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Bordeaux 2014: between 08 and 10 in quality

The CEO of Château Palmer and sales director of Pichon-Baron have tentatively hailed the 2014 vintage in Bordeaux as the best since 2010.

Speaking to the drinks business, Thomas Duroux of Palmer and Xavier Sanchez of Pichon-Baron both said that, with the malolactic fermentation now finishing, the 2014 vintage certainly appears better than the 2008 but not quite at the heights of 2005, 2009 or 2010.

“The feeling is that it’s very good quality,” said Duroux. “Is it an ’05, ’09 or ’10? No, it’s just beneath that. It has the purity of ’08 but with more concentration and depth – it’s a promising vintage.”

It was reported that late September sunshine might save Bordeaux after an extremely disappointing summer and it appears to have been the case.

Sanchez said that the burst of late autumn sunshine from 29 August until mid-October and the harvest had turned a distinctly “average” looking vintage into a “very good”one, “not fantastic” he cautioned “but very good”.

Duroux noted that the lack of sunshine during summer and abundant rain had raised the fear of mildew.

“We were concerned,” he admitted but then the weather turned and it was warm enough through the autumn that by the last week of October “I was swimming in the ocean”, it was still so warm.

“All of the Médoc is very happy,” said Sanchez. The Right Bank is also looking good he reported but things had been tougher in Sauternes as the warm autumn had meant botrytis didn’t really set in.

On the other hand, Sauternes has earned the right to rest on its laurels a little having produced, by many accounts, the best wines in the region last year.

Duroux continued: “We were able to harvest very ripe, perfect berries,” but added that the sunshine had caused concentration of the fruit which is good for quality but probably led to a slight drop in volume.

Sanchez noted that Pichon-Baron had managed to average 38 hectolitres a hectare which is not as high as 2004 but was a “regular” amount and more than 2013.

Both stressed that these views were very early but that reports from other technical directors around the region corresponded with theirs.

“We have to see what the judgement will be,” said Duroux referring to next spring’s en primeur tasting and the inevitable campaign.

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