Neal Martin’s Bordeaux 2014 bottle scores: meet the new boss, different to the old boss

2014 is the first Bordeaux vintage that Robert Parker hasn’t scored at all since 1977, and marks the true end of an era and changing of the guard. Neal Martin who now has the Bordeaux beat at The Wine Advocate released his bottle scores on Friday and gave all of us in the wine trade some light weekend reading ahead of the 2016 en primeur tastings this week (more on those soon).

No-one was expecting scores on par with vintages like the 2009 or 2010, but hopes were high for a good solid performance, perhaps better than 2012, although probably not quite 2008. So what did Martin make of his first vintage as the ne plus ultra of the Wine Advocate’s tasting team?

In his own words:
“2014 Bordeaux is a very good to excellent vintage, however it is not in the same realm as 2005, 2009 or 2010, nor does it boast the snow-capped peaks that you occasionally find with respect to 2015. Frankly, there was not a single moment where I came close to considering perfect scores, in fact, there were only a couple of occasions where I deemed any 2014 Bordeaux merited a score of 97.

The conclusion would be that 2014 is a vintage to start eyeing up now, because savvy buyers will find plenty of good quality wines that will begin to increase in value…2014 is a Bordeaux vintage with plenty of attractive wines.“

So, good, but not exceptional is his pronouncement, which is exactly what we, and the market, were expecting. The highest scores belong to Haut Brion Blanc and Trotanoy (97/100 points), and perhaps the only real surprise is that Vieux Chateau Certan, a wine that Neal Martin had highlighted as the probable star of the vintage, wasn’t alongside them, but it still walked away as one of the top scoring wines with 96/100. Scores on all of the wines that Vin-X clients held come within their expected range, including our most recommended wine of the 2014 vintage, Cheval Blanc with 96/100.