I am sure that most of you have already received numerous reports on the 2012 Bordeaux vintage. In principle, there are lot of good wines there but you have to pick extremely selectively.
Overall, the Merlot (the right bank) did much better than the Cabernet on the left bank and so most of the fine wines from the 2012 vintage are Merlot based. As a result, only a very few of the best managed estates have produced classic wines. Nevertheless there are several left bank wines that you could consider.
I found myself disagreeing with Parker in most reviews, but there we are. The beauty of wine is that we all have (or should have) our own opinion. There is however one very pleasant surprise here and a property to watch. Click to see my Report on the 2012 Vintage.
My Left Bank recommendations:
LABEGORCE, Margaux, ZR 16-; RP 88-90
£160.00 per case
This is one of the finest surprises of the vintage. It looks like there has been a change of ownership here a couple of years ago and their 2012 is the best I have ever tasted from here – the one to watch!!! The wine is thick and intense with fine grain tannins well balanced by black berry and smoke. This will make a great wine and I hope there is more of the same to come from here.
RAUZAN SEGLA, Margaux, ZR 15+; RP 93-95
£420.00 per case
Another one where I disagree with Parker but, I thought I would mention it as he rated it highly and, at this price, it should be a decent investment. I have tasted it twice in Bordeaux and once in London and have consistently found it to be over-oaked and touch too hard on tannins. But, overall it is not a bad wine. I would certainly not consider it to be in the same league as Palmer below. Your choice whether to follow Parker or me.
PALMER, Margaux, ZR 19-; RP 92-95
£1,700.00 per case
The best wine of the left bank in my opinion, overshooting all the first growths. Ok, I would have preferred it to be below 1500 but, it was so good that I don’t have problem in recommending it. Stylistically, it is softer version of classic Palmer but, there is fine intensity and concentration here. The wine will need some 6-8 years to mature and will drink well for at least another 15. Sour cherries and black berries dominate throughout with fine, long, complex finish of smoke and dark chocolate. Well done !!!
LYNCH BAGES, Pauillac, ZR 17; RP 87-89
£660.00 per case
Well, this is the one I definitely disagree with Mr. Parker. Ok, it’s not the best Lynch ever but, it is a very decent wine with fine tannins and good extraction. There are no hard edges here and everything is very well put together. Black berries dominate and there is a good balance with crisp acidity running through. This is a fine Pauillac and will provide great drinking from about 2020 for some 15 y. It’s up to you as to whether you would follow me or Parker, but this is one for the cellar for sure; and I can also see some serious investment potential.
PONTET CANET, Pauillac, ZR 18+; RP 91-94
£690.00 per case
And another one! After Palmer, Pontet was for me the best on the left. Ok, it could be bit more polished and refined, but that almost gives it special charm in 2012. The fruit, mainly black berries and cherries, and the tannins are very well integrated and well supported by fine acidity. A great wine overall and for my money better than any of the first growths. As with Lynch, I would not be surprised if this gets upgraded once bottled which would make it a very decent investment. In any case, at quarter the price of first growths, this is definitely a buy!
PICHON COMTESSE, Pauillac, ZR 17+; RP 91-93
Very fine Comtessse and, for me, better than Baron this year. The wine is black and concentrated with fine intense black tannins and long but firm finish. As with Lynch and Pontet, I think Parker under-rated it and I would consider it to be a very good buy if it comes out at any level below my estimate.
CALON SEGUR, St Estephe, ZR 16; RP 90-92
One of the rare Cabernet based wines (78%) that has actually turned out well. It is a classic St Estephe, intense and powerful, black berry and smoke dominate at this stage. Will be a fine claret to drink in about 8 years for further 15.
MONTROSE, St Estephe, ZR 17+; RP 92-94
2012 Montrose is a brute. Black, intense and concentrated with black autumn berries and dark chocolate on the nose and palate. The finish is quite long but touch dry at the end. Will need at least 10 y to start drinking.
HAUT BERGEY, Pessac – Leognan, ZR 16; RP 90-93
Great “little” wine from the owners of Clos Eglise in Pomerol. Black, intense and concentrated. Black cherries dominate the palate with fine grain tannins and crisp refreshing finish. Great drink from about 2017 for some 10 y. One of the best deals of the vintage.
MALARTIC-LAGRAVIERE, Pessac – Leognan, ZR 16, RP 91-93
Fine and elegant Malartic with red fruit and cream on the palate. Soft, red and very silky finish. Well done. I hope they release at my estimate.
PAPE CLEMENT, Pessac – Leognan, ZR:16+, RP: 92-95
Fine and intense Pape Clement, but again I did not find as much excitement as Parker. This will be a very good wine in about 5-8 years, but it is priced just over my estimate.
To see our recommendations for Wines from the Right Bank