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Bordeaux 2012 Primeurs: Médoc

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Medoc corks copy

The 2012 growing season was as tricky up in the northern Médoc as it was elsewhere on the left bank, with the advantage here that the blends often have a higher proportion of Merlot, the variety that succeeded in the vintage. Not that Merlot escaped entirely. One of the consequences of the very cool weather around flowering was considerable flower shatter [coulure] on the Merlot, reducing yields, although this was reported as having a positive effect on quality, increasing concentration. Nevertheless the cool and wet start to the growing season certainly led to uneven development in the grapes. Ripening did catch up with the warmer and very dry period spanning mid-July to late September, but the harvest was always going to be a late one, one that would ultimately be influenced by October’s wet weather. Nevertheless the best wines have good fruit and weight from the Merlot.

For me, three wines stood head and shoulders above the rest, two with substantial resources and know-how behind them. Château Potensac has produced a very fine effort in 2012 and worth considering for the price [released around £140/$225 per dozen]. La Goulée, now in its tenth vintage, looks very polished and promising from the team at Cos d’Estournel. Château La Tour de By  [£110/$170 a dozen] also looked pure and nicely judged and will provide a very attractive glass of Médoc.

The notes and scores on those cru bourgeois tasted at Château d’Agassac are provisional as I arrived extremely late in the day and tasted in a mad dash. Nevertheless Château Blaignan [also tasted separately], Château La Cardonne, Château Loudenne, Château Noaillac, Château Les Ormes Sorbet and Château Patache d’Aux all looked to be good-ish Médocs with sap and vigour.

Château Blaignan

Nice colour; fresh and attractive looking; some blackcurrant, earth; soft and easy palate; lacks a little definition. Easygoing. Tasted at Château Meyney April 11, 2013. 85-86 [Earlier note] Earthy blackcurrant, sweet; some Ribena and fruit pastel notes; easy and soft. Good-ish effort. Cru Bourgeois tasting April 9, 2013. 85-86

Château Blaignan Quintessence

Deeper; more depth and intensity to the nose; blackcurrants; some cassis; more depth and chew to the palate; soft in the middle. Attractive overall. Tasted at Château Meyney, April 11, 2013. 86-87

Château La Cardonne

Nice lift, some perfume; earthy red fruits on the palate; some earth; chewy finish. Cru Bourgeois tasting April 9, 2013. 85-86

Château Castera

Spicy tones with bubblegum; stalky and spicy; palate soft with some chew on the finish. Cru Bourgeois tasting April 9, 2013. 84-86

Chapelle de Potensac

Mid depth, pretty dark; vibrant meniscus; creamy nose; ripe; cassis; bright; nice entry to the palate; good-ish density and sap; some creamy tones; juicy and vibrant; little simple on the finish but vigorous. 56% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. Tasted at Château Léoville-Las-Cases Friday April 12, 2013. 86-87

Château Les Grands Chênes

Earthy, spicy and oaked; still reasonable integration; tannic and dry on the palate. Ok but chewy. Cru Bourgeois tasting April 9, 2013. 84-86

La Goulée by Cos d’Estournel

Deep colour; healthy at edge; very primary fruit; briary and brambly notes; some spice; little earth and mineral tones; polished palate; clean and vibrant; some creamy qualities and very harmonious and elegant. Good length and a good effort. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot. Tasted at Château Cos d’Estournel April 12, 2013. 88-90

Château Greysac

Stalky nose; vegetal and feels green; very tannic and dry on the palate. Unripe to me. Cru Bourgeois tasting April 9, 2013. 82-84

Château Layauga-Duboscq

Deep and saturated look; some perfume, some oak; good depth and chew if oaky palate; fruit sweet and ripe enough. Tasted at Château Haut-Marbuzet April 11, 2013. 84-86

Château Loudenne

Redcurrant tones alongside stalky fruit; clean; palate creamy to begin with then grippy finish. Cru Bourgeois tasting April 9, 2013. 85-87

Château Noaillac

Some dark fruits; spicy tones; sappy and grippy palate with chewy tannin but lots of guts. Will be ok. Cru Bourgeois tasting April 9, 2013. 85-87

Château Les Ormes Sorbet

Fresh and stalky like Loudenne; chewy and dense on the palate; plenty of fruit and chew. Cru Bourgeois tasting April 9, 2013. 85-87

Château Patache d’Aux

Earthy; red fruits here and ripe Merlot influence; grippy palate with some angularity to the tannin. Cru Bourgeois tasting April 9, 2013. 85-87

Château Potensac

Very nice healthy look; deep and vibrant at edge; saturated aroma; depth here and attractive; cassis and minerals; pretty dense palate; lots of material; some grip and tannin on the finish. Chewy but plenty of fruit here and nice length. Good Potensac. Tasted at Château Léoville-Las-Cases April 12, 2013. 48% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Cabernet Franc. 13.5% 88-90

Château Ramafort

Pretty lifted nose with perfume; some grip and acid in palate; lean and lacks middle. Cru Bourgeois tasting April 9, 2013. 83-85

Château La Tour de By

Deepish; earthy, blackcurrant tones; ripe; juicy and appetizing; palate eqully juicy, ripe and extremely enjoyable; very forward, fruity and attractive. Tasted UGC April 9, 2013. 87-88

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