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Drinks 10 Amazing French Wines

10 Amazing French Wines

10 Amazing French Wines
By James Suckling
May 18, 2018
In a year when James Suckling and his team tasted close to 4,000 wines across France, the 2014 Bordeaux vintage stood out and accounted for the majority of his Top 100 French Wines of 2017. Here are his pick of the crop

Château Lafleur Pomerol Bordeaux 2014

This is fantastic on the nose. Exuberant aromas of lavender, tobacco, cigar box, violet and sliced plum. Medium to full body. It builds on the palate and goes on forever. Speechless. Such finesse and beauty. Just a hint of spices. What a glorious, hyper-classic wine. Coup de foudre! 100 points

Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal 2008

Disgorged in October 2016, this will be the first Cristal to be released 10 years from harvest when it is offered in 2018. So fresh and tense and minerally with extremely exuberant chardonnay notes on the nose of white peach, lemon and yellow grapefruit, and hints of almost brambly aromas. The yeast character is also super fresh, and there are subtle woody notes, with a hint of vanilla bean and light spices. The palate is super long, and very pure, powerful and focused. Pinot noir is a strong core and the chardonnay sits at the edge offering lemon and white nectarine sorbet flavours. This will be at its best from 2025. 100 points

Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Grand Cru Marquis De Laguiche Burgundy 2014

Clarity reminiscent of a mountain stream. Aromas of flowers, light apple, lemon and hints of hazelnut. Subtle. Full-bodied yet agile and so energetic. Dense and tight with superb depth and length. Very, very long. Such harmony. Perfect now but also perfect later. It is just a great wine. 99 points

Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Bordeaux 2014

Incredible iodine, oyster, currant, peat and cedar. Yet subtle. Full body, chewy yet polished tannins, and great depth and complexity on the finish. I love the spice and blueberry character on the finish. Vibrant. A sexy style of Mouton. Try drinking this in 2022. 99 points

This photo is for image purposes only
This photo is for image purposes only

Chateau Latour Pauillac Bordeaux 2014

Violet, liquorice, pencil, flowers and currant define this on the nose before it moves to fresh mushrooms. It is full-bodied yet compacted with tension and a compressed centre palate. Incredible, fine-grained tannins and energy. The length is truly great. Should be even more beautiful in 2024. Give it time. 99 points

Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou St-Julien Bordeaux 2014

Fabulous aromas of crushed berries such as blackberry and blackcurrant, not to mention spices. Wet earth and cedar, too. Complex. Full-bodied yet agile and complete. A dense centre palate. Ultra-round tannins. Everything in the right balance. Wonderful to taste but better to drink in 2022. 99 points

Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc Pessac-Leognan Bordeaux 2014

Lemon, pineapple and green-papaya aromas. Stone and salt block, too. Full-bodied, dense and layered, with a creamy and layered mouthfeel. Powerful and agile at the same time. Exceptional. Rivals the 100-point 2011 La Mission. Drink if you can find it. 99 points

Louis Latour Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Burgundy 2015

This is a phenomenal wine with such depth and intensity in terms of aromas of black cherry, wet earth and orange peel. So deep, it is like looking over the edge of a cliff. Full body, perfect tannin tension and resounding purity. It goes on for minutes on the palate with the dark fruit and creamy mineral character. Shame that only 100 cases were made. Drink in 2022. 99 points

This photo is for image purposes only
This photo is for image purposes only

Thierry Allemand Cornas Reynard Rhone 2014

From older vines (40-plus years), this has a deeper set of spices and darker fruit with strong, stony perfume, liquorice, dark plum, dark chocolate and pepper. The palate delivers a level of juxtaposed power and elegance seen only in the greatest wines. Tannins are saturated in dark plum and blackberry flavour. Acidity winds it tight. Dark, spicy finish. Can be approached young but will peak from 2025 onwards. 99 points

This photo is for image purposes only
This photo is for image purposes only

Chateau Ausone St Emilion Bordeaux 2014

Fabulous aromas of currant, rose petal, dried strawberry and hints of lemon rind. Wet earth and chalk. Full and dense and so compacted and squeezed. What a texture. Phenomenal. Needs five to six years to open, but it is a joy to taste. Amazing. Such energy. From organically grown grapes as well. I am in awe. 99 points

To see his top 100 French wines of the year, visit jamessuckling.com

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Drinks top 10 french wines james suckling

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