With the first reds finishing ferment but still much picking to do [see harvest at Chateau Quintus left] there are promising signs that Bordeaux 2014 will be a potentially good red Bordeaux vintage. Excitement has risen considerably following a near perfect month in September, one of the sunniest and driest on record. Some are comparing the conditions in the past month to 1961, 1929 and even 1921. Hold your breath though. While the weather has largely held in the first week of October, allowing many properties to finish harvesting their Merlot [the harvest is already over for several leading Pomerol properties] more variable weather is on the way. This week is likely to be critical for the Cabernets and perhaps the overall quality of the vintage on the left bank especially.
Posts Tagged ‘Domaine de Chevalier’
Of course it is far too soon to make an assessment of the 2014 vintage in Bordeaux (the critical month is August), but it is interesting to look at the weather conditions so far to see how they may affect the final outcome. For some unfortunate growers in the northern Médoc, we know already that they will have vastly reduced crops because of the hail storm that struck on Whit Sunday (8 June). In four or five villages to the east of Lesparre-Médoc, nearly 50% of the vineyard was affected and some growers are reporting up to 100% loss. This was the critical flowering period, and hail is very effective at stripping the vines of their leaves. No leaves means no photosynthesis and therefore no crop. Fortunately for other producers, hail is usually very localised. Outside the northern Médoc, others are more upbeat about climatic conditions so far.
Pessac-Léognan usually comes up tops in a difficult Bordeaux vintage. Certainly there is no doubt that the best reds here in this appellation are amongst some of the most impressive 2013s. Interestingly too, qualitatively speaking, both Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion [pictured here] appear to have been knocked of their respective perches this year. For me Château Smith Haut Lafitte has surpassed both, while Château Pape Clément and Château Haut-Bailly, also felt fractionally superior. Certainly these three properties together have succeeded admirably in conquering the difficult conditions of the vintage.
There’s a very fresh, saline quality to the whites of Pessac-Léognan in 2013 and overall the vintage looks successful. Comparisons are being made with 2007 and 2010, but with greater acidity than the latter. Certainly the wines are marked by freshness, emphasized partly as they are a bit less weighty with fractionally lower alcohols than usual. None of this is a bad thing. It makes makes for complex, nuanced and appetizing dry white wines.