Each vintage in Bordeaux, is picked over with a fine tooth comb and seems to garner more attention than any other wine region globally. It is, after all, a very large wine producing region and whilst there’s great wine made all around the world, Bordeaux continues to sit on the mantle as the greatest fine wine region.
The wine trade have been holding their breath with the 2014 vintage, after the trio 2011, 2012, 2013 did not produce show stoppers, rather a mixed bag including some very attractive early drinking wines. The dynamic duo, 2009 and 2010 still in the back of one’s mind, was 2014 going to deliver?
The initial view was not flash; for some parts of the region, flowering was inconsistent and for another year, volumes looked to be down. What followed was an extremely wet July and August. As producers headed off for summer holidays, the outcome did not look promising. A long hot September and October proved a godsend and ‘saved the vintage’.
The prolonged warm period allowed, particularly, Cabernet to be left on the vine achieving a good long hang time and good ripening. Merlot struggled a little more and was affected in parts of Pomerol with inconsistent flowering. Merlot is grown in a number of different soil types around Bordeaux and depending on the location and care taken, there are some good Merlot dominant wines. The Cabernet dominant wines are certainly more consistent. The wet start to the season then rapid heat produced excellent conditions for botrytis, the sweet wines from Bordeaux once again shining.
Pessac Léognan had an excellent year, the white wines are superb, very fresh with excellent acidity. The red’s have balance, tension and great character.
Across Bordeaux it is a region for white wine; one of the highlights of the week was the gorgeous Cos d’Estournel Blanc, an enchanting wine, it captured one’s attention even amidst all that young Cabernet.
The Left Bank overall is more consistent with Cabernet enjoying the long hang time and achieving good ripeness. It was a great year for Petit Verdot, it liked the conditions and appears in many blends this year.
The Right Bank is far less consistent, a real mixed bag with many different expression. The right should not be avoided, rather selected carefully.
We often look to compare one vintage to another, in doing so it does provide a reference point, one that we are familiar with. 2014 is not as great as the 2009 or 2010 vintages were for sure. It is also better in quality than the 2011,2012 or 2013 vintages. There are hints of the 2004 and 2008 vintages in these wines and they provide useful comparisons.