2012 Bordeaux – Margaux, Pavillon Rouge, Canon, Beauséjour Bécot – and Pavie and Angélus for a laugh

by Charles Lea

Another large number of releases this morning, some sensible and some… others. Château Margaux is released at the same price as Mouton, a price which makes it the cheapest Margaux in the market and it is a great wine. You can see a video of Paul Pontallier presenting this vintage to us here.

Canon is way down in price on it’s last year’s release (over 40%) and this looks pretty good value, like it’s Chanel stablemate Rauzan Ségla. As always it did not taste particularly showy, but it has a great terroir and discreet charm which trains on well.

The glossy blackcurrant fruit style of Beauséjour Bécot deserves to find some support at this level too, I have not managed to untangle my own notes on this, but other seem to have liked it a lot.

Hubert de Bouard gets it wrong on price

Hubert de Bouard gets it wrong on price

When we went to Angélus, (well actually to Bellevue, which is under the same ownership, as they are doing major constructions at Angélus), Hubert de Bouard told us ‘in 25 years I think this is the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make about price’, and referred to the classification and the market. The classification refers to Angélus’ elevation to the ultra-grand status of Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé (A) last year. This classification was partly decided by the price of recent vintages, so that it has skewed the market – which is idiotic in itself. The higher the price fetched by a wine, the more likely it was to be classified higher. Now M de Bouard has clearly allowed the cranial inflationary effect of this higher classification to overrule completely any consideration for the market, and has released a price 30% higher than for the 2011. M. Perse (Pavie) who was clearly in the same quandary, waiting for M. de Bouard to declare his hand and followed with the same price immediately after.

Compare and contrast with the rather more pragmatic view taken by Jean-Luc Thunevin, who put his Valandraud on the market as a drastically reduced price, despite also being elevated in the classification.

For what it’s worth Fonbel, the most junior wine of Vauthier/Ausone stable, is offered at a price which makes it a buy for drinkers with cellars.