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Friday, 13 March 2015

Grand Cercle 2014 Primeurs‏

2014 Grand Cercle Primeurs
That 2014 was a better vintage in Bordeaux than the annus horribilis of 2013 can be filed under No sh*t Sherlock. But was it actually any good?

The Grand Cercle press release characterises it as a early developer turned bad pupil who aced the resits - a magnificent vintage miraculously saved.

It depends where you look - if the soil or terroir defines character and provides the underlying potential, vintage dials up or down the intensity and the winemaker brings balance.
If a good year leaves little for the winemaker to do, a bad year is where the real work starts. So a good test of a vintage is the consistency of quality across chateaux and winemakers.
Tasting the 2014 Primeurs, I was looking primarily for balance; other qualities may develop over time, but if balance is lacking at the beginning, it will never come later.
Based on what I tasted at the Grand Cercle, 2014 looks to be a perfectly respectable sort of year with a few wines showing a sensuously plump opulence and freshness with good underpinnings, but not the across-the-board generosity of 2009-2010.
The stand out regions from this tasting were:
- St Emilion Grand Cru Classe and Pomerol on the right bank
- Pauillac, Graves, Pessac-Leognan and St Estephe on the left
There were also a couple of wines that punched above their weight with an impressive showing from Fronsac and Lalande de Pomerol.
The few whites were all good. Stand-out reds are listed below:
Saint-Robert Cuvee "Poncet Deville" pure and fresh with rip cherry fruit, balanced
Fonbadet pure, focused, precise; mineral and fresh
Haut Lagrange plump, soft, velvety - lovely
Clos Vieux Taillefer ripe, fresh, plump, focused
Vray Croix de Gay fresh, precise, long and focused
St Emilion Grand Cru Classe
Fleur Cardinale ripe, soft, velvety and plump; lovely texture
La Marzelle ripe, fresh, plump and balanced; Good structure and underpinnings
Ch de Pressac sweet, ripe, plump fruit, well-balanced
St Estephe
Serilhan sweet ripe fruit, leathery gaminess, drinking very nicely now
There were also a number of outliers that merit a special mention:
Ch Dalem, Fronsac 2014 dark fruit, cool mint, excellent structure, really well made. A revelation.
Ch Siaurac, Lalande de Pomerol 2014 smooth, ripe, full and balanced
Ch Croix Cardinale, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2014 a "little cousin" of the Fleur Cardinale, pure, fresh, precise cherry fruit
Haut-Bacalan, Pessac-Leognan, 2009 the 2014 samples had gone missing in transit, so he found some 2009s to show; pure, fresh, mineral, concentrated and focused
Tour Seran, Haut Medoc 2011 Cru Bourgeois, blended by the best sommelier in the world, apparently; lots of crowd-pleasing flavour going on with good structure and underpinnings

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