2014 was a miraculous year. After a cold summer marked by bad weather, the Bordeaux region, like a large part of France, enjoyed an exceptional Indian summer from the end of August through to early November. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, the last variety to ripen (with Petit Verdot) achieved superb levels of maturity. Some were harvested in early November - which is normally unheard of! .
The Left Bank and its northern appellations predominantly growing Cabernet Sauvignon, like Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe, have seen some stupendous successes. What's more, after tasting the bottled wines, compared to en primeur, some critics revised their scores upwards.
In Graves both whites and reds have been successful. Pessac whites combine maturity with high levels of acidity. This is a guarantee that they will age exquisitely. Results from the Right Bank are more mixed. Merlot, an early variety, had to be harvested sooner and did not benefit from the same slow ripening as Cabernet Sauvignon. Producers who extracted discerningly and went for lighter woody notes have produced some successful wines with a rounded, drinkable and fruity style. Producers who went for more texture have sometimes ended up with bitter and harsh wines. Château relying increasingly on Cabernet Franc in Saint-Emilion and Pomerol have had some great successes.
The wines from Sauternes and Barsac are superb. Slightly less syrupy than usual, the 2014s stand out for their balance and freshness.