To see my full report, click HERE.
I have divided the wines in to 3 groups:
1. GREAT VALUE EVERYDAY DRINKING WINES – these are “little” wines selected purely for the value they represent – essentially, less than £ 20 per bottle when shipped inc duty and vat.
LALANDE BORIE, St Julien; ZR16+; DECANTER – 16.75; – £145.00 – THE BEST VALUE OF THE VINTAGE
This is second wine of Ducru Beaucaillou. The same care and attention goes into this as in Ducru, only the fruit comes from younger vineyards. Great effort; the wine is on Cru Classe level, very refined and elegant with great complexity and balance. Will benefit from 2-3 years in the bottle and will drink for at least 10 years. I am definitely having some for my cellar even if my estimate is wrong !!! As good as the 2010 here.
Fugue de Nenin; Pomerol: – £155.00; ZR – 15+, Decanter 15.5
Second wine of Ch Nenin; owned and run by Leoville Las Casses team. Shiny purple, bright and inviting. Very fresh, crunchy black cherry nose and palate. Summery wine, feels more Tuscan than Bordeaux. Will be joy to drink in 2-3 years time. A great value!
Croix Cardinale; St Emilion Grand Cru: – £160.00 ZR – 16-; Neal MARTIN: 90-92; James SUCKLING: 91-92; Jancis ROBINSON: 15/20
This is fast becoming my favourite wine in Bordeaux. Deep, dark purple; beautifully ripe and soft, very hedonistic. Wine that immediately brings a smile to your face. Creamy, gentle and charming; summer berries compote dominates throughout, with just a hint of soft wood in the background, impossible not to like it. A Happy wine.
Ormes de Pez, St Estephe: – £160.00; ZR16; Antonio GALLONI : 90-93; DECANTER 16.5; Jancis ROBINSON: 16,5+; James SUCKLING: 92-93; Neal MARTIN: 90-93.
Owned and run by Lynch Bages team I have been buying it almost every vintage since 2000 and it has never disappointed. 2014 is a classic St Estephe, intense and powerful with black fruit and some light smoke and dark chocolate at finish. Blend in 2014 is 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot which gives the wine great complexity, structure and balance. Very vibrant and attractive. For my money better than the 2010!!! If you buy anything in 2014, Ormes should be the one!
Connetable Talbot, St Julien:, ZR 15+; £145.00
Second wine of Ch.Talbot displays more red than black berries; there is a very sweet feel to it – drinkable from the barrel. Very pleasing and gentle will provide great drinking from 2018. Another well done and a bargain here.
Lalande Borie, St Julian; ZR16+; estimate £150.00
This is second wine of Ducru Beaucaillou. The same care and attention goes into this as in Ducru, only the fruit comes from younger vineyards. Great effort; the wine is on cru classe level, very refined and elegant with great complexity and balance. Will benefit from 2-3 years in the bottle and will drink for at least 10 years. I am definitely having some for my cellar even if my estimate is wrong!!! As good as the 2010 here.
Ch. Labegorce, Margaux: – £156.00; ZR 16-; Antonio GALLONI: 91-94; DECANTER: 16,75; Jancis ROBINSON: 15,5; James SUCKLING: 90-91; Neal MARTIN : 91-93.
Labegorce is the most improved property in Margaux since 2010 (if not the whole of Medoc). The vineyards are surrounded by those of Ch. Margaux and Ch. Lascombe; so all it needed was some investment and proper management, which they now have. 2014 is made of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot and matured in 50% new oak. As most good 2014′s Labegorce is full of crushed black berries supported by fine grain tannins and refined crisp acidity. A serious bargain at this price. Will drink from 2018 for some 10 y. A bargain!
I am sure that there are few more decent wines out there at this price level, but these 6 take my vote as the best buys.
2. GREAT VALUE AGAIN, BUT PERHAPS NOT EVERYDAY DRINKING WINES; MORE LIKE WEEKEND DRINKING – classic Cru Classe names. Selected not only for making a fine wine in 2014, but for also being priced correctly. Wines below are priced either below any other available vintage or at similar level as inferior vintages. Therefore, they are not only very good value buys, but also have very good growth potential at these opening prices.
Ch. Prieure Lichine, Margaux: – £220.00; ZR 16; Antonio GALLONI: 91-94; DECANTER: 17; Jancis ROBINSON: 17; James SUCKLING: 92-93; Neal MARTIN: 90- 92.
Prieure has improved dramatically since 2005 and the quality now fully justifies its 4th growth Grand Cru Classe status. The critics seem to like it a bit more than I do, but it is certainly a very decent little Margaux. Wine is very polished, soft and gentle, with cherries dominating the nose and palate. This will provide lots of pleasure from about 2020. At this price, this is by far the cheapest Prieure out there and a serious bargain. How many Grand Cru Classe Margaux can you get for less than £20 with all ratings over 90 points?
Ch. Armailhac, Pauillac: – £230.00; ZR 16+; Antonio GALLONI: 90-94; DECANTER: 17.25; Jancis ROBINSON: 17; James SUCKLING: 93-94; Neal MARTIN: 88-90.
I really liked Armailhac this year. I would not necessarily agree with Jancis and Decanter, but it is one of the best wines made here for a long time. Considering that this is cheaper than any physical vintage, this is a serious bargain and a fine little Pauillac. The wine is pure and focused with very fine tannins dominated by black berry throughout (50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot) with very fine, polished tannins. Very pretty, elegant and classic and another Grand Cru Classe for less than £20.
Ch. Talbot, St Julien: – £290.00; ZR 17-; Antonio GALLONI: 92-95; DECANTER: 16.75; Jancis ROBINSON: 16.5; James SUCKLING: 94-95; Neal MARTIN: 89-91+.
For my money, Talbot 2014 is as close to 2010 as you can get. It will not last as long as 2010, but it is a clean, fresh, bright wine bursting with energy and ripe autumn fruit. There is some smoke and spice at the finish, but everything is finely wrapped in fine grain tannins with great balanced acidity. A great Talbot and a classic St Julien. Considering that any drinking vintage of Talbot is selling at well over 350, this provides a decent growth potential. If you are thinking of financing your everyday drinking wines from 1st group, this is the one.
Ch. Nenin, Pomerol: – £360.00; ZR 17; DECANTER: 16,75; Jancis ROBINSON: 17-; James SUCKLING: 90-91; Neal MARTIN: 91-93+.
Nenin is now owned by Leoville Las Casses and the quality has improved drastically. There is much more purity, precision and class in the wine. 32% of Cabernet Franc, gives the 2014 great structure, with sweet red berries and fine grain tannins and great acidity balance. The best Nenin I have tasted since Las Casses took over. Great Pomerol at this price.
3. SERIOUS VINO FOR SERIOUS OCCASIONS AND CHILDERNS BIRTH YEAR PRESENTS – Classic Great Grand Cru Classe wines. Most of these have not been released so the final BUY recommendation will depend on the price, but these are truly fine wines.
Ch. Lynch Bages, Pauillac: – £595.00; ZR 18+; Antonio GALLONI: 90-92; DECANTER: 16,75; Jancis ROBINSON: 17; James SUCKLING: 95-96; Neal MARTIN: 92-94.
A great Lynch, tasted 3 times over the month, it is getting better and better. There is great balance and finesse to the wine. Black berries dominate, with very fine grain tannins and some fine spices and smoke at finish. It will drink very early, but will easily last 15 -25 years. Very, very decent indeed. Also, it is over 25% cheaper than any other Lynch on the market. Ch Grand Puy Lacoste (£300.00 estimated); Ch Montrose ( £600 estimated); Ch Pichon Comtesse (£660.00 estimated); Ch Ducry Beaucaillou (£750.00 estimated) ; and Ch. Leoville Las Casses (£900.00 estimated) – have not been released yet but, they are all great wines and if they come anywhere near my estimates, they will be a definite BUY! So, to leave something for the next update, I will furnish you with detailed tasting notes for these 3 and anything else that might turn out at decent price.
Ch Pichon Comtesse, Pauillac – £625.00; ZR 18+; Antonio Galloni 93-96; Decanter 16,75; Jancis Robinson 17; James Suckling 93-94; Neal Martin 93-95.
Whilst I had Bordeaux Merchants ringing all day and night to try and persuade me to take some stock (unsuccessfully) of Pontet Cane and Pichon Baron, they had all “gone to lunch” when Pichon Comtesse got released and I was trying to up my allocations. Under stewardship of Nicolas Glumineau Pichon is finding new heights. The wine is very refined and beautifully structured. Fine black berries dominate throughout with really elegant refreshing acidity and finest tannins one can hope for. Very stylish and elegant. There is a hint of late 50’s early 60’s Hollywood glamour about it. Beautiful, but very limited availability.
Ch DUCRU BEAUCAILLOU, St Julien – £750.00; ZR 19; Antonio GALLONI: 93-96; DECANTER: 16,75; Jancis ROBINSON: 17; James SUCKLING: 93-94; Neal MARTIN: 93-95.
Tasted twice at the chateau at 4 weeks apart during April, both times exceptional. Highly refined, precise and elegant. Bruno’s vineyards are some of the best cared for in the whole of Bordeaux, and it shows in 2014. Despite 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, it is complex and rich but extremely well balanced, displaying what I can only call “sweet” acidity throughout. Precise and elegant, but hedonistic at the same time. Tannins as fine as you will find in 2014. A wine to open when you trying to seduce someone. Will provide lots of pleasure from about 2020 for some 20+ years. A real beauty and a steal at this price.
CH MONTROSE, St Estephe; £850.00; ZR18++; Antonio GALLONI: 93-96; DECANTER 18.5; Jancis ROBINSON: 17; James SUCKLING: 94-95; Neal MARTIN: 95-97.
A great Montrose – one of the best wines of the vintage. It doesn’t poses the raw power of Las Casses, nor refinement of Ducru, but there is something very special about it. Aromatics are classic St Estephe, with earth, small black berries and cigar box dominating throughout, but the tannins have Pauillac kind of finesse and precision. An iron bar wrapped in velvet and silk. Will need 5-6 years to mature from shipment and will drink for over 20 after that.
Leoville Las Casses, Saint – Julien– £900.00; ZR 19; Antonio Galloni 91-94; Decanter 16,75; Jancis Robinson 17; James Suckling 96-97; Neal Martin 94-96.
Well, Delon has done it again. For my money, this was the best wine on the left bank (including the First Growths) on both trips in April. Bang on my estimate at £900, it is the cheapest Las Casses on the market (ok, not by much, but cheapest none the less) and far better than the vintages that are priced below £1000.00 per case Chances are also that you would not be able to buy it cheaper in the future. So a BUY recommendation all round. The wine is intense and powerful; very Latour-esque. Not really defined at the moment, just raw power and energy, but very promising with fine grain tannins and superb balance. It should start drinking in mid 2020s and will go on for 20-30 years. If you need a Christening present, or a wine that needs to lay down for couple of decades, this is the one.
The Château Léoville-Las-Cases 2014 is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot cropped at 33 hectoliter per hectare matured in 85% new oak. There is 6.8% vin de presse this year. Picked between 30 September and 13 October over 12 days.
Pape Clement £480.00, Pessac – Leognan; ZR 17; Decanter 18,75; Jancis Robinson 17; James Suckling 93-94; Neal Martin 93-95.
Classically well made Pessac, showing lots of red berries and cherries with fine grain tannins. Very precise and cleanly made with possibly touch too much oak at finish, but that is not unusual in young Pape; it should all balance well before bottling. Hints of dark chocolate at finish as well. Well done for the quality and for the price.
The Château Pape Clément 2014 is a blend of 57.5% Merlot, 37.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot picked from 24 September until 20 October. It is matured in 60% new oak.
All the best
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