Early tasting of 2014s leads to comparison with 2008 vintage and claims that it's the best "since 2010".
By Adam Lechmere | Posted Thursday, 19-Mar-2015 on Wine Searcher
The verdict from the first tasting of the much-anticipated Bordeaux 2014s is that it is a classic vintage that tastes like "proper old-fashioned claret".
The Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux, a loose grouping of 192 smaller châteaux from the left and right banks, was in London last week along with its president, vigneron Alain Raynaud to show off the wines.
Producers have been optimistic about 2014 since the excellent September weather boosted quality and yields after a damp summer. Château Mouton Rothschild's managing director Philippe Dhalluin told Wine Searcher in January they were confident about quality, and there is general agreement that Cabernet Sauvignon in the Médoc was very good indeed. And, on the right bank, Cabernet Franc is getting an equally good press.
These sentiments were echoed by proprietors at the tasting last week. "It's like 2008 but with better Cabernet Franc, warmer and softer," Paul Goldschmidt, who owns three properties in Pomerol and Lalande de Pomerol, told Wine Searcher.
Other producers – and merchants – called it "classic". "It's like tasting proper old-fashioned claret, with lovely juice and acidity," said one veteran London merchant, who did not wish to be named.
In Saint-Émilion, Robert Helsmoortel of Château La Marzelle and Jonathan Maltus of Château Teyssier agreed with Goldschmidt about the Cabernet Franc. "It's the best this year. The vintage has classic fruit, juicy, with good tannins. It's not great, but it's very good," Goldschmidt said.
The vintage as a whole is "the best we've had since 2010", Maltus said.
Raynaud, however, tried to manage expectations. It's a good, if patchy vintage, he said, definitely weighted towards quality on the left bank. But he is not sure people will be clamoring to buy.
"The market isn't excited. I have just done a tasting for all the brokers in Bordeaux and they are telling me they have no need of this vintage. I am not pessimistic, but realistic," he said. "I don't see a market that wants Bordeaux futures."
One negociant, Laurent Ehrmann of Barrière Frères, disagreed. "Cautious enthusiasm" best summed up the mood in Bordeaux, he told Wine Searcher. "This is classic claret. It's like 2004, 2006, or 2008. It will be a very good distribution vintage."
In London, merchants are upbeat when it comes to the quality of the few wines they've tasted. "These are plush, ripe but fresh, low-alcohol wines that consumers would love to have in their cellars," Greg Sherwood of London's Handford Wines said.
But he's less positive when it comes to price. "Growers have already started to indicate that prices won't come down on 2013 levels", he said, which didn't bode well for a system in which "trust is seriously dented, more than the Bordelais even comprehend".