The Union des Grands Cru des Bordeaux is a French organization established in 1973 to promote and introduce the Cru wines of Bordeaux. These are the top-tier of the wine hierarchy of the 10,000 Chateau in the 57 appellations of the Bordeaux wine region. Every January they travel to the United States to various cities conducting tastings for the trade and consumer showcasing the current vintage that’s being released. This year that would be the 2014 vintage. While the wines are still young at this stage, it’s a great opportunity to taste how the that particular vintage was.
In New York City they hold their trade and consumer tastings on the third Monday in January. The last year I was able to attend was in 2014 and I would not have been able to attend the event this year. Fortunately for me this year, for the first time they held a tasting on Sunday afternoon, January 22 in Philadelphia. I did not want to miss this opportunity so it was time for a road trip to Philadelphia to visit historical sites such as the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall, eat a cheesesteak for lunch then spend the rest of the afternoon with some good Bordeaux. The tasting was held at The Rittenhouse hotel located at 210 West Rittenhouse Square.
I didn’t do research on the 2014 to influence my tasting. No one would have confused this tasting with a tasting of Napa Valley Cabernet. After trying most of the wines, I would have guessed that 2014 was a very cool and wet vintage for Bordeaux. In general the wines had pretty aromas but tight fruit with sour cherry notes, crisp acids and mouth coating tannins. I know the wines are way too young now and would love to sample in ten years but they are hard as nails now.
Chateau La Cabanne: Medium red with a brick rim, sweet red candy and cooked asparagus on the nose, tight and dusty, finish drops.
Chateau Clinet: Dark red, perfume of sweet fruit and fresh herbs, crisp acid, finish drops a bit.
Chateau Gazin: Dark red, sweet fruit with barnyard notes on the nose, silky, moderate fruit, moderate finish.
Chateau Clerc Milon: Dark red with a purple rim, pretty perfume of violets, tight with oak notes on the fruit with firm tannins and acids at the end.
Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste: Dark red, turpentine on the nose, tight.
Chateau Lynch-Bages: Black red, purple rim, crushed black fruit on the nose, tight, firm finish, some heat at the end.
Chateau D’Armailhac: Dark red to black, warm fresh herbs on the nose, silky red cherry fruit, nice balance. One of my favorites of the night.
Chateau Cantenac Brown: Dark red, crushed dark fruit on the nose, tight and tart.
Chateau Desmirail: Dark red with a sweet perfume with notes of tree bark, tight, tannin with citrus acids.
Chateau Beychevelle: Dark red with a perfume of sandalwood, tight, with oak notes on the silky fruit, smooth tannins on the moderate finish.
Chateau Gruaud Larose: Medium red, smoky dark fruit on the nose with oak notes on the fruit.
Chateau Talbot: Black in color, crushed black fruit and mint on the nose, nice balance.
Chateau Leoville Poyferre: Dark red to black, nice perfume of violets, silky red cherry fruit followed by a mouthful of tannin.
Chateau Gloria: Dark red to black, toasted notes on the nose, tight, concentrated fruit.
Chateau Phelan Segur: Dark purple, burnt wood notes on the nose, tight, tart.
Chateau Cos Lobory: Dark purple, dusty, crushed black fruit on the nose, dusty, oak notes on the fruit and finish.
Clos Fourtet: Dark red to black with a purple rim, closed nose of tree bark, red cherry fruit, moderate finish, crisp acids.
Chateau Canon La Gaffellier: Dark red, perfume of violets and Asian spices, silky toasty fruit, moderate to long finish.
Chateau Canon: Dark red, purple rim, closed nose, tight, moderate fruit, balanced finish.
Chateau Haut-Bailly: Medium red, tar and pencil shavings on the nose, tar notes on the tight fruit.
Chateau Malartic: Black with a purple rim, smoky cooked vegetables on the nose.
Chateau Pape Clement: Dark red to black, perfume of sweet fruit with concentrated red fruit, moderate finish.
Chateau Olivier: Dark red with red melon and tea notes on the nose, red cherry and earth on the moderate finish.
Chateau Coufran: Dark red, closed nose, sour cherry fruit, tannic.
Chateau La Lagune: Dark red, red cherry, pencil shavings on the nose, tart red cherry fruit, mouth coating tannin.
Chateau Cantemerle: Dark red, purple rim, chocolate on the nose, tight fruit, big tannins on the finish.
Chateau de Camensac: Dark purple, sweet perfume of cigar box, moderate fruit, nice grip.
Chateau Clarke: Dark red to black, barnyard notes on the nose, dense, silky fruit, nice grip at the end finishing with mouth coating tannin.