2014 Red Bordeaux Vintage
Background: The principal red grape varieties of the Bordeaux region of France are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Minor components include Petit Verdot and Malbec. Except in rare vintages, Bordeaux wines are blends of these varietals. In the Médoc sub-region of Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot predominant, whereas in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion, Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the principal grape varietals. The ratio of Merlot to Cabernet Franc is usually higher in Pomerol than St. Emilion. (See Médoc Winemaking.)
The 2014 Bordeaux vintage is characterized by astringent tannins and low to moderate fruit concentration. The tannins are on the harsh side (i.e., do not have a “soft” mouthfeel) and overwhelm the fruit, which is present in moderate to low concentration. Most 2014s are high in tannins while lacking fruit concentration. Hence, the tannins and fruit will most likely never balance or come into a harmonious relationship. The tannin-to-fruit ratio (TFR) is too high to equilibrate with aging. That said, there are some exceptions where the fruit concentration is higher and the tannins are softer giving rise to excellently balanced wines that are excellent now and will age harmoniously for many years (if properly cellared at 55◦F, see Temperature & Aging).
On January 28, 2017, I tasted about 50 bottled 2014 Red Bordeaux. The best wines are listed below with their appellation, estimated price as of that date, and a preliminary rating. These wines are all “pre-arrival” and can be purchased as such, but will not be available for approximately one year. Note that I tasted only a small sample of the 2014 Red Bordeaux producers, which did not include any Médoc First Growths.
|Producer||Appellation||Estimated Pre-arrival Cost||Score|
|Chateau Les Charmes Haut-Brion||Pessac-Leognan||$47||90|
|Chateau de Chevalier||Pessac-Leognan||$50||90|
|Clos Fourtet||Saint-Emilion Grand Cru||$75||91|
|Chateau de Camensac||Haut-Médoc||$25||89|
|Chateau Clerc Milon||Pauillac||$49||90|