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Bordeaux 2014 : First impressions by a wine expert

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Text: Brinda Bourhis

The harvests not only concern the wine producers and their pickers. The role of the external consultant who has been following the evolution of the vine cycle all the way until the end of the winemaking process is an important one and his/her views give us a better understanding of the vintage.

Patrice Hateau runs a company called Synergie Vin based in Bordeaux and offers expert advice to wine estates for their technical needs in the vines and cellars. He also specializes in audits and management consulting during transactions of châteaux. Previously, he worked several years for Vignobles Bernard Magrez, and was the winemaker behind the much acclaimed 100 points by Robert Parker for Château Pape Clément Red 2010 and White 2009!

Patrice shares his first impressions on the 2014 vintage in Bordeaux where grapes from the Right Bank and parts of the Left Bank have now made their way into the vat room.

“2014 can be described in many ways:

A vintage that required patience

A vintage where basic and systematic viticultural practices was not possible

A vintage with a ‘never-ending’ cycle

A vintage when it was only in September that hydric stress started to set in

A vintage that will most probably be great for the Cabernet Sauvignon

A vintage that should be a good one for Bordeaux especially for the producers who applied serious vineyard management throughout the year

A vintage that brought some disease due to the unstable summer and very localized storms on the right bank

Thanks to the late summer that has settled in the region since early September the grapes have ripened well and the volumes will be higher this year.

The Merlot ripened slowly and the high acidity during veraison has now reached acceptable levels and there is a nice aromatic potential.

For the Cabernet Franc, although they should be good, the leaves and branches dried out due to the warm weather in September.

As for the Cabernets Sauvignon, they show smooth tannic structure with excellent potential.

My first impression is that we should have some nice wines, with freshness and complex aromas, concentration with better structure on the Left Bank than the Right Bank.”