Bordeaux 2014 Vintage Report by Simon Staples, Sales Director Asia
Over the last two weeks, over twenty members of Berry Bros. & Rudd and have descended upon Bordeaux to visit all the major Chateaux and taste the wines of the new 2014 vintage, which will be released for sale En Primeur*(please see explanation below) over the course of the next few weeks. Our aim was to understand the vintage, and to speak to the Chateau owners and key individuals in the region, so we can offer the best possible advice on purchasing as the wines are released.
After the last 3 rather difficult and inconsistent vintages, the more favourable conditions of the 2014 vintage have created a renewed interest, and anticipation of some excellent, classic Bordeaux wines, which will make excellent additions to the cellar for future drinking.
To sum up the vintage ….a good warm Spring and early summer turned into a less than ideal, cool damp period in August which slowed the ripening process. What has created the excitement of some potentially excellent wines was the long period of hot, sunny weather through September and early October, with the grapes being picked in ideal conditions. Also, the initial good weather in the Spring allowed for an even flowering, which means there was a very good consistency of ripening of the bunches through the good conditions of the late summer.
Such a long growing season, and late warmth and sun, is especially beneficial for the later ripening grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, and less so for the earlier ripening Merlot. So, as a general pointer for the vintage, some of the most successful wines are those with a high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc, or from the Chateaux that have the plantings to allow them to increase the proportion of non Merlot options.
High proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon are most common in the Chateaux of the Northern Medoc, in Saint Estephe and Pauillac, as well as some of Saint Julien, and it is here that some of the most successful wines are to be found in 2014. Margaux also has some excellent wines with a lot of Cabernet, Chateau Margaux itself most notably. There is more inconsistency in the Merlot dominated wines of Pomerol and Saint Emilion on the right bank, but the Chateaux here which have been able to select carefully have made very good wines.
In short, we can confidently say that 2014 is in the ‘Best of the rest’ category. It isn’t at the highest level of 2010, 2009 or 2005, but it is superior to any other vintages of the last decade or so. A good general description of the best wines of 2014 seems to be that they have the attractive ripeness and purity of 2008 with the density and structure of 2006, and are considerably better than both.
Berrys' Sales Director Asia
*What is En Primeur?
Also known as Wine Futures, En Primeur refers to the process of buying wines before they are bottled and released onto the market. Wines are purchased exclusive of Duty and VAT and then usually shipped 2-3 years after the vintage. They can only be purchased by the unmixed case (12 bottles, 24 half bottles, 6 magnums etc.)
When the wines arrive in our UK warehouse you will receive an email notifying you of this. We can store the wine for you in perfect conditions until it is ready to drink or, if you have somewhere suitable to store it while it matures we can ship it here for you.