2014 Margaux is not an even vintage. There are sublime wines from Chateau Margaux and Chateau Palmer, as you would expect. There are also good wines from a diverse array of producers, a few disappointments from chateaux that I had hoped would make better wine. But to balance everything out with 2014 Margaux, there are also a few estates that made some of the best wine they’ve produced in ages, if not ever!
The Margaux appellation is large, even by Bordeaux standards. It is the second biggest region in the Left Bank with more than 1,300 hectares under vine. With an appellation of that size, as you would expect, there are a myriad of different terroirs and styles of vineyard management. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand how 2014 Margaux wines can range so much in quality.
2014 Margaux is similar to other regions in the Medoc due to the cool, wet summer. At first, it was prognosticated that Margaux and much of Bordeaux would experience an early harvest. A precocious harvest is always a good thing. But the lack of warmth, sun and dry conditions during the summer months pushed everything back.
Things were not looking good for 2014 Margaux until the Indian summer conditions took hold at the end of August and remained through the remainder of the harvest. However, 2014 Margaux differs from other regions in the Medoc due to the late season rain. Margaux experienced rain shortly after the start of the Indian summer September 8, but did not experience rain later that month September 17 and September 18, when appellations in the Medoc enjoyed the additional moisture. That extra dry period, coupled with the various soils in the region played a role in shaping the 2014 Margaux vintage. The harvest started for the Merlot September 22 and finishing with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes by the middle of the month for most estates. For a more detailed overview on the shaping of the 2014 Margaux vintage and for the entire Bordeaux region, please read: 2014 Bordeaux Detailed Harvest and Vintage Summary
It should not be much longer until the first wave of 2014 Margaux wines are priced and offered for sale as futures. That will follow on the heels of Chateau Prieure Lichine, which was the first 1855 Classified Growth estate to offer their wine En Primeur from the 2014 vintage. For those of you keeping score, their price was 8% higher than they offered their 2013 vintage at 26 Euros. That price does not appear to have encouraged buyers to come forward. A week or so later, Chateau Palmer became the first major estate in Margaux to release their wine, pricing the 2014 Palmer at 160 Euros ex-negociant, which is an increase over 2013 by about 7%, bringing it back to the same price as they asked for their 2012. 2014 Alter Ego was priced at 38.50 Euros. This was followed by Chateau Margaux at 240 Euros, which kept its price at the same level of the other First Growths released so far. In the case of Margaux, it was an increase of 11% over the 2013 release. As Chateau Margaux is one of the top wines of the 2014 Bordeaux vintage, and the wine is priced competitively when measured against recent back vintages, the wine should sell. As for the wines that took big jumps from the previous vintage, it’s too soon to know, but price increases in today’s market are going to be a difficult sell. Rauzan-Segla, one of the top wines of the 2014 Margaux appellation was offered at 38.50 Euros, a jump of almost 17% over 2013, but due to its quality, seems to offer value to the market as the wine has proven to be one of the best sellers so far in the 2014 Bordeaux campaign.
In each of the articles we have published, we have implored the chateau to listen to the true market conditions and price their wines accordingly. We are hoping that the continued delay in issuing prices for 2014 Margaux, and the rest of the 2014 Bordeaux vintage is a good sign that perhaps someone at the chateau level is actually taking the time to listen to true realities of the marketplace today.
This is the 5th of 9 reports on the 2014 Bordeaux vintage. To read 2014 Bordeaux tasting notes from other appellations:2014 Bordeaux Tasting Notes The following 2014 Margaux wines were tasted in non-blind conditions at either the chateau, or negociants in Bordeaux. This article was put together with help in editing from Audrey Lavin. With luck, you can expect us to publish the tasting notes in for 2014 Pessac Leognan in the morning.
2014 d’Angludet – Medium-bodied with a crisp, red berry character, this classically styled Margaux will drink best in its youth. 85-87 Pts
2014 L’Aura de Cambon – Dark in color with soft, round, sinuous, meaty textures and sweet fruits, the wine is quite charming in this vintage. It is a hard to find wine but well worth the hunt. 88-90 Pts
2014 Bellevue de Tayac – This wine is approachable, fresh and filled with crunchy red berries. Stand by for a finish of earth and spice, coupled with red fruits. 86-88 Pts
2014 Boyd Cantenac – Medium-bodied with a bright cassis and floral character, this wine ends on a crisp, red-berried note. 87-89 Pts
2014 Brane Cantenac – Strawberry, caramel, thyme and cherries stir this perfume into action, soaking the palate with spice, cherries and dark cocoa. This medium-bodied wine has a classically, elegant, crisp, fresh finish making it all the more agreeable. From a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13% alcohol with a pH of 3.73. It represents 38% of the harvest. 91-92 Pts
2014 Cantenac Brown – Vibrant, full-bodied and alive with easy to find notes of fragrant violets, blackberry, boysenberry and espresso, this wine continues ripe and sweet with a soft and even, fruit-filled finish. From 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot, the wine reached 13% alcohol and is being aged in 60% new, French oak barrels. 91-93 Pts
2014 Alto de Cantenac Brown Blanc – Lemon, lime and green apple on the nose with enough acidity to keep this wine hoppin’ on the palate, teasing your tasters with the welcome impression of lemon chiffon pie. This should be easy to drink on release. 89 Pts
2014 d’Issan – A quickly detected aura of flowers, licorice, cherries and black raspberries, this wine is medium/full-bodied, elegant in style and replete with nectarous cherries and silky tannins. From a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Merlot, the wine reached 13.24% alcohol, with a pH of 3.83. 90-92 Pts
2014 Dauzac – This is not a wine I taste often but I was truly impressed with this vintage, as the recent change in ownership/management has clearly made a difference. Round textures, ripeness in the fruit and a kiss of oak, this elegant wine finishes on a note of dewy, lusciously ripe berries. 88-90 Pts
2014 Desmirail – With a focus on just-picked red berries, this medium-bodied wine is bright and fresh and will drink well in its youth. 87-89 Pts
2014 Durfort Vivens – Medium-bodied with a bright, red berry piquancy, this wine has multifaceted character of salty, soft, sweet and tart. 86-88 Pts
2014 Ferriere – With a bright, classic, red berry character, this medium-bodied wine finishes on the crisp side of the red fruit style range. 85-88 Pts
2014 Giscours – A complex nose of earth, tobacco, mint, black cherry and raspberries, this wine is soft, polished and there is a fresh, unadulterated plum and fresh, black raspberry sensation in the silky finish. The wine was produced from a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot. 91-92 Pts
2014 Kirwan – Ripe dark berries with hints of cassis, thyme, espresso and earth lead to a round, soft, fresh wine with a black cherry inspired finish. 89-91 Pts
2014 Labegorce – This wine is packed with ripe plums, cherries and a hint of thyme. The sense of softness in the texture readies you for an elegant, chocolate, espresso bean and fresh, cassis finish. The wine was produced from a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot and is aging in 50% new, French oak barrels. 88-90 Pts
2014 Lascombes – Coffee beans, anise, oak and dark cherries fill the nose but in the mouth, a strong oaky edge distracts from the licorice and ripe plum finish. 89-91 Pts
2014 Malescot St. Exupery – This fun ride of dark chocolate, cherry liqueur, fresh herbs and supple tannins is already fun to taste. Deep garnet in color with the fragrance of truffle, cocoa, boysenberry and blossoms, it’s smooth, soft, fleshy and round. The wine was produced from a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot and reached 14.2% alcohol with a pH of 3.82. 92-94 Pts
2014 Margaux – A valentine of dark chocolate and roses melded with the aromatics of licorice, blackberry and cocoa create a complex perfume. The wine is elegant with a refined character, supple tannins and a burst of fresh cassis, cherry and cocoa that builds on the palate. The most striking quality to this wine is the clarity of fruit in the finish. While this vintage lacks the weight and density found in vintages like 2009 and 2010, the length is quite similar. Produced from a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.2% alcohol with a pH of 3.68. This represents 36% of the harvest. 95-97 Pts
2014 Pavillon Rouge – Blending the sophisticated aromatics of floral, dark chocolate and fresh boysenberry, this medium-bodied wine is forward and fresh. It delivers a crisp, vigorous cassis finish and is filled with refined charm. The wine was produced from a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot and reached 13.5% alcohol. 91-92 Pts
2014 Pavillon Blanc – With a nose of lemon, grapefruit, orange and honeydew, this wine is lively and bright with fresh-squeezed lime, Meyer lemon and citrus peel. The finish is long, dazzling and quite fresh. The wine was produced from 100% Sauvignon Blanc. 94 Pts
2014 Marojallia – With an oaky, floral, black cherry nose, this fleshy, round, wine has an early drinking, seductive charm. 89-91 Pts
2014 Marquis d’Alesme – A catchy nose of cassis and flowers, this wine has the structure to age coupled with a luxuriously fresh, ripe, fruit-filled charm. The wine was produced from 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, and is aging in 60% new, French oak barrels. With a new showcase cellar just completed, and a commitment to quality at a spare no expense attitude, this is a wine to watch out for. 89-91 Pts
2014 Marquis de Terme – Soft and open with a bittersweet chocolate, licorice and black cherry core, the wine is lush, smooth, bright, round and forward. 90-91 Pts
2014 Monbrison – This wine is light in color and dominated by fresh, bright cherries but the finish is a bit too short. 84-86 Pts
2014 Paveil de Luze – Flowers, cherries and crisp berries on the nose make this uncomplicated vintage a medium-bodied, early-drinking charmer. 86-87 Pts
2014 Palmer – Espresso bean, truffle, floral, plum and earthy scents pop quickly as your nose meets the glass. A polished and elegant debutante wrapped in a gown of velvety tannins, this wine is fresh, clean and pure leaving you with a sensuous drape of lingering fruits. This wine is the first fully biodynamic vintage for the chateau. Produced from a blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, the reached 13.5 alcohol with a pH of 3.6. It represents 55% of the harvest, which took place between September 22 and October 14. 94-95 Pts
2014 Alter Ego – A ready nose of fig, blackberry and earthy notes, this wine is medium-bodied, round and fresh on the palate with a gentle, fresh, plum, cherry and cocoa finish. The wine was produced from a blend of 52% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Petit Verdot. Like Palmer, this is the first vintage of Alter Ego that was produced using 100% Biodynamic farming techniques. 90-92 Pts
2014 Prieure-Lichine – Medium-bodied with a nose of floral, black raspberry, licorice and smoke, this wine is approachable, fresh and plush with a round, chocolate covered cherry finish. 89-91 Pts
2014 Rauzan-Gassies – The focus is on bright, crisp red fruits. This medium-bodied, lighter, fresh, style of Margaux will be best in its youth. 86-88 Pts
2014 Rauzan-Segla – With the opening essence suggesting florals, fennel, cocoa, cassis and blackberry upon the nose, this wine is medium/full-bodied with delectably dark fruits, silky tannins and brightness in the finish. From a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.5% alcohol. The Grand Vin represents only 40% of the harvest. 93-94 Pts
2014 Segla – This is a contender for the best second wine of the vintage. It’s a perfect wine to order in a restaurant. Fresh and soft with bushels of sweet, ample fruits, polished tannins and a friendly, open, forward character. 87-89 Pts
2014 Siran – This is the best wine I’ve tasted from Siran. Medium-bodied, soft, round and open with a core of licorice, blackberry and dark molten chocolate, this is a property to watch, as Hubert de Bouard is now the consultant. 89-91 Pts
2014 du Tertre – It’s not difficult to sense the flowers, blackberry and a bit of chocolate on the nose and easy to enjoy the smooth, softness coupled with the sensation of freshness on the palate. The sweet cherry finish makes this vintage already easy to drink. From a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 12% Petit Verdot and 10% Merlot, the wine reached 13.2% alcohol. 89-91 Pts