What to make of Bordeaux 2014? This is an interesting time to assess the wines, as they are about to ship, yet they are still available as futures. Recently there has been a perceptible uptick in interest in Bordeaux. A colleague from the auction market speculated last night that Bordeaux had gotten so uncool that it was beginning to be cool again. For my part, I have been drinking the wines all along, in good vintages and bad, the best wines and the best value wines. However, since I did not attend the en primeur tastings of the 2014 or 2015 vintages, I now rely on tasting them closer to when they arrive on our shores, and thus the tastings organized by the Union des Grands Crus is very important. This report only assesses those wines poured at this tasting, which occurred Monday in New York.
The grape growing year started well, with auspicious weather in the spring and a very good flowering that set the stage for a large-ish harvest. Unfortunately, the three months that followed saw a cool, rainy growing season that made for some very morose winemakers. After all, the quality of the vintages could hardly be anything but disappointing following the absolutely stellar 2009s and 2010s, and in August of 2014, growers feared another wash-out. Luckily for all concerned, record levels of dry, hot weather came through in September and lasted through the first week in October. Only a bit of rain on 8 October prevented a perfect arrière-saison. A bit later in the year the conditions were also right for a solid formation of botrytis in Sauternes. All in all, a good year, if not a great one. There is decent ripeness, but one of the hallmarks of the vintage generally is a lively acidity that one finds either refreshing or a bit green according to personal preference.