April News – focus on Bordeaux 2014

April 30th 2015, by

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Bordeaux 2014 – review of the vintage

April 29th 2015, by

2014 is a good to very good vintage, but not in the same league as 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2010 for the reds. Every vintage has its own unique character but, in terms of quality, the red wines of 2014 arguably rank alongside or just ahead of the second tier vintages of 2001, 2006, 2008 and 2012 (the latter having been underrated en primeur, but now showing well in bottle). The 2014s are superior, in general, to their counterparts of 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011 and, of course, 2013.

Lafite 24 Sept 2014 - 117 - Version 3

As for the dry whites, 2014 is a very good vintage – in fact, the dry whites of Bordeaux have been favoured by the weather in the last five years (discounting the hail in the Entre Deux Mers in 2013). For the late picked sweet whites, it’s another excellent vintage to add to the stocks of the lovely 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Overall then, 2014 could certainly be considered ’the best of the rest’.

The ’miracle’ vintage?

2014 has been widely quoted as a ’miracle’ vintage. This is because the outlook was quite gloomy after a damp and cool summer, but we then had six weeks of lovely sunshine from the last week of August to the first week of October. The red harvest began towards the end of September, with just about everyone picking in early October. The week ending the 10th October – when many Left Bank estates wrapped up – was overcast and at times rainy, so I don’t really go with the notion of a perfect Indian summer all the way through. However, there was no pressure of any rot, unlike at the end of the three previous harvests.

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For more on the weather, see my detailed report.

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Bordeaux 2014 – Scores and when to drink them

April 29th 2015, by

I tasted over 600 wines over 12 days in late March and early April, including the 250 ‘most searched for’ Bordeaux wines on wine-searcher.com. Here are my scores for 100 red wines that merited at least 90 out of 100, and that are likely to be of interest to UK en primeur buyers; they are listed by appellation.

*With prices starting to come out, I’ve noted the average list price for the 2012 in bottle as a comparison, as quoted by Liv-ex. The price is per case of 12, in bond (excl  duty and VAT).

Added to which, a few of my favourite dry whites and sweet white wines from 2014.

You can download my Excel sheet of 500 wines that rate at least 85 points in my book. (The number on the left is a trade ID number that’s used by Liv-ex.)

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Should you buy en primeur – or in bottle?

April 27th 2015, by

Brane Cantenac - 176 - Version 3There’s been little incentive for consumers to buy Bordeaux en primeur in recent years, so can the chateaux turn that around with some ultra tasty prices? For the first time in four years, there’s genuine enthusiasm amongst the wine trade to get behind the 2014 en primeur campaign. “The market, though, is tepid” says James Miles, MD of Liv-ex.

There was a positive reaction to the wines at the annual Spring tastings here in Bordeaux just before Easter but, as most collectors know, there’s been no advantage in buying recent vintages while the wines were still in barrel. The 2011s, 2012s and 2013s failed to ignite much interest en primeur, so consumers are going to need some convincing; it’s now in the hands of the leading chateaux as they set their opening prices a year or so before the wines are bottled. For UK buyers, the exchange rate will help too.

Robert Parker, the world’s most influential critic, is no longer reviewing Bordeaux from barrel, but only in bottle, and this may affect the way people buy Bordeaux. However, if consumers don’t buy Bordeaux during the en primeur season, will they ever get around to buying once the wines are bottled? The golden goose could be in mortal danger.

There are umpteen 2014s that will be really enjoyable to drink. The question is, which should you buy, at what price, and when?

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2012 reds are better than we thought

April 27th 2015, by

At the end of April, Robert Parker publishes his review of the 2012 vintage ‘in bottle’. Having tasted a lot of the top reds in bottle, I’m confident that he’ll be pretty enthusiastic about this underrated vintage, which many people dumped into a ‘so-so’ run of 2011, 2012 and 2013. And the great thing is, you can take delivery now and drink them young.

Moueix 2012 - 03 - Version 2

Here are just over 100 wines that I score 90 or more from bottle, listed by appellation, and some dry whites from Pessac-Léognan. Prices are ‘in bond’ (exc duty and VAT). I haven’t had a chance yet to taste the famous Pomerols Vieux Chateau Certan, Le Pin or Lafleur (if they’ll let me) and several St-Emilions including Pavie and Angelus. I have no doubt that the last two will meet with Parker’s approval.

The ‘best to drink’ windows are not a joke. The tannins on many of the wines are so soft that you can drink many of them over the next few years with a great deal of pleasure.

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March news – Primeurs week in Bordeaux

March 31st 2015, by

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Bordeaux 2014 – the weather report

March 25th 2015, by

This report has also been published on JancisRobinson.com and Liv-ex.

Cos d'Estournel - 151 - Version 3As the wine trade and critics descend on Bordeaux to taste the 2014s, I thought it would be useful to review how the weather affected the vintage.

For more on the 2014 Bordeaux harvest as it happened, see The start of the flowering, Hoping for September sun, The red harvest begins and Guarded optimism as harvest ends.

As well as living with the weather day-to-day in a professional sense (which isn’t recommended), I’ve collected and compiled a fair amount of data. As a result, my report contains rather too much information for an online article, so I’ve created a pdf document that should be easy to view on a laptop, desktop, iPad or mobile with a large screen. Just two of the 16 graphs in the report are included below but for the full report download this document: Gavin_Quinney_Bordeaux_2014_Weather.

Here are 10 points about the weather in 2014:

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UK Wine duty frozen

March 20th 2015, by

’Frozen’ is a more dramatic way of saying that there was no further increase on wine duty in the Chancellor’s final Budget before the Election. There was a little drop for spirits, cider and beer. It’s the first time in many years that there’s been no rise, so we should be grateful for small mercies.

The chart also tracks the exchange rate between Sterling and the weakening Euro. So, with wine duty as it was and the pound strengthening, some good news for UK wine buyers.

 

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How the UK pays 67% of all wine duty in the EU

February 25th 2015, by

We welcome the ’Drop the Duty’ campaign ahead of the 2015 Budget on 18 March. Tax on wine in the UK has gone up by 57% since 2008 but what makes wine duty so unfair is the amount you pay in Britain compared to the continent. Drop doesn’t mean ditch, in this instance, just ’reduce by 2% please, George’.

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Source: ec.europa.eu, with current exchange rates. Malta has €1.77 wine duty.

With Britain having the second highest duty rate in Europe it’s little wonder, when you look at my duty map, that Britain pays two thirds of all wine duties levied across Europe, according to the The Wine and Spirit Trade Association, or WSTA. After all, there are 60 million people in the UK, compared to less than 24 million in Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Denmark combined.

A small but significant step

The WSTA is pressing for a small reduction of 2% off the fixed duty on wine, which is currently £2.05 plus VAT for still wine and £2.63 plus VAT for sparkling. The campaign invites consumers and the trade to write to their MP with an automatically generated letter, and signing up is easy.

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Our line-up of new vintage Bauduc wines, Spring 2015

February 24th 2015, by

There’ll be no shortage of hype about Bordeaux 2014 – ‘an Indian summer of historic proportions’ and all that. Whilst we won’t be offering our 2014 red en primeur, our two whites and our rosé have just been bottled and are ready to go. Here’s a run-down of the new wines on offer this Spring, including a new red and our Sauternes from the 2011 vintage. (2011? Blimey, time flies). You can order them here for delivery in the UK, or here for collection from Calais.

004269-BAUDUC-bb2014Château Bauduc Sauvignon Blanc 2014

2014 has turned out to be a very good vintage, with good weather for the flowering in June, a fairly cool summer and then a lovely September both before and during the harvest. We made this crisp, dry white from the blocks of Sauvignon Blanc that surround the chateau. An upmarket house wine that is grassy, zingy, refreshing and versatile, and bottled with a Stelvin+ screwcap.

The 2014 has just been selected by Restaurant Gordon Ramsay once again as the house white at his eponymous three Michelin star establishment in London, and we’ll soon be going to see Rick Stein for the annual, slightly nervy ’man from Del Monte’ moment. (Gordon leaves it to his head sommeliers and wine buyer, in truth, but Rick still likes to keep his oar in at The Seafood in Padstow.)

Here are some pictures of the Sauvignon harvest. You can order the wine direct from us for UK delivery.

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