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    Primeurs 2015: Snap-shot of a Vintage 2014

    Timed usually ath the end of March and beginning of April the Primeur Week in Bordeaux is always an exciting moment as it allows a first view on the latest vintage. The huge number of wines available for tasting is impressing and one week seems almost to short. Therefore the Union de Grand Crus offers a well organised blind tasting for the press on every morning during the week. On the precendt weekend the Grand Cercle des vins de Bordeaux holds blind tastings of over 200 samples. These impressions are complemented by tastings at various Châteaux and tastings organized by the Bordeaux trade. Therefore some oft he wines can be tasted twice or even more often during this week to doublecheck on quality and style.

     

    An interesting fact is the weather situation. Meterologic low pressure means that wines may close down, meanwhile meterologic high pressure presents the wines in a more open and flavourful style. This year the wheather was quite bad during the first days of the tasting week but ameliorated a lot in the second half of the week. This had an influence on the tasting notes in general which has to be considered. Another effect has been the late harvest in 2014, which shortened the time period between harvest and Primeur tastings for up to a month. A month less time for maturation has effects on the tasting results which is another aspect to consider, always keeping in mind that each tasting result remains a snap-shot and is not an absolute and final judgement.

     

    2014 had an early start with budbreak around 10 days ahead of the 10 years average. End of May flowering started on the early terroirs in heterogeneous conditions, whereas the later varieties such as Cabernet-Sauvignon and Franc as well as later terroirs took advantage of a warm and sunny period beginning of June. July and August where quite cool and humid and in the second half of August the vintners prepared themselves for a vintage even worse than 2013 but at the end of August everything changed. A spledid indian summer througout September and October saved the quality. Harvest started for the white grapes started three days later than in 2012 but two weeks later than 2011. For the red grapes the harvest startet with Merlot at the end of September and ended with the Cabernets in the second half of October. The cool climate during summer provides a higher acidity, the indian summer is responsible for the right ripening.

     

    The dry white wines are on a very good quality level showing crisp acidity and ripe flavours. The noble sweet white wines also take advantage of the higher acidity balancing the opulent sweetness. Therefore this vintage seems more on the elegant side. The presentation of red wines depends very much on the grape varietes and terroirs. Overall the red wines are on a higher quality level than the three previous vintages. Saint-Emilion is excellent on the plateau calcaire and shows in general very good wines.

     In Pomerol the centre of the plateau was in advantage over the surrounding areas. Fronsac was a very positive surprise for 2014. In the Médoc the southern part proved to be more heterogenous than the northern part, where especially Saint-Estèphe was homogenous and excellent. South of Bordeaux Pessac-Léognan presented a very homogenous picture of a very good quality level with outstanding wines from Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion.

    One last observation: This vintage digests oak in a great way. The oak is even not obvious in wines with a 100% new oak barrels for maturation. Now there are roughtly twelve month to follow for the maturation of the 2014s untill the bottling in 2016. A lot can happen in this period. Let us see how the wines will present themselves after bottling, it will be a very interesting tasting again. 2014 is not a great vintage like 2005, 2009 or 2010 but it will be able to secure a position as one of the very good vintages of Bordeaux.

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    My Today

    TOP 100  BORDEAUX 2014  VINTAGE

    (You can read the tasting notes and full reviews by using the search engine on the left upper corner. Just write the name of the wine you are looking for) 

     

    Ausone

    97points

    Cheval-Blanc

    97

    Haut-Brion

    97

    Lafite-Rothschild

    97

    Le Pin

    97

    Margaux

    97

    Mouton-Rothschild

    97

     

     

     

     

    Cos d'Estournel

    96

    Eglise-Clinet

    96

    Léoville-Poyferré

    96

    Pontet-Canet

    96

    Valandraud

    96

    Vieux Château Certan

    96

    Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarosse

    95

    Canon

    95

    Canon La Gaffelière

    95

    Ducru-Beaucaillou

    95

    Figeac

    95

    La Mission-Haut-Brion

    95

    La Mondotte

    95

    Montrose

    95

    Palmer

    95

    Pavie 

    95

    Pavie-Macquin

    95

    Pichon Longueveille  

    95

    Troplong Mondot

    95

    Trottevieille

    95

    Angélus

    94

    Beau-Séjour Bécot

    94

    Calon-Ségur

    94

    Clinet

    94

    Clos Fourtet

    94

    Conseillante

    94

    Domaine de Chevalier

    94

    Haut-Bailly

    94

    La Couspaude

    94

    la Fleur Pétrus

    94

    Larcis Ducasse

    94

    l'Evangile

    94

    Malartic Lagravière

    94

    Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

    94

    Rauzan-Ségla

    94

    Trotanoy

    94

    Beauregard

    93

    Bouscaut

    93

    Dassault

    93

    Franc Mayne

    93

    Gaffelière

    93

    Grand Pontet

    93

    Gruaud-Larose

    93

    Hosanna

    93

    La Clotte

    93

    La Dominique

    93

    La Louvière

    93

    Langoa-Barton

    93

    Lascombes

    93

    Le Clarence de Haut-Brion

    93

    Le Gay

    93

    Nénin 

    93

    Olivier

    93

    Pape Clément

    93

    Pavie-Décesse

    93

    Peby Faugères

    93

    Smith Haut Lafitte

    93

    Villemaurine

    93

    Vray Croix de Gay

    93

    Angludet

    92

    Balestard-La-Tonnelle

    92

    Batailley

    92

    Belair Monange

    92

    Bon Pasteur

    92

    Branaire-Ducru

    92

    Brane-Cantenac

    92

    Cantemerle

    92

    Cantenac-Brown

    92

    Carbonnieux

    92

    Certan de May de Certan

    92

    Clerc-Milon

    92

    Clos Saint Martin

    92

    Domaine de l'Eglise

    92

    Duhart Milon Rothschild

    92

    Ferrand

    92

    Fleur Cardinale

    92

    Gazin

    92

    Grand Mayne

    92

    Grandes Murailles

    92

    Issan

    92

    La Chapelle d'Ausone

    92

    Lafon-Rochet

    92

    Latour à Pomerol

    92

    Le Bon Pasteur

    92

    L'Enclos

    92

    Léoville-Barton

    92

    l'IF

    92

    Magrez Fombrauge

    92

    Malescot-Saint-Exupéry

    92

    Monbousquet

    92

    Petit-Village

    92

    Phélan Ségur

    92

    Quintus

    92

    Talbot

    92

    Tour Figeac

    92

    Belgrave

    91

    Bellefont Belcier

    91

    Bellevue-Mondotte

    91

    Berliquet

    91

    Beychevelle

    91

    Bonalgue

    91

    Bourgneuf

    91

    Branas-Grand-Poujeaux

    91

    Cap de Mourlin

    91

    Clos Badon

    91

    Clos Beauregard

    91

    Clos de l'Oratoire

    91

    Clos du Marquis

    91

    Clos Lunelles

    91

    Coufran

    91

    d'Armailhac

    91

    Dauzac

    91

    Ferrière

    91

    Giscours

    91

    Haut Marbuzet

    91

    Haut-Bergey

    91

    Kirwan

    91

    La Chapelle de la Mission-Haut-Brion

    91

    La Grave

    91

    La Pointe

    91

    Labégorce

    91

    Lagrange

    91

    Le Petit Mouton

    91

    Le Plus de la Fleur de Bouard

    91

    Les Cruzelles

    91

    Les Pagodes de Cos

    91

    Lynch-Bages

    91

    Marquis de Terme

    91

    Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux

    91

    Petit Bocq

    91

    Pomeaux

    91

    Prieuré-Lichine

    91

    Rouget

    91

    Saint-Pierre

    91

    Sociando Mallet

    91

    Yon-Figeac

    91

    Alcée

    90

    Bel Air Ouy

    90

    Bellevue

    90

    Bernadotte

    90

    Carruades de Lafite

    90

    Cheval Noir Cuvée le Fer

    90

    Cissac

    90

    Clément Pichon

    90

    Clos des Jacobins

    90

    Clos la Madeleine

    90

    Clos l'Eglise

    90

    Cos Labory

    90

    Croix de Beaucaillou

    90

    d'Aighuile

    90

    de France

    90

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    My Yesterday

    BORDEAUX 2014 DECLARED ‘MIRACLE’ VINTAGE 

    2014 Bordeaux is a “great”, “miracle” vintage that is close in style and quality to the exceptional 2010s, according to Nicolas Glumineau, general manager for Roederer’s Bordeaux estates.

     

    Nicolas Glumineau of Pichon Lalande

    Nicolas Glumineau of Roederer (Photo: db)

    Glumineau, whose responsibilities stretch from Pauillac second growth Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande to St Estèphe cru bourgeois estates Château de Pez and Château Haut Beauséjour, told db that he considered last year’s harvest “a great vintage”.

    Continuing, he said that it was “a kind of miracle vintage”, due to the unusually fine weather from late August until mid-November, which followed a wet and cool June, July and early August.

    The unbroken dry and sunny conditions in the latter half of the year allowed Glumineau to oversee the longest harvest on record for Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, which lasted five weeks.

    As a result, he said that 2014 was a particularly good year for Cabernet Sauvignon.

    “Merlot needs a good summer, but Cabernet needs a very long Indian summer – the grape is a marathon runner – and my feeling is that this is a Cabernet year,” he said.

    Continuing, he said that 2014 was between 2001 and 2010 in style, adding, “but it is very close to 2010, 2014 has a very obvious tannic structure and a long ageing potential; it is balanced, with density and richness,” he said.

    Noting that alcohols are 13.2% for the Pauillac estate’s first and second wine, he further described the wines as “charming, fruity and creamy”, and “the kind of wine I’d love to make every year”.

    Clarifying his comparison with 2010, Glumineau said that the 2010 vintage was “outstanding”, and said that 2014 “was not at the same level, but we have something great.”

    In terms of pricing the 2014 vintage release, Glumineau told db that he would be waiting to see how the market reacts to prices from neighbouring cru classé estates before deciding the level for Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande.

    “I will take time to analyse the markets at the start of this year’s en primeur campaign… we need to take the time not to price too early,” he said, adding that the second growth property was not holding unsold stock.

    “We have no more 2012 or 2013 available,” he said, adding, “So I am sure we have made the effort to price the wines well with those last two years” – which were both released at €48 a bottle to the négociants.

    Nevertheless, he said that Bordeaux would need to “listen to the markets and react pragmatically”.

    Indeed, he said, “I think the en primeur system is a fantastic way to create a good relationship between the wineries, the merchants and the final customers, so we shouldn’t break the toy.”

    by Patrick Schmitt

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    Me

    Bordeaux Preview: Will the 2014 Vintage Be Worth Betting On?

    No one is calling 2014 a great, must-have "vintage of the century" as 2010, 2009, and 2005 were branded

    byElin McCoy

    Several thousand people from around the world are in Bordeaux this week for the annual spring rite of en primeur, roaming from the Medoc to Graves, from Pomerol to Saint-Emilion to get a first taste of the 2014 vintage. 

    The wines are still aging quietly in barrels as merchants assess which ones to offer their clients as futures, and journalists furiously scribble their tasting notes.

    Overall quality looks to be pretty good. The vintage story is a familiar one: a cool, damp summer with the grapes finally ripened by the “miracle” of September sun.

    No one is calling 2014 a great, must-have "vintage of the century," as they labeled 2010, 2009, and 2005. 

    Several thousand people from around the world are in Bordeaux this week for the annual spring rite of en primeur.

    Source: UGCB via Bloomberg

     

    A Buying Slump

    So the big question hovering, like a dark cloud above this week’s en primeur circus, is whether prices for the 2014s will be low enough to get buyers excited about plunking down cash for wines that won’t be bottled for two years.  No one will know for about a month. 

    The way-too-expensive wines from lackluster 2011, 2012, and 2013 have languished, unsold. Even wines from the great 2009 and 2010 vintages, like first growth Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, have dropped 30 percent to 45 percent from their futures prices. 

    Will chateau owners blow it once again?

    The big question hovering like a dark cloud above this week’s en primeur circus is whether prices for the 2014s will be low enough to get buyers excited.

    Two months ago, a dozen U.K. merchants, including Bordeaux Index and Berry Bros & Rudd, signed an open letter to chateau owners and negociants, urging a return to the same reasonable pricing as the fine 2008 vintage. 

    Good luck on that one.

    Thomas Duroux, chief executive officer of Chateau Palmer, pooh-poohed the idea, reminding me that the economic situation today is quite different from the financial meltdown in which the 2008 futures were offered.

    As Alexander van Beek, general manager of Chateau Giscours and Chateau du Tertre explained over dinner in New York a couple of weeks ago, “2014 isn’t homogeneous, so you can’t generalize about price. People with more long term vision should be rewarded.” 

    In Bordeaux-speak, that means my neighbors should reduce prices, not me. 

     

    The Parker Effect

    The euro is at its lowest point in more than 10 years, which could offer added incentive for U.S. wine lovers to buy futures—but only if the cost is low enough to start. 

    In the U.S., Clyde Beffa, owner of the Bay Area’s K & L Wine Merchants, a big seller of Bordeaux futures, said there’s little interest among his customers for the 2014s. Chris Adams, CEO of New York’s Sherry-Lehmann, e-mailed: “There is some buzz for the quality, but pricing needs to be like 2008. It’s that simple.” 

    This year, a complicating factor is that wine guru Robert Parker announced last month that he will no longer judge Bordeaux wines en primeur and is handing over responsibility to Neal Martin, a reviewer at his newsletter.

    Gary Boom of U.K.-based Bordeaux Index is persuaded that Parker's withdrawal will lead to lower prices.

    Shaun Bishop, CEO of online merchant JJ Buckley, also cautions that “without the most important voice to drive the wholesale chain and consumers to take the risk and provide the capital, the impact of Parker’s absence may be significant.” 

    In previous years, chateaux have mostly waited for Parker’s ratings before releasing their futures prices. A 95-point to 100-point score meant they could charge accordingly, which is what happened with the very expensive 2009s.  

     

    What to Do

    My advice? while you’re waiting to decide whether to take a plunge on the 2014s, right now is the time to splash out for wines from a great, investment-grade vintage that’s almost ready to drink: 2005. 

    Unlike the 2014 growing season, 2005 was perfection. When I tasted barrel samples years ago, I thought they were the best young wines I’d ever put in my mouth. 

    From recent tastings, I’m certain that  2005 is, so far, the best vintage of the 21st century. The wines are elegant, succulent, and concentrated. Even the less-expensive ones are excellent.

    Merchants are now restocking, and some wines cost less than they did five years ago. A warning, though: Prices are just beginning to go up. 

    They’ll climb even higher within the next few months, when Parker reassesses them in his promised 10-year retrospective. He has already said that he probably underrated them.

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  had a tasting of  3 Wines  from  1 Producers 

The vintage 1997 saw the birth of "Le Serre Nuove". Conceived as the first Italian "second wine" it was made in a concept which has been developed in Bordeaux already in the 20th century. Now Aelx Heinz, director of Ornellaia and Masseto, releases the vintage 2018. It is a wine with its own standing, unique interpretation of the Bolgheri terroir. In addition to the 2018 vintage, Axel Heinz was also showing the vintage 2013 and his first vintage at Ornellaia 2005. The tasting of these three wines illustrated in a marvellous manner the evolution of this growth.

3d 3h ago

Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  had a tasting of  1 Wines  from  1 Producers 

The first vintage of this special cuvée for the 25th anniversary was 1993 and this blend soon became an iconic wine for Umbria. It is made by Arnoldo Caprai, one of the leading Umbrian wine estates. Selected Sagrantino grapes and the maturation in small oak barrels over 24 months make a powerful wine with class.

8d 2h ago

Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  had a tasting of  1 Wines  from  1 Producers 

In 1997 Baroness Philippine de Rothschild and Don Eduardo Guilisasti Tagle signed a contract between the Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A. and Viña Concha y Toro to create Almaviva. 1997 was the first wine under this name and since then the estate has seen an impressing evolution. 2018 can be considered as one of the textbook vintages of this estate. Overall, the vintage was magnificent in Chile, one of the best of the decade, recognized for its exceptional quality, balance and complexity. The vintage was rainier than average with 300 mm in Puente Alto between May and October 2017, compared to the historical average of 281 mm. During the same winter period, the temperatures were lower than usual, resulting in bud break occurring a few days later than average. The temperatures increased significantly in November, reaching higher levels in December than in four previous years. The heat increased the growth and the vigour of the vines, initiating important precision work in the vineyard. The “veraison” started later than average on the 3rd week of January but was incredibly fast and homogeneous. Although the initial stages were hinting at a late harvest, picking started on March 26th for the Merlot and on April 2nd for the Cabernet Sauvignon, one week earlier than usual. Benefiting from the progressive decrease of temperature to maintain a great balance between freshness and ripeness, the grapes were picked over a long period of 9 weeks, until the last Carménère was brought in on May 24th. Vintage 2018 resulted in the perfect combination between a generous harvest and a tremendously high level of quality on all our Bordeaux varieties. However, Merlot was not entered into the blend, which consists of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Carmenère, 6% Cabernet Franc and 3% of Petit Verdot. The wine was aged over 18 months in barrels from new French oak.

15d 7h ago

Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  had a tasting of  1 Wines  from  1 Producers 

"Whilst still technically in a drought, we had a textbook growing season with a slightly higher rainfall than previous years,” says Hans Astrom, the general manager of Klein Constantia Estate. “It was characterised again by cold nights, warm days, wind and very little rainfall. This further aided the berry development and due to the dry conditions leading up to harvest, we had exceptionally healthy fruit." These conditions were helpful to give rebirth to one of the iconic wines of the 17th century. A rebirth based on historic information. This knowledge led to a style of Muscat de Frontignan involving numerous winemaking techniques in order to create the perfect sweet wine with exquisite balance. The goal is achieved by harvesting the grapes in numerous batches over a 2 month period. Each batch has a precise purpose and is meticulously blended on numerous occasions. After an extended fermentation period, the wine was aged for 3 years in a combination of 50% new oak and acacia barrels, as well as large format “foudres” before further blending and bottling.

17d 9h ago

Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  had a tasting of  2 Wines  from  1 Producers 

Klein Constantia is famous for its Vin de Constance. However it has also tremendously good Sauvignon Blancs to offer. Metis Sauvignon Blanc was inspired by Pascal Jolivet and his holistic approach to winemaking in Sancerre. Using a unique and minimalistic approach to winemaking, the team of Klein Constantia was able to make a wine that shows the true expression of the Constantia terroir. The name Metis refers to the collaboration between the two countries to produce this great wine. This fusion of philosophies is reflected in the flower on the label that is a hybrid of the South African Protea and French Iris. The second Sauvignon Blanc is Perdeblokke. Its name refers to the horses that tilled the soils of the steep vineyard located 200-220 metres above sea level on the slopes of the Constantiaberg, after which it was named. Since it was planted, the ‘Perdeblokke’ has yielded grapes of the highest quality giving us a distinctly unique Sauvignon Blanc, which prompted the decision to produce the first vintage of this ‘single vineyard’ wine in 2005. It is only made in years of exceptional quality.

24d 5h ago

Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  had a tasting of  2 Wines  from  1 Producers 

2018 has been a stable vintage all over Tuscany. The seasons were balanced and the weather conditions excellent. September was ideal, sunny and dry with cool and fresh nights. 2018 is a very promising vintage, surely one of the great vintages of Tuscany and excellent qualities with Bibi Graetz. Compared to the legendary 2016 vintage the quality is on a similar level, however the wines are stylistically slightly fresher, display great elegance, but are quite closed at the moment. 2018 proves to be a vintage with great potential for the future.

29d 7h ago

Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  had a tasting of  2 Wines  from  1 Producers 

Bérénice Lurton has a great reputation for producing some of the world's finest botrytised wines. She converted Château Climens, a Premier Cru Classé in Barsac, in a biodynamic property and has set new benchmarks in the Bordeaux universe. Her idea of producing a dry white wine, based on the Semillon grape, was realised with the vintage 2018. Pascal Jolivet, the famous wine producer from the Loire Valley, her consultant for the biodynamic conversion already, was teaming up with her for this new style of wine. The result is impressing and proves, that great dry wines can be produced in Barsac too.

1m 13d ago

Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  had a tasting of  1 Wines  from  1 Producers 

With the vintage 2014, Pierre Raoux of Château d'Arsac is introducing a new wine: ''Le Garage de Papa, Haut-Medoc 2014''. It is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, produced with only 5.000 bottles, elaborated by micro-vinification. 17% are vinified in new French oak. The maturation process takes 17 months, 80% in new French oak barrels and 20% in barrels used for a second time.

1m 15d ago

Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  had a tasting of  12 Wines  from  1 Producers 

This was a tasting of the new vintage 2019 of the Korrell wine estate.

2m 1d ago

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