En Primeur Bordeaux 2014

The wines with tasting notes

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[Add to shopping basket] Aile d'Argent Dry Whites £460 - 88-90 - 95-96 17 89-92 90-93
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The Aile d’Argent 2014 Blanc is a blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Sémillon. It does not quite possess the complexity of the previous two vintages, but there are fine pear skin and nectarine scents to enjoy. The palate is fresh and citric on the entry: green apple, Conference pear and a dash of lemongrass, leading to a punchy, spicy finish. Fine-but not a top-tier Aile d'Argent.

Score: 88 - 90 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2016-2023

Incredible intensity of sea salt, sliced apple and dried pineapple character. Full and racy with beautiful acidity and a long, long finish. Lots of papaya, pears and pineapple. Racy.

Score: 95 - 96 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Rather more opulent nose than most. Positively rich! Big success. Zesty and with some body and no excess of tartness.

Score: 17 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2016-2021

Fresh, with lemon granita, white peach and chamomile notes backed by a light twinge of tarragon. Bright, pure and refreshing, this wine has quietly improved under Dhalluin's watch. Tasted non-blind.

Score: 89 - 92 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2014 Aile d'Argent shows a move to a slightly more reductive style that emphasizes a bit more freshness than has been the norm in the recent past for Mouton's Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend. Smoke, slate, lemon oil and sage are all very nicely focused in the glass. Saline notes are woven throughout, adding textural nuance to this impeccably balanced white.

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

[Add to shopping basket] Alter Ego de Palmer (2nd wine of Palmer) Margaux £370 - 90-92 90-92 92-93 16 90-93 90-92
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The Alter Ego de Palmer 2014 is a blend of 52% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Petit Verdot. It has an opulent, glossy bouquet with layers of small dark cherries and plenty of glycerin. The palate is more reserved than the bouquet suggests: saturated tannins, a little chewiness on the entry but suppler towards the finish. It feels very linear in keeping with the style of the vintage, the finish a little sweet than its peers with a dab of licorice on the aftertaste.

Score: 90 - 92 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2019-2035

Fragrant with vivid cranberry and cherry. Plump mouthfeel with well-integrated oak, finishing fresh.

Score: 90 - 92 Albany Vintners

Vibrant and fruity with currant, blueberry and spice character. Full yet tight with tension and brightness. Very velvety tannins. Sexy already.

Score: 92 - 93 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Very bright crimson. Certainly straightforward and very directly fruity on the nose. Noticeable acidity on the palate. Very fresh red cherry flavours and not that dense. Good finish. 13.4%

Score: 16 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2019-2025

Bursts with violet, plum and raspberry fruit, lined with silky tannins and backed by a tantalizing iron hint. Features lovely brisk energy and gorgeous purity. Tasted non-blind.

Score: 90 - 93 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

A juicy, expressive wine, the 2014 Alter Ego is wonderfully open and expressive today, with radiant fruit, soft contours and gorgeous overall balance. Sweet red plum, raspberry, rose petal and French oak flow through to the soft, resonant finish. An exuberant floral note adds the last layer of complexity. The 2014 is 52% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Petit Verdot. Despite the relatively high percentage of Petit Verdot, that fruit comes from gravelly/sandy soils that confer perfume and aromatics, qualities winemaker Thomas Duroux brought out further with a short, gentle fermentation. This is a lovely second wine.

Score: 90 - 92 Antonio Galloni, www.vinousmedia.com

[Add to shopping basket] Angelus St Emilion £1,700 - 91-93 92-95 93-94 16-17 93-96 93-96
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The Château Angelus 2014, a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot was picked between 2 and 22 October over a 3-week period. It has a surprisingly bashful nose at first, not one that comes racing out of the blocks to greet you. But there is plenty of fruit here, beautifully defined, a little more introverted than usual possibly due to the higher percentage of Cabernet Franc. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, linear in style with a saline note complementing that lattice of black fruit. It gently builds towards the spicy, slightly compact finish but never fully let’s go, the Cabernet Franc lending a slight savory edge on the aftertaste. This will probably need three of four years in bottle as this is slightly harder compared to recent vintages with more backbone. Yet it still constitutes an admirable Saint Emilion even if it does not ignite the same pyrotechnics as say, Pavie or Ausone.

Score: 91 - 93 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2020-2040

50/50 M/CF in 2014 whereas 60/40 is more typical Vivid attractive nose of forest fruit and lilac. Ripe and dense with plum skins and chocolate. Concentrated and grippy with mineral grip all the way through and bone dry on the finish.

Score: 92 - 95 Albany Vintners

This is dense and compacted with pretty fruits, ultra fine tannins and a pure and intense finish. The excellent quality of the cabernet franc really shows here. Lightly salty with citrusy acidity. Chalky undertone. Half cabernet franc and half merlot. So about 10% more franc than normal.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Franc, picked 2-22 October. Very dark crimson. Not very expressive on the nose though there seems to be great density underneath. And then almost painful concentration. Verging towards Pavie, tar stew with lots of acidity. It may evolve into something lovely but for the moment it’s very hard work. Very dry end. Masses of effort has been put into this but it is not user-friendly at present.

Score: 16 - 17 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2025-2040

Features base notes of bittersweet ganache and smoldering tobacco, with dark plum, currant and fig fruit flavors. Despite the charcoal thread, this is lush and integrated, showing no aggressive edges at all. The tobacco accent chimes in at the end for added effect.

Score: 93 - 96 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2014 Angélus, equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc, boasts superb depth and textural richness. Firm tannins give the 2014 its explosive energy and overall tension. Mocha, espresso, new leather, French oak and licorice gradually open up in the glass, but with some reluctance. The 2014 will need quite a bit of time to find its more finessed side, but its there.

Score: 93 - 96 Antonio Galloni, www.vinousmedia.com

[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] Ausone St Emilion £3,420 - Low Stock 93-95 - 95-96 17 - 92-95
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Pauline Vauthier told me that this year, there is more Cabernet Franc in the blend of the Château Ausone 2014: 60% with 40% Merlot. Both she and father Alain felt that some of the young, 10-year old Cabernet Franc was worthy of promotion into the Grand Vin, which represents two barrels. It was picked between 4 and 11 October at 27hl/ha and matured in 85% new oak rather than the 100%, a slight reduction as has been their policy since the 2011 vintage. It has a very perfumed, floral bouquet with dark cherries and blueberry with a touch of orange blossom that develops with aeration. The palate is imbued with a sense of freshness and joie-de-vivre - a less "serious" Ausone than in the past, but perhaps one that exudes greater terroir expression and tension from start to finish. I was quite smitten by this Ausone that comes across more self-effacing compared to other vintages, surfeit with style and panache.

Score: 93 - 95 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2019-2035

A juicy red with beautiful blueberry, blackberry and mineral character. Oyster shell and iodine. Full and tight with 60% cabernet franc instead of 50%. This gives a fresher and more linear character of Ausone. Fine finish. Fascinating with such purity.

Score: 95 - 96 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Not especially deep colour. Very sweet but much better oak management than at one time. Chestnut intensity. And some freshness. But it does not leap out of the glass yelling ‘top wine’! Something a bit sinewy. Plays the sweetness and freshness cards rather than alcohol and density. Quite playful.

Score: 17 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2024-2037

The 2014 Ausone is a bit unusual in that the blend includes 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot. Rose petal, mint, crushed flowers and red stone fruits all flesh out in a racy, beautifully layered wine long on class and pedigree. Today, the 2014 is a bit inward, but the aromatics are striking, while the flavors are bright, chiseled and beautifully articulated throughout. Given the high percentage of Franc, I expect the 2014 will continue to grow during its elevage.

Score: 92 - 95 Antonio Galloni, www.vinousmedia.com

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