2014 Bordeaux En Primeur – A vintage round-up

by David Porter


With the release today of Château Montrose at the wacky price of £850/12 the show is pretty much over. It has been a long haul – with many disappointingly priced wines – but there are some good buys too, which we feel are really worth considering.

Some FIRST GROWTHS – Château Lafite (£2950/12), Château Margaux (£2350/12), Château Ausone (£3430/12) are still available in small volumes and seem to us fairly-priced. Apart from them, most of our real recommendations in 2014 are for the drinker’s cellar. Well-made, well-priced wines that will be a real pleasure to drink and are fairly priced.

Every commune has given us something to consider – in the MÉDOC & HAUT MÉDOC there is value to be had, with Sénéjac (£90/12) in your cellar (incl. VAT) for £11.50, Stefan Dief’s completely overperforming Clos Manou (£150/12) for £17.50, and the likes of Chasse Spleen (£175/12) for £20-21 a bottle.

In SAINT ÉSTEPHE there were some goodies – Calon Segur (£415/12) would be right up there on our list but we are sold out sadly – (well, 1 case left as we go to print..) For great value there is Calon’s little brother – Capbern at (£110/12). Meyney (£160/12) too deserves a mention this is a great effort in 2014 and comes highly recommended.

PAUILLAC had a very good 2014 – but value is perhaps more elusive. Lynch Bages (£595/12) is great this year, a wine with real personality. At around £60 per bottle delivered to your cellar including VAT, this is recommended.  The wines from Xavier Borie too are super in 2014 – Grand Puy Lacoste (£375/12) and Haut Batailley (£225/12). We also really liked Claire Villars’ Haut-Bages Libéral (£220/12).

In SAINT JULIEN there is much to choose from. For value – Château Gloria (£210/12) is fairly priced and will repay buyers with very happy drinking in the medium term. Langoa Barton at £285/12 is well thought out and will not disappoint in the cellar. One of the stars of 2014 is Bruno Borie’s Ducru Beaucaillou (£750/12) said by critics to be close to the quality of the First Growths, but at less than half the price. His La Croix de Beaucaillou (£230/12) is also lovely and perhaps a more realistic price-level for many.

Both Ferrière (£200/12) and Brane Cantenac (£310/12) were good value highlights for us in MARGAUX – a commune which had a good 2014. Ferrière is a wine we always follow en primeur and we have been richly rewarded when drinking mature vintages. Also Château d’Angludet (£156/6) in magnums (at the same price as bottles) is hard to argue with – this will be great supper-party claret for drinking in 6-10 years.

From PESSAC-LÉOGNAN£140 buys 12 bottles of Haut-Bergey, which seems a very fair deal. Domaine de Chevalier Rouge (£320/12) is a cracking wine in 2014, one for the patient to tuck away for at least 15 years – but if you have space (and time) this will be seriously good. Again here the first growth, Haut-Brion (£2350/12) deserves a mention. In terms of quality in the bottle Haut Brion is the most consistently excellent of the firsts over the last 15+ years, so if you are definitely gong to drink it, this is the one to buy. If you have an eye to re-sale, others may have the edge.

Over the water in SAINT EMILION value buys are Château d’Aiguilhe at £195/12. As Neal Martin says – this is very hard to beat in terms of QPR (Quality Price Ratio). Denis Durantou’s wines are impossible to ignore here for hunters of amazing value the Montlandrie (£60/6) and the Saintayme (£90/6) are fabulous wines which you will simply not regret owning. Described by Neal Martin as ‘outstanding for the vintage’ Château Canon (£375/12) is a notch up in price, but we feel is still very fair.

In POMEROL, Denis Durantou again offers some of the bargains of the vintage – La Chenade (£50/6) and Les Cruzelles (£67.50/6) are simply outstanding value – it will be a nice surprise when either of these turn up at your door in 2 years time. We also have a tickle remaining of Denis’ highly sought after Château l’Église-Clinet (£650/6). The other stand-out for us here is Château Beauregard (£245/12) an estate really on the move, with new owners and lots of investment behind them – they have made a delicious 2014, which will give much pleasure.

As Jancis Robinson says, 2014 is a super vintage for SAUTERNES‘This is the single category that undoubtedly triumphed in 2014, producing wines that combine botrytised richness with unusual freshness – so not just massive bundles of sugar, but wines with real energy and finesse.’  We have put together our usual Mixed Case of Sauternes & Barsac (£265 for 12 bottles or 24 halves). This is a mix of four of our favourites, offering both great value and super drinking. Available in halves and bottles at the same price this we think is a great way to buy into these brilliant wines.

The prices above are quoted in bond, as per the TERMS of the 2014 Bordeaux Primeur offer.