Bordeaux 2012 En Primeur

Bordeaux 2012 En Primeur

Everything you need to know about the 2012 Bordeaux vintage.

The overall impression of the 2012 vintage is that there are some delicious bottles of wine out there, but there are also some difficult and less approachable wines. In fact, fearing the worst, we were pleasantly surprised by how many good wines we tasted. The best hailed from the Merlot-dominant regions of Pomerol and St-Emilion, as well as excellent red and white wines from Graves (Pessac-Leognan).

There are some stand-out wines on the Left Bank but no general statement can be made as much depended on the vineyard manager of the particular Chateau. Apart from a handful of exceptions on the Left Bank, the second wine was sacrificed so all the best grapes went into the Grand Vin.

The Vintage

The weather in 2012 was chaotic and a lot depended on when the grapes were picked. If the winery got it right, then the wine is a true joy of sumptuous and delicious fruit. Some tried to compensate by extracting the fruit to the limit resulting in wines that are bitter and dry. The best tread the fine line between ripeness and freshness. When we had the opportunity to taste a wine in a vertical back to 2008, the vintage looked close to 2008 but showed greater fruit intensity.

The Wines

So, is it all doom and gloom? Absolutely not - 2012 tastes similar to a more concentrated version of 2008. Not a vintage of the century but neither is it a write off. Let's be straight: there will always be smart finds in Bordeaux every year and there are definitely some beautiful gems amongst the 2012s if you look hard enough. We were also very impressed by many Medoc wines at the £20- £30 mark, for example La Lagune. There are bargains to be found yet.

If the Bordelais are sensible with prices, there will be plenty of very enjoyable wine worth buying at all price levels. This is a vintage for the canny buyer, and the most important word is price - rapaciousness is not a word in the dictionary around here.

Juel Mahoney
17th April 2013

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