Bordeaux 2014: Pessac-Léognan’s moment in the sun


Bordeaux 1998

As we continue to follow our team in Bordeaux, Jake Dean – Fine Wine Sales Director – reports on the wines from Pessac-Léognan, which he feels are some of the best of the 2014 vintage.

The 2014 vintage may be typified by its charming freshness which – unlike recent vintages – is harmonious with the presence of rich, silky and expressive fruit. There is a balance with weight and, at times, power. Much of the Left Bank will get attention, with the best properties harnessing the purity, focus and intensity brought by the Cabernet Sauvignon, itself benefitting from the welcome Indian summer.

Despite this, it may be the often-overlooked wines of Pessac-Léognan, many with a high percentage of Merlot, which grab the headlines and the chance to shine. Unlike other communes, many top producers make both red and white wines and there are clear performers at all price points. Of those producing both, Ch. Latour-Martillac provides class which all can afford; Domaine de Chevalier once again delivers, with a red almost complete and sumptuous, and a white full of drive, zip and intensity. Stepping up a gear Ch. Pape Clément is, in our view, making more considered, restrained wines, still full of power and density; a red and white all should consider.

Of course, the success of the wines from the Haut-Brion stable will come as no surprise: the whites of La Mission and Haut-Brion are again ethereal and will be almost impossible to acquire, even if you are prepared to part with the considerable sums required for purchasing some of the world’s most elusive white wines. The reds are both very, very fine and sure to give immense pleasure to those who will drink them. La Mission is completely seductive, a wine which whilst serious, you want to jump straight into; Haut-Brion displays brooding power, restrained but showing ultimate class.

Although a white is not produced here, no visit to Pessac would be complete without Haut-Bailly. The transformation from under-achiever to one of the very best continues with what is now a succession of 15 delightful vintages. The 2014 continues to reflect the precision, expression and, most importantly, the terroir. There won’t be many to rival Haut-Bailly this year.

Price and the incentive to buy en primeur will continue to be a strong talking point. If Bordeaux in general shares the sentiment of one of the proprietors we visited today, this could be a vintage for the consumer. I hope his views are shared widely across Bordeaux and we see prices that grab everyone’s attention. Watch this space.

Stay in touch with the latest news and views from our team in Bordeaux: they will be posting updates on our blogInstagramTwitter and Facebook.