En Primeur Bordeaux 2014

The wines with tasting notes

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[Add to shopping basket] Bellevue Mondotte St Emilion £930 - 89-91 - 92-93 16 91-94 92-95
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The Château Bellevue-Mondotte 2014 was harvested on the same day as the Pavie-Decesse, a blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Matured in 100% new oak, it has a very rich, decedent bouquet with sweet black cherries, boysenberry jam and plenty of glycerine. The palate is full-bodied with ripe tannin, moderate acidity, not too oppressive compared to previous vintages with layers of blackberry and blueberry fruit towards the sinewy finish. It does not possess the same degree of precision or character as the superior Château Pavie '14, which is where I would place my money.

Score: 89 - 91 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2019-2030

This is powerful and rich with a very fruity richness. Full and soft with a lovely density and core of fruit. Soft and sexy.

Score: 92 - 93 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

A singed quality to the nose and then much lighter and more transparent on the palate. Chewy and vivacious – although very drying indeed on the end. Really green and tough on the end. Sorry – this is just not my style. And because it has not the sweet portiness up front, I’m not quite sure who it will appeal to. Maybe it just needs (a lot of) time?

Score: 16 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2027-2040

Ripe and showy, featuring exuberant raspberry, plum and boysenberry fruit, carried by well-integrated grip. This has spine, but remains lush and velvety through the finish, with the fruit echoing.

Score: 91 - 94 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

A deep, inward wine, the 2014 Bellevue-Mondotte possesses the striking depth and density that are typical of this sector of St.-Emilion. Here, it is the wine's vertical structure and pure, unbridled power that come through. Smoke, licorice, lavender, graphite, tobacco, blood orange and incense are layered into an explosive finish laced with elements of brooding gravitas. The 2014 is 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 spent 34 days on the skins, followed by malolactic fermentation in barrel. New oak is 100%.

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

[Add to shopping basket] Beychevelle St Julien £415 - 91-93 90-92 93-94 16-17 91-94 90-93
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The Château Beychevelle 2014 is a blend of 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 51% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. You might notice the high percentage of Merlot. This is because of the flowering, decisions made during blending and the low yield of the Cabernet Sauvignon. It was cropped at 38 hectoliters per hectare between 25 September and 14 October during what the estate recorded as the driest September since 1961. That Merlot governs the aromatics here, the fruit clearly towards the red side of the fruit spectrum: cranberry and wild strawberry, almost Right Bank in style. The palate is ripe and fleshy, nicely defined with tensile tannins. I appreciate the nascent harmony here, with fine precision and a long sustained finish with fine salinity. You could argue that pinning your hopes on Merlot when so many others proselytize Cabernet Sauvignon was a risk however, in this showing it was a risk that was worth taking. "Pomerol does Saint Julien" perhaps? It seems to work on what may be the most seductive Beychevelle for years.

Score: 91 - 93 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2019-2032

Attractively floral on the nose then richness of black fruit in the middle. More structure and concentration than usual with a long dry finish.

Score: 90 - 92 Albany Vintners

A firm and austere young red now but there's serious fruit and mineral character underneath. Full body, chewy tannins and a long finish.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Light nose. Sweet start. A little reminiscent of the Haut-Médocs I have just been tasting. Not one of the most energetic or convincing St-Juliens though perfectly serviceable. Just slightly hollow.

Score: 16 - 17 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2022-2032

Well-packed, with plum cake, bramble, blueberry patch and anise notes, all allied to a graphite edge on the finish. Racy acidity underscores everything. Rock-solid.

Score: 91 - 94 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

A big, powerful wine for the year, the 2014 Beychevelle is going to need quite a bit of time to fully come together. Today, the 2014 is quite bold, with notable concentration and overall intensity. Lavender, mint, spices, cedar and new leather are all nicely delineated. It will be interesting to see if the 2014 fleshes out a bit more from here. Tasted two times.

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

[Add to shopping basket] Branaire Ducru St Julien £285 - 90-92 90-92 92-93 16 91-94 91-94
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The Château Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc picked between 24 September with the early-ripening Merlot, and finishing on 11 October. The yields came in at 40 hectoliters per hectare and Patrick Maratoux explained the importance of waiting for the correct maturity of each parcel. It has a tightly wound bouquet with black cherries and orange peel aromas, focused if not quite as complex as say, Château Beychevelle. The palate is medium-bodied, sinewy in the mouth with tensile tannins. This is a wine that seems to be making a huge effort in this vintage, but I would like to see more finesse manifested on the finish by the time it is in bottle. You know, I think that will develop. That 12 to 13% vin de presse lends this Branaire Ducru impressive sustain on the finish and I suspect that it will coalesce throughout the barrel ageing in two-thirds new oak (though the sample shown at the château was 100% new oak).

Score: 90 - 92 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2018-2032

Intensely aromatic with berries, floral and mineral notes. Medium weight of gentle fruit and spicy oak, finishing dry.

Score: 90 - 92 Albany Vintners

This really builds on the palate with round and velvety tannins and a juicy, savory finish. Layered and complex. Shows real potential.

Score: 92 - 93 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Dark crimson. Energetic nose. Fairly light palate without that much concentration. Round, with less tannic charge than most. Serviceable. A little scrawny on the finish. (16+ Points)

Score: 16 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2022-2030

Focused and a touch austere for now, with a charcoal edge to the core of black currant and steeped fig fruit. Tobacco and bramble notes check in on the finish, and there's solid acidity in reserve. Well-built and should evolve nicely.

Score: 91 - 94 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2014 Branaire Ducru is beautifully textured in the glass. Lavender, plum, mint and spice open up nicely in the glass. Initially quite dense and powerful, the 2014 turns more floral and lifted over time. Sweet red cherry, graphite, violet and licorice add further shades of dimension on the finish. Creamy, silky tannins add to an overall impression of sophistication. The style is round, supple and quite giving, even at this early stage. Tasted three times.

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

[Add to shopping basket] Brane Cantenac Margaux £305 - 91-93 90-92 92-93 16 87-90 90-93
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The Château Brane-Cantenac 2014 is a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, representing 38% of the total crop. It was picked between 22 September commencing with the Merlot up until 9 October finishing with the Cabernet Sauvignon. Yields came in at 44.8 hectoliters per hectare. It has a very typical nose for this Margaux estate: understated and reserved at first, touches of ground-up stone intermixed with brambly red berry fruit and damp undergrowth scents. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins. There is moderate weight in the mouth, plenty of sous-bois character and a touch of graphite (à la Pauillac) leading to a tapered but sustained finish. This is your straight-down-the-line classic Brane-Cantenac, unashamedly classic in style, what you might call "good old fashioned claret." Never the beauty queen at primeur, my remarks reflect how this Margaux blossoms in bottle.

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

Aromas of cherry jam. Plenty of sweet fruit in the middle to balance the grainy, toasty tannins with some freshness just giving it the edge that it needs.

Score: 90 - 92 Albany Vintners

A solid core of fruit here with lots of cabernet character, as well as currants and blueberries. Full to medium body. Chewy tannins, yet polished and refined.

Score: 92 - 93 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Dark, fairly evolved crimson. Sweet, light, a bit simple and green. This is the sort of casually made wine that gets classed growths a bad name - though of course it may not be a classed growth!? (It is.)

Score: 16 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2018-2026

A gentle, elegant style, with pretty lilac, red currant and cherry notes, lined with a liberal savory hint that lingers through the sandalwood-edged finish.

Score: 87 - 90 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2014 Brane-Cantenac is a striking, wonderfully complex wine with a lot going on. Powerful at the outset yet also quite floral almost to the point of being exotic, the 2014 is certainly not lacking in nuance or personality. Hints of orange peel, mint, white flowers and berries open up gradually in a wine of understatement. The firm tannins add energy and convey an overall impression of classicism, while tobacco, iron and smoke punctuate the powerful, expressive finish. This is going to be a fascinating wine to follow over the coming years and decades.

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

[Add to waiting list] Calon Segur St Estephe £420 - Sold Out 91-93 92-94 93-94 17 92-95 93-96
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The Château Calon-Ségur 2014 is a blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 19% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot cropped at 41hl/ha and aged in 100% new oak for what is intended to be 20 months. The alcohol comes in at 13.8%, which would have been higher if more Merlot had been retained. The first impression is one of the oak because coming straight after the Montrose '14 (élevage in 60% new oak) the wood element is more pronounced here. It is relatively opulent and high-toned compared to its Saint Estèphe counterparts, developing floral scents with time but never quite extricating itself from the winemaking. The palate is medium-bodied with quite firm tannin that lend this more chewiness than either Montrose or Cos d'Estournel. There is a lot of backbone to this wine, well focused with a good line of acidity, but again, I believe a more moderate use of new oak would have allowed the terroir to be expressed in what is a terroir-driven vintage. It is an impressive, you could almost say ambitious Calon Ségur, though I am seeking more personality via the terroir to be articulated. Tasted three times with consistent notes.

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

Deep ruby-purple. Beautiful aromatics of dark cherries, mineral hints. A touch of violet. On the palate medium weight of plush black fruit with natural concentration. Lots of vivid appeal. Well-structured (the tannins measure surprisingly, as high as their 2010) but silky in feel with a charry, saline finish. Lots of class. Lovely balance makes it accessible already but with all the elements to age well.

Score: 92 - 94 Albany Vintners

This has a wonderful density and a velvety texture with so much fruit and richness. Full body, fine tannins and wonderful length. Gorgeous.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Vibrant dark crimson. Very dense and not that communicative on the nose. But very impressive density, silky texture and refinement. Classic focused stuff with drive. Sufficiently ripe but not at all sweet. Long and truly St-Estèphe. Lots of energy here. Though it certainly isn’t opulent! Lots of tannins and St-Estèphe stoniness on the end. Pretty drying end. Less charm than Capbern but lots more classicism. Just cuts off a little suddenly (perhaps because of those younger vines). 13.8%

Score: 17 JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2024-2040

This has a core of lightly steeped plum and blackberry, with alluring tobacco and charcoal notes lining the finish. Shows nice underlying acidity, and seems likely to fill out steadily. This estate is back in form since the ownership change.

Score: 92 - 95 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2014 Calon Ségur is silky, polished and exceptionally beautiful. Freshly cut flowers, mint, dark berries and sage are some of the notes that are pushed forward in a sweet, unctuous St. Estèphe endowed with tons of class and personality. Raspberry jam and crushed flowers add further shades of nuance. The 2014 captures a deeply intriguing blend of lifted aromatics, super-ripe, fruit, pulsating energy and polished tannins. Persistent and impeccably balanced throughout, the 2014 Calon Ségur is without question one of the wines of the vintage. The refined finish alone is striking. In 2014, the blend is 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Calon Ségur remains one of the few classified growths the average consumer can still afford to buy by the case. As such, it is likely to be one of the very best wines readers will find for the money. Don't miss it. (93-96+ Points)

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

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