What to drink this week

Bordeaux 2014: the Left Bank

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

This vin­tage is look­ing bet­ter and bet­ter value, be­lieves Harry Eyres

There’s a lot of buzz about the 2016 vin­tage in Bordeaux at the mo­ment. The as­sem­bled corps of lead­ing Bri­tish wine mer­chants and a se­lect band of scribes—not the eas­i­est bunch to im­press—re­turned from Bordeaux in mid April full of en­thu­si­asm for a year in which the grow­ing sea­son started mis­er­ably. It was saved by a great, hot late sum­mer and the main prob­lems grow­ers en­coun­tered were associated with drought. Many are rat­ing 2016 more highly than 2015 and these will cer­tainly be wines to con­sider for your cel­lar in due course, but, in the mean­time, I want to re­turn to a less-hyped vin­tage that can of­fer some real bargains for rel­a­tively early drink­ing.

Why you should be drink­ing them

A good to very good vin­tage fol­lowed by two very good to great ones, 2014 is look­ing bet­ter and bet­ter value. The guess is that 2016s in the classic Bordeaux mould will shortly go into their shells; 2014s are al­ready ap­proach­able. I re­cently shared some Right Bank (mainly Mer­lot) picks, but now’s the turn of the Caber­net-dom­i­nated Left Bank.

What to drink

Saint-es­tèphe, in the north­ern part of the Mé­doc, did es­pe­cially well in 2014 be­cause it avoided most of the Septem­ber rains—the wines have real con­cen­tra­tion. A great pick is Château Cap­bern 2014 (£132 per dozen in bond; www. lay­wheeler.com), which has deep colour and a big, earthy char­ac­ter —very typ­i­cal of the area. More el­e­gant and fra­grant, as you’d ex­pect from a Mar­gaux, is La Réserve d’an­gludet 2014 (right, £20.95; www.fromvine­yards­di­rect.com) and at a higher level is the dense, suave and mag­nif­i­cent Château Calon­ségur 2014 (£380 per six in bond; www.frw.co.uk).

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