haut-Brion Blanc, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Pale gold/green; full; some sweet cashew; green apples; cream; limes and lychee; very beautiful on the nose; full and open on the palate but also wonderful tension too; impressive texture and mouth feel; some sweetness and fatness from the alcohol but the natural acidity also gives a freshness and life to the end; white wine doesn’t get much better. Highest percentage of Sémillon in ten years. [68% Sémillon, 32% Sauvignon Blanc 14.75% alc, pH 3.2]. Drink 2019-2028. 96-98+  

Château Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Bright silver/gold; little guava and wet wool; some candy and pear drop notes; full palate with texture [little oily] and weight alongside some honey. Alcohol on the finish. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon, 14.6% alc]. Drink 2017-2024. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 90-92

Château Latour-Martillac, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Washed silver; hint of green; grapefruit and citrus elements; some candy notes; lychees tones; very attractive; palate quite strong; nice acidity; dips a fraction in the middle but will fill in I’d expect. Good effort. [70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon]. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 90-92+

Château La Louvière, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Washed silver/gold; grapefruit and apple tones; saline touch; attractive; some race and acidity on the palate; lively elegant style with zip and acidity; finishes trifle short will fill out. [85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Semillon]. Drink 2017-2022. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 88-90+

Clos Marsalette, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Pale straw; candy; fresh pear drops; fragrant; lychee highlights; taut; grapefruit; some wax; lanolin; wonderful zip and freshness; racy finish. [70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon]. Tasted Canon-la-Gaffeliere 1st April ’15. Drink 2017-2023. 88-90+

Château Malartic-Lagravière, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Washed silver/grey; some white melon and white peach tones; little white flower; candy; quite solid palate; firm with plenty of tautness and freshness; white melon notes; modern but attractive. Excellent. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 91-93+

Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Pale green gold; full; little wax; limes and citrus elements but broader than simple fruit tones; fresh grapefruit hints; nice mouth feel has weight but very round and full; concentration; acidity; saline quality on the finish; profound length; amazing stuff. [72% Sémillon, 28% Sauvignon Blanc, 14.75% alc, 3.13pH]. Drink 2018-2025. 95-97+

Château Olivier, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Silver colour; grapefruit and candy; pear drop; fresh and attractive; grapefruit on the attack; very bright and fresh; pear drop elements on the palate; quite classic and saline on the finish. Very attractive white. [78% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon, 2% Muscadelle]. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 91-93+

Château Pape-Clément, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Pale silver and gold; little dumb; some honey; little grapefruit and guava tones; opens up a bit in the glass; some oyster shell; apples on the palate with nice apple acidity; wax and tight on the finish. Very good length. Should fill out further. [50% Sémillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Sauvignon Gris]. Drink 2018-2028. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 92-94+

Château Picque Caillou, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Pale straw with green hints; fresh and flinity styled; emphasis on the fresh Sauvignon Blanc; some citrus elements; fresh and zippy on the palate; lacks complexity but undeniably fresh and zippy; needs to round out on the finish. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon]. Drink 2016-2022. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 87-88

Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan, 2014

Pale straw/silver; full and gorgeous aromatics – white flowers; some melon; white peach; very seductive; taut at the same time; palate has more grapefruit and zesty tones; some lanolin and wax; real breadth to the palate; great texture and acid on the finish. Balanced. Length and texture. They say here that the 2014 whites have the body of 2010 with the acidity of 2008. Fascinating combination. Smith Haut Lafitte white once again almost up with La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc and Haut-Brion Blanc for me. [90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sémillon, 5% Sauvignon Gris, 50% new oak]. Drink 2018-2028. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 94-96+


Château de Chantegrive, Graves, 2014

Silver gold; fine; some limes and lychees; wax; limes and lychees again; tight finish with nice apple acid bite; little grapefruit zest; fresh and crisp style. [60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon]. Drink 2016-2020. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 87-88+

Château Ferrande, Graves, 2014

Bright green gold; fresh; less overt and complex than Rahoul; still nice grapefruit zest and oyster shell notes; vibrant palate with quite strong acid. [44% Sémillon, 37% Sauvignon Gris, 19% Sauvignon Blanc]. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 85-87

Château Rahoul, Graves, 2014

Pale silver/straw; fresh citrus; grapefruit and candy/pear drop notes; spices some wax; aromatic and full; nice weight on the palate with good balance and zip and freshness. Excellent stuff. Lots of finesse and style. [78% Sémillon, 17% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris]. Drink 2016-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 90-91+


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