En Primeur Bordeaux 2014

Pauillac - The wines with tasting notes


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[Add to shopping basket] Armailhac Pauillac £230 - 88-90 90-92 93-94 17 90-93 90-93
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The Château d’Armailhac 2014 is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot (slightly more Merlot than usual.) It will be matured in around one-third new oak. The opulence and richness is immediately apparent on the nose with hints of black olive infusing the black fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly grainy tannin, quite dense black fruit with a spicy attack towards the saline finish. It feels a little abrasive at the moment but the rough edges should be rounded by the time.

Score: 88 - 90 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2018-2035

Perfumed black fruit with spices and toast, then round and chocolatey; quite dense in fact with a little bitterness on the long finish.

Score: 90 - 92 Albany Vintners

Very minerally, silky and refined with a full body, firm tannins and currants, stones and citrus. Racy and fine. This has a little more merlot in the blend but is mostly cabernet sauvignon as always. One of the best Armailhacs in a long time.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Mid crimson. Clean, sweet and mild on the nose, a little toasty and some polish. Correct and not too drying, with some green notes - very un-luscious. A little demanding and austere but with good energy and sleekness. The finish is impressively long. An interesting wine that is so low key that at first I almost overlooked it.

Score: 17 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2021-2032

Bright, juicy and engaging, with a racy damson plum and red currant core striped with singed cedar and vanilla and backed by a good twinge of iron. This is brisk and pleasantly taut. Textbook Pauillac. Tasted non-blind.

Score: 90 - 93 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2014 d'Armailhac is absolutely delicious. Dark red cherry, plum, pomegranate, spice and floral notes are bold and exuberant in the glass. This is an especially extroverted, silky d'Armailhac long on class, finesse and resonance. All the elements are in the right place. Ripe, silky tannins add to an overall impression of creaminess, but there is also a terrific element of pure energy here. The 2014 has a bit more Merlot in the blend than usual and also clocks in around 13.8% in alcohol, which is high for the estate. More importantly, though, d'Armailhac is a real overachiever in this vintage. The blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.

Score: 90 - 93 Antonio Galloni, www.vinousmedia.com

[Add to shopping basket] Batailley Pauillac £234 - 89-91 - 92-93 16 - -
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The Château Batailley 2014, which Frédéric Castèja served before the Lynch Moussas instead of after, is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc matured in 55% new oak. He told me that hail in July touched the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines and decreased the yield to 33 hectoliters per hectare. It underwent a slow pumping-over and a warm maceration. It has a well defined and fresh bouquet, perhaps a little foursquare compared to recent vintages, light pencil shaving notes developing with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied is with rigid, unwavering tannin: masculine in style with a foursquare cedar and mint-tinged finish. This is a fine Batailley though not quite in the same class as some of their impressive recent vintages. The fast-improving Lynch Moussas might have the upper hand this year.

Score: 89 - 91 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2018-2035

A big and juicy red with blueberry, cassis and chocolate character. Full and velvety with lovely purity. Wonderful ripeness of tannin. Cabernet sauvignon here.

Score: 92 - 93 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Dark crimson. Attractively intense pencil-shavings and graphite nose. Sweet start and has less concentration than some. A relatively early-maturing Pauillac. There is some tannins but not in huge register. Falls away rather on the finish.

Score: 16 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2020-2030

[Add to shopping basket] Carruades de Lafite (2nd wine of Ch Lafite) Pauillac £920 - 88-90 89-92 92-93 16 90-93 88-90
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The Carruades de Lafite is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon and 42% Merlot. It has a pure blackberry, slightly tarry bouquet that is well defined, a little strict perhaps, but focused. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin in the mouth, a much more sophisticated Carruades de Lafite than last year with a crisp, nicely poised and lightly spiced finish. This is a decent, satisfying Carruades de Lafite that should be afforded three or four years in bottle.

Score: 88 - 90 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2018-2032

A little muted on the nose with some very sweet blackcurrants in the midpalate, almost lush - clearly some hard work has gone in here. Slightly angular on the finish.

Score: 89 - 92 Albany Vintners

Gorgeous aromas of blackcurrants, berries, blueberries and licorice. Minerals, too. Full, dense and tight. Wonderfully racy finish. Mineral, iodine and oyster shell undertones. Second wine of Lafite. 'We really wanted to make an excellent Carraudes' says the winemaker Charles Chevallier. They did.

Score: 92 - 93 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Quite blue, raw-looking crimson. Not very expressive on the nose. Dry and rather obdurate on the palate. Some smoothing due to top-quality old oak but there is not much fun or zest here. Dry, austere but quite persistent finish. (16+ Points)

Score: 16 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2020-2030

Sleek and refined, with black currant and plum fruit, laced with a hint of raspberry coulis, while subtle tobacco and roasted alder notes form the frame. Features a tight, racy feel through the finish. Tasted non-blind.

Score: 90 - 93 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

An enticing mix of dark red cherry, plum, violet, lavender and graphite notes emerge from the 2014 Carruades de Lafite, a wine of notable depth and purity, especially at this level. There is a definition and inner sweetness to the fruit that is impossible to miss. All the Lafite signatures are present, specifically the intensely perfumed, sweet fruit that is often found in this sector in Pauillac. The Carruades is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon and 42% Merlot. Carruades de Lafite represents 25% of the chateau's production.

Score: 88 - 90 Antonio Galloni, www.vinousmedia.com

[Add to shopping basket] Clerc Milon Pauillac £320 - 90-92 90-93 91-92 16-17 91-94 91-94
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The Château Clerc-Milon 2014 contains less Merlot than usual as the old vines produced just 15 hectoliters per hectare. The blend consists of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenère. Like the d’Armailhac '14, there is a sense of opulence on the nose, ripe blackberry intermingling with black olives. The palate is rich and quite tangy on the entry. This is a 'full-on' Clerc-Milon, quite extravagant in the context of the vintage, not a shy Pauillac, perhaps due to that expressive old vine Merlot? There is a pinch of soy on the finish that continues onto the aftertaste. Feisty Clerc-Milon for those who want a bit of va-va-va-voom in their Pauillac.

Score: 90 - 92 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2019-2038

Exotic aromas of cloves and dark red curranty fruit, intense with more oomph than Armailhac tasted before. Very polished in feel with plentiful cherry and liquorice. Good weight and concentration with round tannins that stick out a little on the end.

Score: 90 - 93 Albany Vintners

A linear and fine Clerc with iodine, red clay and blueberry character. Full body and fine tannins. Tight and refined. Very straight and racy.

Score: 91 - 92 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Very dark crimson. Mineral lift on the nose. Quite zesty and lifted and savoury - but the fruit is a little raw. Lots of freshness but not too stringy. Although, as for Armailhac, it’s a bit demanding and astringent on the finish. And does not last as long. Astringent finish. Lots of effort and density here. For the moment it’s a bit brawny and angular but it should come right in the end. (16.5+ Points)

Score: 16 - 17 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2023-2035

Delightfully plump and juicy, with a core of fresh plum, blackberry and cherry fruit, lined with alder and dark tea notes. A long iron note is well-buried, and there’s more flesh here than in the d’Armailhac, with the tannins feeling rounder and more supple. Should be delicious. Tasted non-blind.

Score: 91 - 94 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

Dark red cherry, plum, smoke, tobacco, new leather and licorice flesh out in the 2014 Clerc Milon. Deep and pliant to the core, the 2014 boasts notable resonance from start to finish. Although not a huge wine, the 2014 is long on finesse and class, with silky tannins that balance some of the more overt elements. Hints of cedar, tobacco, earthiness and herbs add the final shades of dimension. Today, the 2014 is quite inward and not fully expressive, but it is nevertheless absolutely impeccable. The blend is 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenère.

Score: 91 - 94 Antonio Galloni, www.vinousmedia.com

[Add to shopping basket] Duhart Milon Pauillac £400 - 89-91 91-94 92-93 17 90-93 88-91
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The Château Duhart-Milon 2014 is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot that was picked from 29 until 10 October and 23 until 29 September respectively. It has a more fruit-driven nose than usual, a little less tertiary and austere than the Duhart's of old perhaps. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, quite sappy black fruit and well judged acidity. Nicely focused as usual here with a touch of salinity coming through on the finish. I feel that it is just missing the sense of dimension and authority that a great Duhart can possess, but it retains the aloofness that I admire so much. I will remain cautious for the time being and see how it fills out during its élevage.

Score: 89 - 91 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2023-2038

55CS, 45M. Muted nose of dark fruit and chocolate, then more weight than Carruades. Pure and clean with lots of texture and layers of black fruit and graphite building up to a serious finish.

Score: 91 - 94 Albany Vintners

This is very solid and muscular with dark berries and blueberries. More merlot than normal but shows a serious structure that underlines the excellence of the cabernet. Small production of cabernet here with 45% merlot in the blend.

Score: 92 - 93 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Mid crimson. Lightly floral nose. Then some real substance and palate weight. Masses of tannins well managed to make a pretty competent medium-weight claret. Nothing showy but well done. Very much in Lafite style. Bone-dry finish with some persistence.

Score: 17 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2023-2035

This has yet to soak up its oak and remains a bit raw, but the juniper and alder notes should meld easily enough as the core of plum and raspberry coulis flavors is ripe and fleshy. Shows ample grip through the finish, with a prominent tobacco streak adding texture. Tasted non-blind.

Score: 90 - 93 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2014 Duhart-Milon is a bit bombastic in this vintage. Scents of leather, smoke and tar meld into a core of intense dark fruit. Powerful and voluptuous on the palate, the 2014 shows the influence of a higher than normal percentage of Merlot in the blend. Firm yet well-integrated tannin carry the finish. The 2014 comes in at 12.8% alcohol, but feels richer and weightier than that. The blend is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot.

Score: 88 - 91 Antonio Galloni, www.vinousmedia.com

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