Overall a surprisingly homogeneous and really encouraging set of wines that confirms, for me at least, that the Margaux commune probably out-performs St Estèphe, Pauillac and St Julien in 2012 in terms of consistency, delicacy and drinkability. Early maturing certainly but not in the under-ripe, hollow sense. There is genuine lushness in many of the wines, layers of ripe, velvety fruit provided by the beautiful Merlot that the vintage produced. It combines nicely with the tighter, admittedly fresher, but rarely angular or green Cabernet Sauvignon. The combination works well. Given the right pricing [critical] the best are seriously worth considering. Certainly they are a far better set of wines overall than in 2011.
Posts Tagged ‘2012’
Château Palmer’s 2012 is very impressive and follows on from a trio of highly successful vintages here spanning 2009-2011. The improvements and the consistency achieved under the leadership of managing director Thomas Duroux now make Palmer one of Bordeaux’s stand-out wines, year in, year out. The heights to which Palmer can soar are well known – 1961, 1983, 1989 – but it’s the inconsistency that’s been ironed out. Unquestionably Palmer is now on the same qualitative pedestal as Château Margaux, if often its stylistic opposite, usually plusher and more seductive in style. The only issue this year is the price. I think it’s fair to say most people were hoping to see more than 1% trimmed off the tag but least it hasn’t gone up! Thank heavens for small mercies.
Paul Pontallier is rightly pleased with their efforts at Château Margaux in 2012. The claim that the vintage was ‘almost’ a great one for them is not wide of the mark. The Grand Vin here is seriously good and a real step up from the somewhat disappointing 2011. It’s great to see this estate back on top form in a vintage that was pretty tricky. There isn’t the slightest hint of trouble in the pure, sleek Cabernet Sauvignon that constitutes 87% of the blend. It’s a terrific effort. What’s more along with Mouton and Haut-Brion, Château Margaux released at a considerable discount on recent vintages making it at least a potentially attractive en primeur purchase if you’ve the inclination and the cash.
Several wonderful red wines have been made in Pessac-Léognan this year but the real successes are amongst the whites, not just up at the highest echelons but further down there are many refreshing, fruity white wines to be had too. The very best are rich, weighty, almost fat, with a fraction less zip than 2011, but very attractive nevertheless. The reds? I found them a little bit of a mixed bunch. There is no doubt that the wet weather caused problems for the Cabernets as it did elsewhere. Some of the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, while certainly ‘fresh’, were often angular in tannin, and many are a bit ‘grippy’ and ‘chewy’, even despite the fat, ripe Merlot on offer. My overall feeling with these is that you need to tread carefully. That said, it’s clear that great effort was put in by proprietors to try and make the very best reds they could in a challenging year, one that got increasingly so as the harvest progressed.