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A new view of one of our favourite recent vintages

Ballet, Not Body-Building

What a lot of wine: the new cellar at Château Montrose
Can you remember the days when Bordeaux was affordable? Barely. But do you recall when you last tasted claret that tasted like...well...claret: cool and savoury and sculpted and rewarding i.e. the sort of wine that makes one keep returning to the bottle with renewed vigour? I can. It was the 2014 vintage that produced just such wines.

We have always been a fan of '14 in Bordeaux. The wines, that is, not the primeurs campaign, which was, once again, rather damp and squibby.

Now Antonio Galloni has revisited the vintage and published an up-to-date set of tasting notes. And a number of these relate to wines of which we still have a little stock. So I thought I'd let you know about it. Details follow...

The Wines
2014 Château Calon Ségur, St Estèphe
£366 in bond per 6

"The 2014 Calon Ségur is a real show-stopper. Unusually ripe, powerful and seductive, the wine exudes class. Myriad shades of plum, sweet red cherry, pomegranate, spice and blood orange are all on display. Wild flowers, tobacco and host of more aromatic notes develop in the glass. Above all else, though, the 2014 is a wine of pure power and breadth. This is yet another fabulous showing for the 2014 Calon Ségur, a wine that vies for top honors in this vintage. Don't miss it. The blend is 67 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 19 % Merlot, 15 % Cabernet Franc and 2 % Petit Verdot. 96+/100. Drinking window 2024-54." Antonio Galloni in February 2017

2014 Château Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
£120 in bond per 6
- just 1x6 remaining
"A wine of notable precision, persistence and class, the 2014 Cantemerle is outstanding. Sweet tobacco, licorice, red cherry and dried savory herbs are some of the signatures. Medium in body and lively, the 2014 captures the best attributes of the year. This is a positively stellar showing. 92/100. Drinking window 2017-26.Antonio Galloni in February 2017

2014 Château Cheval Blanc, St Emilion
£2,100 in bond per 6

"A wine of exceptional finesse, the 2014 Cheval Blanc lifts from the glass with captivating aromatics and sculpted red-fleshed fruit, all with the extra kick of acidity and overall freshness that are such a signature of this vintage. The 2014 is bright, finessed and persistent. It will almost certainly put on weight in bottle. I have a feeling something special is developing here. 96+/100. Drinking window 2024-44."  Antonio Galloni in February 2017

2014 Château Figeac, St Emilion
£426 in bond per 6

"The 2014 Figeac is shaping up to be a real jewel of a wine. Powerful and structured, with plenty of tannic spine, the 2014 won't start hitting its stride for at least a few years. Even today, though, it is impressive for its energy and overall intensity. Plum, smoke, spice, graphite and leather build into the huge, expressive finish. Figeac is one of the stars of the vintage. There is real density and gravitas here, not to mention considerable personality. 96/100. Drinking window 2024-54.Antonio Galloni in February 2017

2014 Château Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac
£255 in bond per 6

"The 2014 Grand Puy Lacoste is superb. Dark, dense and inviting, the 2014 possesses remarkable depth and richness. Black cherry, plum, smoke, licorice and tobacco all develop in the glass, but it is the overall feel that is most impressive. Silky, polished tannins nicely balance the wine's overt personality. In short, the 2014 has it all. Don't miss it. This is a knockout wine from proprietor François-Xavier Borie. 95/100. Drinking window 2020-39.Antonio Galloni in February 2017

2014 Château Léoville Barton, St Julien
£255 in bond per 6

"The 2014 Léoville-Barton shows remarkable freshness and overall vivacity. Succulent black cherry, plum, violet and blood orange create a distinctive combination of dark fruit and brisk, pulsating acidity. Today, the 2014 comes across as very tight and closed, which is probably good thing for the future. Readers should plan on cellaring the 2014 for at least a few years. Tasted two times. 93/100. Drinking window 2022-39.Antonio Galloni in February 2017

2014 Château Malescot St Exupéry, Margaux
£192 in bond per 6

"The 2014 Malescot Saint Exupéry is powerful, rich and explosive. One of the more exuberant, flamboyant Margaux that readers will come across, the Malescot exudes serious depth and intensity. Black cherry, plum, smoke, licorice and dark spice meld into the deep, succulent finish. The 2014 needs time in bottle, but it is impressive and also highly promising, 93+/100. Drinking window 2024-39.Antonio Galloni in February 2017

2014 Château Montrose, St Estèphe
£525 in bond per 6

"The 2014 Montrose is without question one of the standout wines of the vintage. Black cherry, plum, smoke, licorice and lavender are some of the many aromas and flavors that open up in the glass. But the 2014 is a much deeper wine than just a bunch of descriptors can conjure. In 2014, Montrose is a wine of exceptional finesse and polish. The late-ripening vintage allowed for perfect maturation of the tannins and resulted in a silky wine that exudes class and pedigree. The 2014 is not an obvious or bombastic Montrose, but rather a wine of sublime enchantment. Don't miss it! 97/100. Drinking window 2024-54." Antonio Galloni in February 2017

2014 Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
£396 in bond per 6

"The 2014 Pontet-Canet seems to have put on quite a bit of weight and volume since I first tasted it from barrel. Ripe, juicy tannins wrap around a core of intense dark cherry, plum, spice, lavender and tobacco. Today, it is the wine's sheer intensity and vertical structure that stands out. I wouldn't dream of touching a bottle until at least age ten, and even that is almost certainly not going to be enough time for the 2014 to show the full breadth of its potential. The transformation the 2014 has undergone from a delicate, nuanced Pauillac to a wine of depth is quite remarkable. Tasted three times. The blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, vinified in equal parts cement and oak and aged in a combination of 50% new oak, 35% amphora and 15% once used barrels. This is a gorgeous wine from the Tesseron family and the team led by Technical Director Jean-Michel Comme. 95+/100. Drinking window 2024-44.Antonio Galloni in February 2017

2014 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, Pessac-Léognan
£396 in bond per 6
- just 1x6 remaining
"The 2014 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc comes across as very young and in need of cellaring. Then again, that's the way it is in most vintages with the Blanc. White flowers, mint and orchard fruit are some of the signatures. In 2014, the Blanc is a wine of power, texture and depth, some of which is found in place of the brighter, more citrus-driven character found in other vintages. In 2014, the blend is 70 % Sauvignon Blanc and 30 % Sémillon. Tasted two times. 94/100. Drinking window 2019-34.Antonio Galloni in February 2017

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