Haut-Mé­doc 2010 & 2014

88 wines tasted Two well-rated vin­tages liv­ing up to their billing – and per­fectly suited for your Christ­mas lunch

Decanter - - NEWS -

O n the face of things, this tast­ing might look a little un­fair, pit­ting the 2010 vin­tage in Bordeaux against the 2014. One year with all the ac­claim, the other fre­quently over­shad­owed.

2010 was with­out ques­tion an ex­cep­tion­ally strong year (given a Decanter 5/5 rat­ing on both Left Bank and Right), with lots of sun­shine but cool nights en­sur­ing plenty of thick skins, in­tense con­cen­trated flavours and big, bold tan­nins. All of this should per­fectly suit the Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon-dom­i­nated HautMé­docs, as the long har­vest win­dow meant ex­cel­lent ripen­ing. At eight years old, these wines should be in the ab­so­lute sweet spot.

2014 was also a strong vin­tage in some ar­eas, and luck­ily the Haut-Mé­doc was one that most ben­e­fited from the beau­ti­ful In­dian sum­mer – af­ter a July and Au­gust that gave wine­mak­ers sleep­less nights. The south­ern Mé­doc was not quite as lucky as the northern sec­tor, be­cause it was up be­yond Mar­gaux where rain­fall was par­tic­u­larly low dur­ing har­vest, but a long ripen­ing pe­riod will al­ways suit Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, and a late har­vest where pick­ing takes place in Oc­to­ber will al­most in­vari­ably mean rea­son­able al­co­hols and bal­anced acidi­ties – a good thing, as long as there is enough fruit to but­tress the whole ex­pe­ri­ence.

Per­fect tim­ing

We should ex­pect to find all these wines rel­a­tively young, with tight black fruit flavours and tan­nins still hold­ing the fruit con­fi­dently in place, although Haut-Mé­docs tra­di­tion­ally will not take as long to be ready to open as the vil­lage ap­pel­la­tions. The four years’ dif­fer­ence could mean that many of the wines – the con­cen­trated 2010s as well as the slightly lighter 2014s – are be­gin­ning to open up and get­ting ready to be en­joyed.

In this tast­ing we had the Haut-Mé­doc 1855 clas­si­fied wines of Bel­grave, Ca­men­sac, La La­gune and La Tour Car­net, along­side much-loved names such as Cam­bon La Pelouse and Caronne Ste Gemme, so plenty to look for­ward to. Panel tast­ings at this stage are re­ally im­por­tant, as this mo­ment of age­ing is when corks are start­ing to be pulled.

Lin­ing up such a good num­ber of wines means the ex­cep­tional ones re­ally do stand out, and it’s par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing to see who did well across both vin­tages. In many cases, the 2010 bot­tles were con­sid­er­ably more ex­pen­sive, although at the cru bour­geois and gen­eral Haut-Mé­doc level, this cer­tainly isn’t al­ways the case. Would the price make a dif­fer­ence? And would the 2010s wipe the floor with their 2014 coun­ter­parts?...

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