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Good value Bordeaux 2014s ‘a natural target for collectors and drinkers’

Having outperformed the broader Bordeaux market, wines from the “well-made, well-priced” 2014 vintage are “a natural target for drinkers and collectors”, according to Bordeaux Index.

Speaking to db after Bordeaux Index’s annual 10 Years On tasting at its offices in central London, head of investment, Matthew O’Connell, said: “2014 is a timely reminder of the ongoing benefits of favourable En Primeur pricing.

“Released at around 10% below the inferior 2013 vintage, the 2014s have always had the tailwind that comes when quality and value combine – indeed, they have outperformed the broader Bordeaux market by over 10% in the last four years.

“The best performers since En Primeur have been Château Lafite, Mouton Rothschild and Pichon Lalande, which have all roughly doubled. Today, most wines sit, broadly speaking, at around 40% below the 2009s and 2010s as a prime vintage reference point, and are substantially cheaper than the 2016s.”

The fine wine merchant’s Bordeaux specialist, Robert Mathias, told db that the 2014s were “affordable within the context of Bordeaux’s Grands Crus”, and offered a lot of “bang for their buck”.

“Despite the softening of prices across the broader market over the past 12 months, Bordeaux 2014s still seem like strong value against their peers.

“The 2014s have held their value relatively well and the average 40% discount that leading 2014s enjoy against the 2010s make them a natural target for both drinkers and collectors alike,” he said.

Weather-wise, the 2014 vintage was a mixed bag, with early budburst and successful flowering in May followed by thunderstorms in the Médoc in June.

The summer was cool and damp, which delayed veraison and required targeted work in the vineyard to protect vines from disease. September sunshine seemed to save the day, which continued through to the harvest in October.

Robert Mathias Bordeaux Index

“The long growing season seemed to favour Cabernet, giving a lot of aromatic complexity to the wines,” Mathias said.

While he admitted that 2014 wasn’t a “blockbuster” vintage, he said there was “real charm” to be found across the board with these wines a decade after they were made, singling out “freshness and energy” as a hallmark of the vintage.

“Having shaken off any awkwardness of adolescence, these wines are now in their stride. While the 2014s don’t deliver the high points of 2016, 2019 or 2020, there is a lot to enjoy for collectors who prefer more classically proportioned wines without big alcohol, yet with freshness and aromatic complexity,” he said.

“The 2014 vintage has a cool classicism about it. The best examples are beautiful – and honest – in their restraint. There’s no sense of excess to these wines, with the best showing terroir transparency, a compelling salinity, and tension between mineral and fruit running through them.

“While the 2014s fit outside the mould of riper, more robust styles of recent, more solar vintages, there is a lot to enjoy in the restraint and finesse of this vintage,” he added.

Mathias told db that the wines are entering their prime drinking window, with the majority having the structure to last over the coming two decades.

“At the top end there were a few wines, such as Montrose, Figeac and Léoville Las Cases that need more time and will have a long life ahead of them,” he said.

Among his standout wines from the 10 Years On tasting were Pomerol’s Vieux Château Certan, which he scored 97 points, first growths Château Lafite and Haut-Brion, both of which he gave 96 points to, and Montrose and Cos d’Estournel from Saint-Estèphe, which he awarded 96 points.

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