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Bordeaux 2014: Top 10 Margaux reds

See the top ten Margaux wines from the 2014 en primeur tastings, tasted by Steven Spurrier.

The feelingwas that 2014 was a Cabernet vintage due to the long hangtime that Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc love, and this certainly favoured the Left Bank. However, looking at the proportion of Merlot now planted in the Médoc, this was not the sole cause for quality. Words like “clarity”,”precision”, “fragrance” and “freshness” abounded in my notes and in the leaflets produced by the châteaux and while Merlot’s ripe black fruits were present, blending perfectly with the firmer Cabernets, words like “plummy”, “rich” and “robust” were hardly mentioned.

The wines in general have lovely fruit, a natural density and tannins that support but do not overwhelm, creating wines that express their origins and impress by so doing. In the Médoc, the elegance of Margaux came through, but fewer great wines than expected; St-Julien was as homogenous as ever as a  commune, while the three Leovilles were as different as usual with some lesser crus coming on strong. Further north, ther weresome great successes in Pauillac, a vast improvement on an uneven 2013, while the variety on offer in St-Estèphe made this for me, the commune of the vintage.

The generic Médocs will make good bottles for the turn of the decade, as will the interestingly varied Haut-Médocs with more depth and lenght. Finally, Listrac and Moulis, the former firm, the latter supple were more than reliable. The three rare whites I tasted from Margaux, Mouton Rothschild and Cos d’Estournel were remarkably good. All in all, 2014 on the Left Bank left a very goog impression.

As varied as ever from an appelation covering the five communes of Cantenac. Margaux, Labarde, Arsac and Soussans. The style of Margaux was summed up 50 years ago by Alexis Lichine in just three words: ‘finesse, elegance, subtlety’. It met the great man’s standard well in 2014 with an overall fragrance and well-defined fruit. A higher proportion of Merlot in this commune brought charm to Cabernet Sauvignon, while many châteaux benefited from the spice and grip of Petit Verdot. There is an approachability in most wines that I admire, while the natural depth of 2014 fruit will keep some improving past 2030, but for the most part these will bes best from 5 to 15 years of age. Margaux will have been glad to see the back of 2013 to welcome late in the season such good grapes in 2014.


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