Cru bourgeois 2014 - Decanter Panel Tasting - part I

An Indian summer saved this vintage which, favouring the Left Bank, means many of the 278 chateau included in the selection offer real value, says Jane Anson in the April Issue of Decanter magazine. Find 12 cru bourgeois scoring above 90 points this weekend. 11 are available in China.

Wines

Château Plantier Rose, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France 2014 Château Plantier Rose, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France 2014

Château Plantier Rose, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France 2014

90

Highly recommended

Sexy mocha oak on top of a distinct earthiness. There is a quiet confidence in the placing of the fruit and although it is going to take quite some time to open, the tannins here are pliant and flexible, making it long-lasting.

Château Pierre de Montignac, Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014 Château Pierre de Montignac, Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

Château Pierre de Montignac, Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

90

Highly recommended

Pretty red berries on a slightly confected nose, but there is a focus and a sense of tension and drama from the gentle black spices. This is still young but astringent rather than drying, and will soften due to the fruit content.

Château Peyrat-Fourthon, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014 Château Peyrat-Fourthon, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

Château Peyrat-Fourthon, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

90

Highly recommended

A very well crafted Haut-Médoc here with all the classicism you could wish for. Soft tobacco and plant expressions with a touch of well handled chocolate oak. The tannin bouncers are guarding the door until this wine opens out in years to come.

Château Labadie, Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014 Château Labadie, Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

Château Labadie, Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

90

Highly recommended

Reticent on the nose but with depth and precision on the palate. It is a gourmet expression of the Médoc. The oak is present but doesn’t get in the way of fruit, rich chocolate and damson quality.

Château de Gironville, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014 Château de Gironville, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

Château de Gironville, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

90

Highly recommended

Fresh and breezy on the nose, there is a well worked, glossy sheen to the fruit here, with cassis and wet stone characters. There is not an overload of oak or green tones, so it is classy with a lot left to give.

Château de Braude, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014 Château de Braude, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

Château de Braude, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

90

Highly recommended

Here there is lovely sweetness and a sense of juiciness and lift through the palate, you really can see that this wine has a sense of movement. The cool-but-not-green notes which characterise the best wines of the vintage really come through.

Château Charmail, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014 Château Charmail, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

Château Charmail, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

90

Highly recommended

Firm long tannins characterise this sweet, perfumed wine that has plenty of chocolatey depths. It is part of a rich, complex world that is both generous and elegant. A gratifying Haut Médoc from what is often a difficult vintage.

Château Caroline, Moulis-en-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014 Château Caroline, Moulis-en-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

Château Caroline, Moulis-en-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

90

Highly recommended

There is a lovely grilled rosemary depth to the fruit here, with an earthy backdrop. The tannins are insisting and have a pliable astringency to them. Very true to the appellation ideal, and a wine you can happily put away for a while in the cellar.

Château Fontesteau, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014 Château Fontesteau, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

Château Fontesteau, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

92

Highly recommended

Roasty, ripe and warm, this wine is exuberant with enticing scents of great classicism. A core of blackcurrant fruit is supported by a polished oak veneer, even some menthol touches. It has the feel of a seriously good Bordeaux, and will open up beautifully with food.

Château du Retout, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014 Château du Retout, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

Château du Retout, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014

92

Highly recommended

A little reductive at first, but give it some air and a whoosh of clean blackberry fruit rides in on a bed of spicy and exotic apparent oak. No green notes at all, and ample depth and richness. The fruit density will carry the oak through.

Château Mongravey, Margaux, Bordeaux, France 2014 Château Mongravey, Margaux, Bordeaux, France 2014

Château Mongravey, Margaux, Bordeaux, France 2014

95

Outstanding

A delicate, perfumed nose starts this off, leading to a fresh and lithe palate full of attractive fruit and tiny, firm tannins. Nothing is done to excess, resulting in a decent wine with evident Margaux character.

Château Le Crock, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France 2014 Château Le Crock, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France 2014

Château Le Crock, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France 2014

95

Outstanding

We have a profound structure to this wine, a real depth of fruit. It is not drying on the finish, even if the tannins are present and insisting they are not shutting out the fruit. Liquorice, bitter chocolate, damson and coffee come forth. It's going to take some time but there is a lot of promising substance in this wine.