Bordeaux 2014: The Southwold Tasting

"I still regard 2014 as a 'proper' vintage, to quote a fellow Southwold participant, in the sense that it achieves what one expects from top Bordeaux: the terroir expression, the freshness, structure and class." In his article for Vinous , Neal Martin revisits Bordeaux's 2014s at the annual Southwold tasting, for which "practically all the major châteaux donate bottles for blind comparison." Which wines fared best? Discover twelve of Neal Martin's top performers from a vintage that "might be termed 'classic' Bordeaux."

Château d'Yquem

Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend 2014

Delectable Wine
9.7

The 2014 d'Yquem has a complex bouquet with buttered toast, almond, honey and peach skin aromas. It opens with greater zeal than its peers, there is more immediacy here. The palate is very well balanced with crisp acidity, a finely tuned and satisfying Sauternes with style and grace, evincing great tension and mineral drive towards the finish. Superb. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2018) — a year ago

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Château Montrose

Saint-Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend 2014

Delectable Wine
9.6

The 2014 Montrose has a bouquet that exudes class and sophistication: pure and mineral-driven black fruit, cedar and pencil lead, hints of blueberry developing with aeration although it never impedes upon the sense of terroir. The palate is medium-bodied with graphite-tinged black fruit, filigree tannin, a sweet core of blackberry and boysenberry fruit with a satin-like texture towards the finish. There is obviously some high quality oak used here, but it is simpatico with the fruit. For Montrose, you might argue that this is more modern in style and yet it is undeniably crafted with real panache to create a modern classic. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2018) — a year ago

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Château L'Eglise-Clinet

Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend 2014

Delectable Wine
9.5

The 2014 L’Eglise-Clinet has a gentle, understated bouquet at first that takes time to open, eventually offering black fruit, melted tar, truffle and bay leaf aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin, rather masculine and thickset at the moment, lightly spiced towards the finish. Much like the Vieux-Château-Certan, this is a little awkward in a blind setting however, it clearly meliorates in the glass and I keep on having to up my score. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2018) — a year ago

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Château Angélus

St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend 2014

Delectable Wine
9.6

The 2014 Angélus is now really beginning to blossom. It has an outstanding bouquet with plush but delineated black cherry and cassis fruit, crushed violet and just a hint of pencil lead. There is wonderful focus here. The palate is medium-bodied with tightly knit black fruit, graphite and spice. There is weight and presence, but it is effortlessly counterbalanced by the freshness and acidity, whilst the finish if extraordinarily long. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2018) — a year ago

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Château Suduiraut

Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend 2014

Delectable Wine
9.6

The 2014 Suduiraut is quite lucid and deep in color compared to its peer. The bouquet is well defined with copious wild honey, orange blossom, quince and almond aromas. The palate is well balanced with a viscous entry, well judged acidity, fresh and vibrant with a long, persistent, lightly spiced finish. There is something “complete” about this Sauternes and I can see this repaying bottle age. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2018) — a year ago

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Château Cheval Blanc

St. Émilion Red Bordeaux Blend 2014

Delectable Wine
9.5

The 2014 Cheval Blanc does not convey the same sophistication and panache as the Angélus. This is more rugged and earthier, quite powerful with pencil lead and sous-bois aromas developing with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, plenty of blackberry laced with cedar, mint, fruitcake and white pepper notes. It finishes with some style and it feels very long on the finish. I just think that unlike Angélus this is going to need several years to really knit together. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2018) — a year ago

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Château Léoville-Las Cases

Grand Vin de Leoville du Marquis de las Cases Saint-Julien Red Bordeaux Blend 2014

Delectable Wine
9.5

The 2014 Léoville Las-Cases has a (typically) more introverted, tertiary, austere bouquet compared to the Léoville Barton. Despite coaxing it does not possess much lift – sullen, a wine with a "Closed" sign dangling on the front door. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, solid with a sweet core, nicely proportion but just not quite conveying the same joie-de-vivre and energy as its peers. "Perhaps it is saving everything for later?" are the words I penned before this wine's identity is revealed...well, I should have known. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2018) — a year ago

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Château La Mission Haut-Brion

Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend 2014

Delectable Wine
9.6

The 2014 La Mission Haut-Brion has a sophisticated, very detailed bouquet with blackberry, wild hedgerow, cedar and graphite. This is very focused and yet at the same time quite controlled and discrete. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, crisp acidity, cedar and touches of allspice. I love the depth of this wine and the gentle grip towards the finish. It knows not to push too hard in this growing season and that results in a very classy wine. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2018) — a year ago

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Château La Violette

Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend 2014

Delectable Wine
9.6

The 2014 La Violette put in quite a brilliant performance. It has a clean and precise bouquet with blackberry, raspberry, bay leaf and clove-like aromas that gain intensity with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin, very well balanced and price with a harmonious, poised and sustained finish. This is a very classy Pomerol although it will require several years in bottle. This is one to watch. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2018) — a year ago

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Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend 2014

Delectable Wine
9.5

The 2014 Grand-Puy Lacoste has a bouquet with blackberry, boysenberry, mint and graphite, well defined and focused. It does not have to try too hard to give so much pleasure. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, very crisp acidity, beautifully proportioned with a veneer of top quality new oak that will need three or four years to be fully subsumed. But the purity and elegance of this Pauillac cannot be denied – a quite brilliant contribution to the 2014 vintage. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2018) — a year ago

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