The 2014 Bordeaux Vintage
Brendan Jansen: 20th May 2019
Every year, in London, Sydney and San Francisco, the Institute of masters of Wine hosts Bordeaux tastings. The biggest of these are in London, but a very significant number of producers was on show in Sydney this last weekend.
The format is similar in most years – with wines laid out according to appellation, with the Left bank and Right bank reds and Botrytised whites represented. As always, the few select “First Growths” represented – on a table all of their own, are a sought after highlight.
The vintage was an interesting one, with most critics agreeing it is the best since the 2009/2010 stellar vintage duo. Vintages in Bordeaux have been disappointing to an extent since those two vintages. While there is hype about the 2015 vintage, the 2014s did not disappoint.
I arrived early and saw the wines when they were opened. Along with Rob Geddes MW and Neil Hadley MW, we checked the wines, giving us the opportunity to assess them in broad strokes as well.
As a side note, only four bottles were faulty in some way, out of the two samples each of the 60 wines sent by the Institute. The vagaries of cork….
My general impressions aligned with comments of others about the vintage – generally Left Bank Cabernet Sauvignon based wines looked better than Right bank wines, with Margaux, Pauillac and St Julien particularly notable. Also, the “usual suspects” shone, as did a few other aspirational producers – see below. There were some in the aspirational camp who had perhaps tried a little too hard – so that oak tended to dominate the fruit.
Overall, I thought the vintage was reminiscent of 2008, also “saved” by some late, fine weather, but would perhaps appeal more to classical palates – the wines were generally reserved, tight and structured, and though fruit was present in the background, some years will need to pass for the tannins to yield.
In less-than-perfect years, it is my view that “terroir” shows through more clearly. Below is a list of my picks:
Domaine de Chevalier
Ch Cos Labory
Ch Langoa Barton
Ch Leoville Barton
Ch Leoville Du Marquis de las Cases
Ch Leoville Poyferre
Ch Pichon Baron