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 ‘Chateau Malescot Saint-Exupéry’
I’m a Margaux lover but this appellation is utterly frustrating in 2011.The wines of merit are outnumbered by the disappointing here by a margin of almost 2 to 1. What’s gone so wrong? It was a challenging year of course but so it was for everyone else. Margaux, as one of the largest blue chip appellations, has a far wider variety of soils and terroirs than say Pauillac or St Julien, so this probably accounts for some of the irregularity. The drought conditions through the first half of the season, followed by topsy-turvy weather, cool summer but with a huge heat spike, would have also caused more problems in the vineyards here than elsewhere. This would have been especially the case on the lighter, gravelly soils that Margaux is famous for. So we’re talking about dealing with grapes with an unusual degree of irregularity in ripeness. Sorting in the vineyard, selection in the winery all would have been essential, even at those estates that had managed this tricky growing season well.
There is some variability here in Margaux both between the wines, some excellent, others over extracted, some variability between samples. Generally I was impressed by the wines on my first pass, the second pass I did the Margaux appellation slightly impressive, interesting as it was generally the other way around in the other districts. Of course the large appellation here with its wide variety of soils and terroirs does means that often you are not comparing like with like. There is also considerable variability between the blends in Margaux and in the wine making; some much more extractive and manipulative than others.
One sunny afternoon twenty-two years ago I pulled into the pebbled drive of Chateau Palmer in a silver VW Golf. I remember the mouth watering excitement of passing famous chateaux on the way up from Bordeaux on the D2 before arriving in the sleepy little hamlet of Issan. I headed off to fine Yves Chardon, then Palmer’s cellar master, having arrived to work the vendange, the harvest due to start in the next few days. It was late September 1988.