En Primeur 2014
We had the pleasure of making our annual trip to Bordeaux to try the 2014s last week and we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of many of the red wines. In our view, it is a very good vintage, certainly the best since 2010, and if priced correctly could be a vintage to buy now for future drinking.
However, if the wines are priced too highly by the chateaux, there will be no reason to buy them now as comparable vintages which are nearing their drinking windows (such as 2008 and 2006) are still available on the market. The 2014s must be priced below the current market values of these wines to show value. Alas, we won't know this until the wines are released so in the meantime, we thought we would give you a picture of the vintage to help you make your buying decisions when the time comes.
Overall quality of the vintage
Overall assessments on the quality level of a Bordeaux vintage are helpful in extreme vintages like 2005 or 2009 (which were great) or like 2013 (which was not very good at all except for the very top wines), but vintages like 2014 are harder to judge as a whole as the quality is less homogeneous. There were undoubtedly some very good wines (our favourite and best value wines are listed below) where the fruit, acid and tannin were all in balance and they will make for fantastic drinking in the medium to long term. However, there were also some wines which lacked ripeness and therefore had too much acid and tannin, making them harder to taste now and harder to enjoy in the future.
As a rough guide, the quality of the vintage as a whole is similar to 2001, 2006 and 2008 (which were better than 2002 or 2013 but not as good as the excellent 2005, 2009 and 2010).
We tend to describe vintage quality in terms of the red wines as the vast majority of Bordeaux we sell en primeur is red. However, it is worth noting that the dry whites in 2014 are excellent, combining lovely, ripe Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon fruit with mouth-watering acidity. We didn't try a bad wine.
The vintage for Sauternes was also successful. It has not hit the quality heights of the stupendous 2001 but it is a very good vintage which displays ripe, sweet fruit with balancing acidity and some botrytis in the best wines giving them a certain level of complexity only found in the better vintages.
Chateau Lynch Moussas, venue of the St Estephe and Pauillac tasting
Unusual weather conditions
2014 was a very trying vintage for the vigneron as it was cooler than usual in July and August, when it was meant to be warm, and warm in September and October, when it was meant to be cooler. This extended the ripening period and allowed for the grapes from the successful vineyards to ripen physiologically and phenolically, giving good potential alcohol levels, balanced yet refreshing acidity levels, mature tannins and ripe fruit flavours. These grapes have made some very good wines indeed. However, some vineyards failed to ripen the grapes enough to make a totally balanced wine and the acidity and tannins really stood out when we tasted them last week.
As a rule, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc fared better than Merlot as they benefited more from the extended growing season though as above, it is hard to make a general judgment as some Merlot-based wines were excellent.
The campaign has started already
The first wines are being released as we write this so please do let us know at your earliest convenience if there are any wines in which you are particularly interested so we can notify you immediately of its release. We expect the campaign to start properly in the next few weeks and carry through to May/June.
Why buy from us?
Two very good reasons. Firstly, we are better priced than all of the big, well known merchants. Secondly, we have allocations to give to you. We are growing quickly and as such, our allocations from Bordeaux grow as well. We are primarily wholesalers – dealing with the majority of the UK wine trade. As such, we don’t have a database of thousands of private customers. Therefore, we might well be able to offer you an allocation of the sought after wines – an allocation that you can then keep throughout the years. A fantastic opportunity that you won’t easily find with other fine wine traders.
Is it safe?
Apart from price and availability, this is the most important aspect in selecting your En Primeur merchant. Make sure you buy from a reputable company and do your homework. Ditton Wine Traders only buy from very well known, reputable Negociants. We sell to the majority of the trade in London, including En Primeur, and have never failed to deliver. We are middle sized, financially sound fine wine traders that have been trading since 2004. Ask for references, they will confirm that buying En Primeur from us is safe. And if you can rest assured that your order will be delivered to you, why pay more than necessary?
How to buy?
Please contact us to discuss your wish list. It helps us secure what you want and you will be the first we offer to. Otherwise, subscribe to our blog and email offers so we can help you to select and purchase. Or just go to the Full list of 2013 En Primeur wines.
We advise to have your wine professionally stored, in a bonded warehouse, unless you intend to drink them in the short term. There are various options. It is quite straightforward to open up your own account in a bonded warehouse. See here for some that we work with and can recommend. Rates do vary so shop around. Alternatively, we are happy to assist you with your own, personal account at London City Bond. We can offer trade rates which are basically half of what you would pay for a private account. Please get in touch if you would like to know more.
Our en primeur prices include delivery from France, insurance and all costs to receive the wine into our warehouse. They are under bond prices, excluding duty and VAT which will be payable only if wines are later taken out of bond. There are NO storage charges for en primeur wines, until they are physically received. We will charge delivery at cost should you wish to have your wine delivered to your own bonded account or home address. We will contact all our customers on arrival of wines in the UK to obtain storage or delivery instructions.
If you think you might buy during the campaign, do sign up for our email offers – it’s the best way to closely follow the campaign, spot the best deals and secure an allocation. Don’t forget to follow our blog and news. You can of course also phone us:
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