Pauillac 2014 in Napa 2019

Last week I had the pleasure to taste a broad range of 2014 vintage wines from across the Bordeaux landscape while instructing at the Masters of Wine Residential Course in Napa. The theme - as I mentally noted it - was Bordeaux 2014 in Napa 2019.

I wrote up these notes for the Masters of Wine membership and sponsorship and thought I’d share them here, too. Cheers!

Château Batailley 2014
The powerful nose and full-on, classic Bordeaux character of cedar and sloe fall quickly onto the richly flavored and generously ample palate. Black currants and licorice develop there and segue into an initially vinous palate that quickly turns drying. The last impressions - especially as the wine evolves with air contact - show an impressively integrated wine, with a vigorous regard to judicious new oak use. The pedigreed concentration suggests this wine has a long life ahead. 

Château Croizet-Bages 2014
An expressive and open nose of forest berries and fresh cedar fronds moves into the same flavor characters on the generously fruited and supple mid-palate. The refined tannins are smartly balanced by buoyant acidity. Lightly spicy and tobacco-y tones suggest well-integrated, new French oak, and they lace like a bended river through the well-balanced palate. The perfume carries into the medium, flavorful and graceful finish. Very approachable now, this will hold easily for several more years. This is a gently-priced wine, too! 

Château Lynch-Bages 2014
Markedly dark in appearance, this wine has a concentrated, terroir-driven nose. Showing predominant aromas of slate, flint and graphite, this wine’s palate turns to focus on richly ripe, black fruit character. The spice box tones display an impressive use of noble, new French oak character as do the grippy, dry tannins on the medium finish. There’s lots of potential here, and while the wine needs time, those preferring heartier styles would relish it now.

Château Lynch-Moussas 2014
This soft and supple wine replete with ripe and forward black fruits is hard not to enjoy. Its vigorously plummy edge is nicely balanced by savory tones of cigar box and spice. It appeals with drinkability now, thanks to its vitality-giving freshness and even-keeled tannins. This red’s lingering finish suggests it should evolve nicely in the mid-term, too. Given what Pauillac wines can go for today, this bottling offers fantastic value.

Château Pichon-Longueville Baron 2014
What an exotic concentration of complex aromas! This is big on every scale, from flavor to structure to finish. The palate is rather marked by a toasty, mocha-driven tone. This follows onto the palate, which showcases the decadent exuberance of freshly microplaned spices. The new oak dominates not only the aromas now but also the mouthfeel. The tannins are strong in presence, if polished in style. Vivacious acidity gives the wine lift and carries the full body with slightly noticeable alcohol into a long-lasting finish. 

Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2014
This is the epitome of Pauillac in this vintage! Its finessed and fragrant aromas are balanced by an effortless structure that gives way to the perfume and flavors once again. Their long lengths nod to this wine’s long life ahead. The concentrated and dense palate is layered with spice from judiciously-managed new, French oak aging and generous extract. Black currant and fennel punctuate the solid finish. Impressively, the result is neither heavy nor overpowering. The suave tannins and bright, refreshing acidity give vibrancy and drinkability along with age-ability.

Château Pontet-Canet 2014
This wine offers an extravagantly deep, dark and brooding core of color. Following on, it unsurprisingly (especially with reference to the other wines) is deeply raisinated and figgy in its concentrated fruit character. There is considerable extract that is mildly moderated by the rounded, fine-grained tannins and middling acidity. The mouthfeel almost sticks to the palate as it extends into a lingering finish. Feeling forced and heavy-handed now, this wine needs more time to – hopefully – reveal some structural definition. Definitely one to keep tabs on if it’s in your cellar.