Hem Vinvärlden 2012 Bordeaux av Stephen Brook

2012 Bordeaux av Stephen Brook

av Livets Goda

True, on paper the growing season did not look promising. Flowering was uneven, and damp conditions in the early summer caused outbreaks of mildew. Then in mid-July the weather improved, and August was the hottest since 2003. Four days of temperatures around 40C caused some sunburn and vines protected themselves by stopping their development. The fine conditions continued through September until the 23rd, when there was a spell of heavy rain. Rot spread swiftly, but the grapes needed more time to ripen fully. Eventually harvesting began: from early October on the Right Bank, from October 8 for Merlot on the Left Bank, and Cabernets in mid-October. There was more rain from 20 October, though most grapes had been picked by then. Pomerol, always a precocious region, had finished picking before the October rains. Graves and Pessac-Léognan, according to Olivier Bernard of Domaine de Chevalier, produced red wines with balance rather than great structure, but the white wines are of top quality and comparable to 2010. Many producers, including Bernard, Lilyan Barton of Léoville-Barton, Pierre Lurton of Cheval Blanc, and Jean-Antoine Nony of Grand-Mayne, in St Emilion, prefer their 2012 to their 2011s. Tannin levels were quite high, though few of the wines taste very tannic. At Ducru-Beaucaillou in St Julien, Bruno Borie said he was careful not to extract too much, ‘not that there was much to extract in the first place’. Nonetheless the best wines do have structure. As seems to be increasingly the case in Bordeaux, the success of any individual wine has much to do with the ability of the grower to deal promptly with threats such as disease and rot. That’s easier for the well-funded estates that can afford to be vigilant in the vineyard, and for properties on the best, well-drained soils. So how good are the wines? At Cru Bourgeois level, they are patchy. On the Right Bank they can be excellent, with rich fruit and supple tannins. Merlot was riper than Cabernet Franc. Pomerol in particular has produced many delicious wines. There is no clear difference in quality between the Left and Right banks in 2012, although some top Médocs are quite harsh and extracted. The whites from the Graves are vibrant. Reds from the Left Bank are full of charm. With few exceptions the wines are supple throughout the Médoc and can be drunk relatively young. In general they are not wines for long cellaring or investment (especially as prices are too high – as usual), though the best will age easily for ten years or more. They are obviously better than 2013 and most are better, or more enjoyable, than the more severe 2011s. The only dark cloud hangs over Sauternes, where the grapes were often spoiled by the autumn rains. It was essential to wait for the grapes to dry out and then to sort them carefully. Some estates made good wines, though in tiny quantities, while others, such as Yquem and Suduiraut, decided not to bottle their 2012s since they found them lacking in concentration. Recommended wines These wines were tasted at the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting in October 2014 in London, but some prestigious properties do not present their wines here. PESSAC-LÉOGNAN Ch de France (white) Discreet but toasty lemony nose. Good attack, fresh and crisp, concentrated and firm, with good weight of fruit. Good length. 89 Ch Smith-Haut-Lafitte (white) Elegant nose with lemon and mandarin fruit. Rich, full-bodied, rounded, a powerful oaky wine, imposing, has long-term potential. Good length. 91 Domaine de Chevalier (red) Sweet fleshy blackcurrant nose, very elegant. Medium-bodied but silky, with fine acidity, a graceful wine of only moderate power but exquisite fruit. Long and stylish. 91 Ch Haut-Bailly Fragrant and charming nose of blackcurrant and black cherries, minty too. Supple with ripe tannins, discreet and balanced, with spicy oak on the long finish. 91 Ch Malartic-Lagravière (red) Rich oaky blackcurrant nose, very stylish. Rich and suave, concentrated, with polished tannins and good acidity. Excellent balance and persistence. 93 MOULIS Ch Poujeaux Ripe blackcurrant nose, classic and elegant. The palate shows juicy upfront fruit, spicy and concentrated, with ample vigour and freshness. Good length, with a chocolatey finish. 90 MÉDOC Ch La Lagune Rich, toasty nose, but with lively red-fruits aromas. Fairly rich, suave and concentrated, stylish and persistent, a classic style with good length. 91 MARGAUX Ch Prieuré-Lichine Subdued nose, with some smoky oak. Juicy and concentrated, the fruit supported by big ripe tannins. This has flair as well as structure, and a spicy, chewy finish. 91 Ch Rauzan-Ségla Opulent blackcurrant nose, with purity of fruit. Fairly rich and concentrated, but elegant and lifted, with excellent balance and a fine texture. Long. 93 Ch Siran Very ripe but oaky nose, with fine blackcurrant aromas. Rich and creamy, with excellent fruit despite a very light herbaceous tone. Concentrated and long. 90 ST JULIEN Ch Branaire-Ducru Stylish cherry and blackcurrant nose. Although rich and silky, this shows a light touch, which gives finesse and charm. Spicy and long. 92 Ch Langoa-Barton Sweet, intense blackcurrant nose, showing purity and elegance. Supple and fleshy, yet concentrated and enlivened by bright acidity. Delicious fruit and a long vibrant finish. 93 Ch Léoville-Barton Smoky nose, firm and vibrant, with blackcurrant fruit. Concentrated and robust, quite rich and chewy but not extracted or tough. Will age well. 95 Ch Léoville-Poyferré Voluptuous and oaky black-fruits nose. Very rich and full-bodied, plenty of chocolatey oak that is balanced by the sweet ripe fruit. Structured and long. 94 PAUILLAC Ch Clerc-Milon Rich blackcurrant nose, classic Pauillac. Rich and broad, juicy but concentrated, compact and has a firm tannic structure and a long sweet finish. 90 Ch Haut-Bages-Libéral Ripe and generous black cherry and blackcurrant nose, with plenty of toasty oak. Plump and full-bodied, voluptuous and velvety but also concentrated, spicy, and long. 90 Ch Pichon-Longueville Dense, powerful, blackcurrant nose, with sweet oak. The rounded, juicy attack is soon replaced by a palate that is powerful and dense without being tough. Structured and very long. Will age well. 95 Ch Pichon-Lalande Opulent blackcurrant nose, vibrantly fruity. Powerful and concentrated, full-bodied and spicy, a robust Pauillac with complexity but no heaviness. Long. 94 ST ESTÉPHE Ch Lafon-Rochet Sumptuous blackcurrant and black cherry nose, quite oaky and vibrant. Juicy and supple but also has vigour and zest, with a touch of tar and exotic spice on the finish. Long. 90 ST EMILION Ch Beauséjour-Bécot Ripe, lush, black cherry nose, oaky and minty. Rounded and plump, accessible but has ripe tannins, concentrated and succulent, with a long spicy finish. 93 Ch Canon Fragrant cherry and red-fruits nose, shows finesse. Supple but full-bodied, with ripe tannins, and opulent fruit. Moderate acidity but fine length. 91 Clos Fourtet Sweet, ripe, cherry and blackberry nose, vanilla tones from the oak. Concentrated and velvety, with firm tannins and fine structure. A spicy, complex, and balanced wine, with impressive length. 94 Ch Larcis-Ducasse Fragrant nose, with blackberry and mint aromas, and stylish oak. Dense and full-bodied, concentrated and with ripe tannins, this has power and grip, but also a long balanced finish. 93 Ch Pavie-Macquin Vibrant and lush black fruits nose, though very oaky. Creamy and full-bodied, concentrated but not too dense. Spicy and imposing, with good length. 93 Ch Troplong-Mondot Very oaky nose, with seductive black-fruits aromas, hedonistic. Very rich and velvety, concentrated and full-bodied, with fine-grained tannins supporting the black fruits. Structured and long. 94 POMEROL Ch Clinet Vibrant cherry nose, though oaky. Plump and rounded, fleshy and concentrated, with flavours of black fruits and chocolate. Spicy and long. 92 Ch La Conseillante Ripe oaky nose, black fruits and mint. Rich and svelte, fleshy and succulent, a sumptuous wine with spice, vigour, and complexity. Very long, vibrant finish. 96 SAUTERNES Ch Climens Ripe apricot nose, with a light botrytis tone. Rich and creamy, full-bodied but balanced by fine acidity. Spicy and waxy, but lacks a little zest. Long. 89 Ch Coutet Toasty apricot nose. Juicy and concentrated, very sweet, grainy in texture and oaky, but also has fine acidity and persistence. 91

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