The 2014 vintage in Bordeaux combined very good prices with high quality, especially among the leading estates. In this sense, it is reminiscent to the 2008 vintage, which also saw this positive relationship between price and quality. Next year Neal Martin will revisit the vintage, tasting the wines again from bottle and publishing his new scores. This event historically drives demand for the leading wines, with collectors and speculators eager to secure cases as they become physical. Moreover, re-pricing is a market event that often creates staggering price rises, as prices adjust to a new score. Neal Martin taking over from Robert Parker’s long tradition of scoring wines en primeur within a range, such as 93-96 points, providing an indication, or guide for a final score. In anticipation for strong demand in Spring, we will now revisit some of the finest examples and the wines most likely to benefit from Martin’s bottle scores.
In 2014 the red wines of the vintage were Chateau Latour (not released), Cheval Blanc, La Mission Haut Brion, Vieux Chateau Certan and Chateau Montrose. Of these, the three that stand out today are Montrose, La Mission Haut Brion and Vieux Chateau Certan (VCC), offering the best value. However, since release most of the best scoring red wines of the vintage have seen a 40% price increase, including VCC, while Montrose and La Mission Haut Brion have not yet adjusted, only increasing 18% and 17% respectively.
|2014||Score||Release £/6||Current £/6||% increase|
|La Mission Haut Brion||95-97||£750||£875||17%|
|Leoville Las Cases||94-96||£445||£600||35%|
|Vieux Chateau Certan||95-97||£495||£700||41%|
|Clarence de Haut Brion||89-91||£265||£375||42%|
When Montrose 2014 released in early June last year we posited that the Chateau were repositioning their price, which was further confirmed by their price for the lesser scoring 2015, which was awarded 93-95 points, released for £570 per case of six bottles. Moreover, since then, the 95+ scoring 2000 has risen to £690 per case of six, the 99 scoring 2003 £800, the 95 scoring 2005 £525, while the 2009 and 2010 now trade at £1,095 and £1,040 respectively. All this now adds up to the fact that the 2014 now looks like a very strong proposition, having only risen in line with FX changes since release. Neal Martin gave it a point range of 95-97. Of the 2014 Martin stated, ‘Dare I say, this is one grand vin that comes perilously close to matching the heights of the 2009 and 2010. This is a brilliant Montrose, one of the best you will find on the Left Bank this vintage.’ This note clearly nails his colours to the mast, ‘perilously close’ to the 2009 and 2010 would suggest a 97-point score from bottle and an immediate price correction bringing it inline with 2010 and 2000.
Since we released the 2014 vintage, the last ten vintages of Montrose have risen 25% in value. The 2014 vintage has not moved in lock-step with the other leading wines of 2014 and now is undervalued against equivalent vintages of Montrose. A score of 97 points, will force the price upwards aggressively and even 96 points would leave it looking undervalued. Add this to increased demand over the coming months in speculation of the bottle scores and increased buying from Asia as it will soon be physical, then Montrose 2014 looks like a strong buy indeed: what a difference a year makes. We have tasted it on several occasions and this is one of the best Montrose vintages in decades, surpassing the 2005 and 2015. Today’s offer allows you to secure Montrose 2014 for £83 per bottle, this will look inexpensive in five years and it is a wise move to stock up now.
Chateau Montrose 2014, 12×75, £1,000 IB or 6×75, £500 IB - 95 – 97 Pts, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The Château Montrose 2014 is a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot that represents 47% of the total production. It was picked from mid-September via five or six tries through the vineyard. The aromatics represent a clear step in quality from the second wine, attired with far more precision and focus, much more purity with scents of blackberry, boysenberry and blue fruit, now with touches of violet and vanilla. It is beautifully defined and actually, at least at this juncture, closely aligned with Cos d’Estournel 2014. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin that underpin layers of pure mineral-rich black fruit. There is an enthralling sense of energy and precision here and it fans out remarkably on the finish. Dare I say, this is one grand vin that comes perilously close to matching the heights of the 2009 and 2010. This is a brilliant Montrose, one of the best you will find on the Left Bank this vintage. Tasted on five separate occasions, twice at the château.