Margaux is the bellwether appellation of Bordeaux. When Margaux has a good vintage, Bordeaux follows suit. When it does not, like from 2011–13, Bordeaux suffers.
But this year, Bordeaux is in luck. The 2014 Margaux wines are good, and in some cases, very good.
“It is very good, almost great,” said Paul Pontallier, director of Château Margaux of the 2014 vintage. “The wine does have concentration and freshness that are a perfect combination in Bordeaux.”
After tasting barrel samples from Margaux and its neighboring appellations, Moulis-en-Médoc and Listrac-Médoc, I agree that 2014 is a good vintage, showing style and balance.
The tasting opportunity was organized by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, a group of 133 chateaus.
“Margaux has an elegance, charm and perfumed delicacy that lingers on the palate,” said John Kolasa, managing director of second-growth Château Rauzan-Ségla in Margaux.
This year’s crop produced a range of wines. Some, like Château Prieuré-Lichine, are powerful, while others, like Château Siran, are delicate. But as a whole, 2014 epitomizes elegance with an impressive 90% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend.
“It has put smiles on our faces,” said Jean-Marie Garde of Clos René in Pomerol.
Dr. George Derbalian, president of Atherton Wine Importers in Menlo Park, California, who has attended en primeur since the 1980s, admits he’s in a buying frame of mind, but with a caveat.
“I like the wines, but it will all depend on the price,” he said. “The Bordelais can’t go crazy or they will lose us. They have lost the speculative futures market already. I’m here to buy to drink, and that’s what my customers want.”
If customers want rich, round Cabernet Sauvignon, he’s right to hit the Médoc, where the grape shows it’s true, powerful colors.
Here are my top-scoring 2014 red wines from the Southern Médoc. Click through for links to full tasting notes, ratings and reviews. Keep in mind barrel tastings are scored in a three-point range. When released in 2016, the wines are will be tasted again and given for a final score.
Top 10 Southern Médoc Wines
95–97 Château Margaux 2014 Barrel Sample (Margaux).
95–97 Château Palmer 2014 Barrel Sample (Margaux).
94–96 Château Giscours 2014 Barrel Sample (Margaux).
93–95 Château d’Issan 2014 Barrel Sample (Margaux).
93–95 Château du Tertre 2014 Barrel Sample (Margaux).
93–95 Château Durfort-Vivens 2014 Barrel Sample (Margaux).
93–95 Château Kirwan 2014 Barrel Sample (Margaux).
93–95 Château Prieuré-Lichine 2014 Barrel Sample (Margaux).
93–95 Château Rauzan-Gassies 2014 Barrel Sample (Margaux).
93–95 Château Rauzan-Ségla 2014 Barrel Sample (Margaux).