Good day to you good people. I hope you all enjoyed the sunny bank holiday weekend – and that it won’t be the last of the sunshine we’ll see this year!
I am sure that most of you have already received numerous reports on the 2012 Bordeaux vintage, so I will try and be as brief as possible.
To start with, I will paraphrase the big man himself, Mr Robert Parker, in his initial assessment of the vintage: “… there are lot of good wines there, but you have to pick extremely selectively …“.
The emphasis is on “extremely selectively”!!!
Why is this? Well, it was the weather: 2012 was all over the place.
Those of you who are interested in numbers and charts can find here the full vintage report from Denis Dubourdieu – the professor of Enology at the Bordeaux University: Bordeaux 2012 Weather Report.
In short, it was cold and wet, when it needed to be warm and dry and vice versa pretty much for the whole of the growing season.
This made it very difficult for the Chateau owners to get all varieties, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, to ripen properly. 2012 really is the vintage in which only those with a good understanding of their vineyards and willing to work “overtime” have managed to produce some decent grapes- and those good wines that Parker is talking about.
Overall, the Merlot (the right bank) did much better than Cabernets (the left bank). Subsequently, most of the fine wines from 2012 are Merlot based.
More importantly, those properties that have managed to get Merlot to ripen well, seem to have quite a unique character which I do not recall tasting in any of the vintages since 1996; my first en primeur vintage.
The best of 2012 are displaying character that is more akin to great red Burgundy than Bordeaux – only more powerful: black cherries and very fine, crisp, citrusy acidity dominate the palate. Again, not many of 2012s are refined but those that are, are light and fragrant and very aromatic.
On to the wines and whether it is worth buying any of them.
Not a simple question in a vintage like 2012, especially after the great vintages of 2009 and 10 and the investment “gig” associated with them. People seem to have forgotten that one buys Bordeaux en primeur in order to pick young wines of fine character at prices that represent good value. At the risk of being accused of agreeing with Mr Parker, there are actually quite a few of those in 2012. OK, there is always the investment gig in the back of our mind, but in a vintage like 2012 the options are very limited and the right advice should be imperative.
My first advice would be: do not buy any of the first growths, especially the newly promoted Angelus and Pavie!!!
OK! Lafite, Mouton and Haut Brion should deliver some financial return should you be willing to hang on for 5-6 years – and if China keeps on going.
But, in terms of drinking, they are a joke at these prices. As far as value for money goes, they would be overpriced even at half the released price.
So much about that but, if any of you want a case for the vertical collection or Christening present, let me know and I will get it organized for you.
I will not be buying any for the stock, but the opening prices for Mouton, Margaux and Haut Brion are £2,800.00; and Lafite is offered at £4,000.00, and I believe that I can get them for you at those prices. Cheval Blanc and Ausone are not out yet.
As usual, I will not waste my (or your) time and only list those wines that are worth buying this year.