Despite the vagaries of the vintage it would be a mistake to overlook St Estèphe in 2012. At the top end excellent wines have been made at Chateau Calon-Ségur, Chateau Cos d’Estournel and Chateau Montrose especially. Further down the chain there are values to be had if you pick carefully. I’ve written about the excellent effort at Chateau Meyney, but very fine wine has been made at Chateau Phélan-Ségur and there is a surprisingly good Chateau de Pez. The vintage can’t be compared to 2009 and 2010 but it’s probably better than the 2011 vintage here at least. Where the price is right, and in a few cases it is, you could consider some of these wines en primeur.
Posts Tagged ‘en primeur’
Château Cos d’Estournel has produced a dense, serious wine in 2012. It comes across as more immediately polished than arch rival Montrose, perhaps firing on six-cylinders as opposed to Montrose’s eight, though Cos’s opulence makes its overall power a bit deceptive. The comparison between the two will be fascinating down the line even if Montrose has the edge in terms of sheer power. The real difference here is on price. Cos recently released at around £990 [$1500] a case. It makes Montrose [£660/$1000] look good value, and Calon-Ségur [at £440/$700] perhaps particularly so. Still I expect Cos see this as cheap given recent pricing here, though I wouldn’t like to be a merchant charged with having to shift it [as good as the wine undoubtedly is].
Anyone who has drunk 1961 or 1970 Château Meyney will be very well aware of the extraordinary potential of this property. Situated next to Château Montrose in St Estèphe, the vineyard lies in a single block of approximately fifty hectares and sits in a terrific position overlooking the Gironde. There has been steady and sure improvement here over the past decade since the purchase of the property by Credit Agricole’s CA Grand Crus group. There has been much investment in the vineyard and very good wines were made here in 2009 and 2010. I’m especially impressed by Meyney in 2012 too. It’s a cracking effort, a real success for the vintage, and provides genuine value to the consumer.
Hervé Berland, Château Montrose’s new managing director, is rightly proud of the wine here in 2012. Alongside Mouton and Léoville-Las-Cases this is one of the most powerful wines of the Médoc. It was also amongst the very last picked, a risky business enabled only by the terroir of Montrose. The soils here, gravel with a clay base, were sufficiently well draining for the rain that arrived at vintage time, but water retentive enough to resist the very dry period between August and late September. This dry period created fruit with especially thick skins, helping the grapes [Cabernet especially] resist the threat of botrytis that accompanied the late October wet weather. It was this that let Montrose snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.