Bordeaux 2014: A game-changer


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Nicholas Pegna – Director of our South-East Asia office – discusses how the game has changed when it comes to Bordeaux en primeur; with 2014 providing a crossroads for both the system and the region.

In the last 15 years of tasting Bordeaux en primeur, I have seen a great deal of change. In the early days, we dutifully played by the rules and tasted wines on the merits of the vintage. In time and with experience, we learnt to taste them against preceding vintages and take a view from a wider perspective. We have learnt to understand how wines will fill in, and we have seen en primeur rising stars grow into superstars. We have also learnt to be sceptical about promises that a vintage is ‘the best ever’.

However, by understanding the value of visiting the properties directly and speaking to the winemakers and proprietors, we were able to see the vintages through their eyes.  The world became less binary and consequently it was less easy to define a vintage by commune and in truth, the more we learnt, the more we wanted to understand.  We called the greatest vintage (2005) only to diverge from the view of some critics; whilst musing on the excitement over other vintages that we couldn’t quite share (2008).

Today, in 2015, tasting the 2014 vintage, we are faced with a considerably easier task: a vintage that is open and genuine, with only one key problem: the market. The wines tasted to date seem full, generous and easy, prices should be helped by the weakness of the euro, and, with a drop of good fortune, we will have a solid campaign. The Bordelais expect so, the market hopes so and the more experienced of the merchants see the crossroads we are at. If good sense prevails then the collective knowledge of merchants is of value to guide consumers towards well-made, well-priced wines of great pleasure. History is on our shoulders.

Follow our team in Bordeaux as they visit the vineyards, sample the 2014 wines and engage with the people behind them: they will be posting updates on the blogInstagramTwitter and Facebook.