Some Bordeaux 2014s, mostly CBs or equivalents

This week was Bordeaux 2014 week. I wanted to get a better idea of how they are coming along, after trying the 2015s.

Château Citran - Haut-Médoc

Dark fruit on the nose, with a hint of red cherry, plus leather and hay. In the mouth, the usual silky elegance that Citran specialises in, some decent red charry flavours but a little muted midpalate, with a hefty green streak on the finish. Not the best Citran I’ve ever tried. Anyway, at 9 euros I’m not complaining. 87 pts

Chateau Cruzeau - Pessac-Léognan

From the A.Lurton stable, like la Louvière. Quite a deep nose of blackberry and blackcurrant, with cigar box and hints of blueberry. Much the same impressions on the palate, quite rich but very civilized, the usual Cruzeau chunkiness tempered by a fair amount of classical elegance. Hints of green on the finish but altogether more convincing than the Citran. Very good value at 8 euros. 90 pts

Domaine de Galouchey Le Vin de Jardin - VDF

Like the 2012, this has an enticing bouquet of redcurrant and cranberry, with a little blackberry and leather, then a decent attack of blackcurrant and blackberry, but unlike the 2012, it then rather peters out, with somewhat muted waves of redcurrant and wild strawberry, and a slightly green finish. Quite attractive, but nothing special. It cost me 18 euros at auction, which was already a lot, and at the normal price of 25€, not very good value. 85 pts

Château Hanteillan - Haut-Médoc

Rather disappointing. Hanteillan was one of the CBs I cut my teeth on when I started buying Bordeaux and I’ve always been a fan since.
The nose wasn’t great - good notes of blackcurrant and dark cherry, but something green in the background. The attack followed suit with much the same sensations - the fruit simply isn’t ripe enough, leaving a rather clumsy, coarse aftertaste. Just about drinkable but no more. This is the third bottle so I’m concerned for the remaining four - the comparison with a Clos Du Jaugueyron Haut Médoc 2014 just underlined how poor the Hanteillan was.

Clos du Jaugueyron - Haut Médoc

The previous bottle I opened had been a bit green, but this was back to the normal level. Quite an intense bouquet of raspberry and wild strawberry, with even a few spring flowers in the background, then a bright, incisive attack of fresh, crisp raspberry, broadening out into blackcurrant flavours before the wild strawberry hits the long, elegant finish. Tremendous stuff, this is CC level so at 17 euros, great value. 91 pts

Réserve de la Comtesse - Pauillac

Very attractive aromas of black cherry, blackcurrant and pencil shavings, then an arresting attack of red fruits, mainly cherry and redcurrant, before creamy blackcurrant takes over, filling the palate gloriously before gliding effortlessly to the long, elegant finish. A little green pokes its head up from time to time, but otherwise very enjoyable and at 36 euros, I would definitely go back for more. I’ve had bottles of PLL in the past that I enjoyed a lot less. 92 pts

Before visiting Pichon Comtesse this summer, I had only tried La Réserve a couple of times and had not been impressed, but like the 2019 I tried, this would seriously challenge some Pauillac CCs at around the same price.

Obviously this is only a snapshot of Bordeaux 2014 and I’m not drawing any conclusions (not that my opinion is important anyway), but it doesn’t seem to be a good Cru Bourgeois vintage. I was expecting crisp fruit, but not as much green. There’s a clumsy coarseness that reminds me of 1994s and some 2004s. I’ve no doubt that the CCs will be more convincing but I won’t be buying any more of the lesser lights, apart from La Réserve and Clos du Jaugueyron.

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Thanks for the notes Julian. Agree that comtesse reserve is a really nice wine, even if it’s not really CB pricing. Have you had 14 meyney?

Cheers Vince - you’re right of course that Comtesse Réserve is a lot more expensive - I put it in having really enjoyed it on Friday night, but it would belong better in a CC comparative. I haven’t got any Meyney 2014 - any good?

Some of the wines you reviewed are what I would call lower-tier Crus (in my mind at least) - Citran, for example. Rarely a fan, though occasionally it does something nice. I actually like some of the quality Crus. I’ve beat this drum quite a bit, but Sociando and Lanessan smoke in this vintage. I have multiple cases of each to be enjoyed well into my dotage. I do believe that 2016 delivered better Crus as a whole, but I think 2014 Sociando and Lanessan are better than their 2016 counterparts.

Yeah, Meyney is outstanding in 2014! Very st estephe, and clearly built for aging. A bit firm and austere right now but with a ton of stuffing (terrific on day 4). Went in for half a case after tasting.

I’ll add a shout-out for '14 Meyney, as well as Ch. Capbern and Labegorce.
In the same vein as the Reserve de Comtesse, I’ve enjoyed bottles of Dame de Montrose and Pagodes de Cos this year.
Lanessan also is quite enjoyable right now.
Toward the bottom end of CB, I like 2014 Ch. Pierre de Montignac.

I’ve never been so lucky to have a good bottle from Citran.

I’m looking forward to trying my Sociandos and Lanessans. Citran for me is normally excellent value and does indeed challenge the more expensive wines on a regular basis.
I think this is your sort of vintage - very Loire-like! Although the cheaper Loire reds I have tried have been more to my taste than their Bordeaux counterparts.

Thanks, I’ll look out for some.

You must have been very unlucky! Each to their own but Citran has been one of my weekday bankers since the 80s. I’ve always found it to be very consistent, apart from the occasional duff year like 2003. I was expecting a lot more from the 2014, so hopefully it was just a bad bottle or a mute phase.

Citran costs about the same as Lanessan or Capbern or Lilian Ladouys in my neck of the woods. So the choice became clear very quickly and I stopped experimenting with Citran. Perhaps, I didn’t give them a fair chance.

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'14 Bdx is a pet favorite of mine — I enjoy the general vintage style, and pricing was (and continues to be) relatively attractive. That said, yeah — the vintage doesn’t seem a good one for trolling among the lesser producers — I like the big vintages for that.

There’s no “right” answer in wine, it’s all down to personal preferences. Sometimes one suddenly “gets into” a wine - I’m not suggesting that this will be the case for you with Citran - but it did happen to me with Sociando-Mallet: I used to be politely indifferent, from the 82 right up to the 2001, then I think my taste evolved and all of a sudden…wham…I couldn’t get enough of the stuff! It has become one of my biggest holdings and I’ve forgotten just how many 2001s I’ve had!

Ha! I’ve also had more 2001 than any other vintage of this wine. MarcF and I bought another 18 more bottles about 2 years ago and my split is all gone. Maybe 3 cases worth since release, plus the incredible JG cuvee.

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I have been working my way through cases of Senejac and Caronne st Gemme, both of which are enjoyable in a classic restrained way. I have tried some slightly further up the food chain such as Poujeaux, but I didn’t think it was ready yet, although it shows promise. At Southwold the Meyney was confused for Montrose by some.