2012 Bordeaux – Pichon Baron, Calon Segur, Clos Fourtet, Smith Haut Lafitte Red & White

by Charles Lea

Quite a few releases this morning as Bordeaux gets back from a very long weekend. There is no real sense that there is any urgency to sell this vintage. Coming out at the same price as mature vintages are trading on the market is not going to make for a long-term future for this way of selling wine.

Pichon Baron under Christian Seely has scaled new heights, but there is clearly a fight on to maintain a price level above Lynch Bages (let alone the old rivalry with its neighbour Lalande). This did not sell very well last year and it’s hard to see why it should be very different this year.

The Pichon Baron Team of Jean-René Matignon and Christian Seely

The Pichon Baron Team of Jean-René Matignon and Christian Seely

Calon Segur is a very good en primeur bet, and although the price is only minimally down on last year, the fact is that they got it right last year and did not really need to move. This is a wine we almost always sell out of, and since it is definitely the cheapest vintage on the market, represents real value. Added to which the property has been given new impetus buy its new owners, who have had the sense to leave winemaker Vincent Millet in place, so it will be on an upward track. Brilliant wine too, in the style of recent vintages – it is still 78% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Calon Segur - New Man in Charge Laurent Dufau with winemaker Vincent Millet

Calon Segur – New Man in Charge Laurent Dufau with winemaker Vincent Millet

I did not get to taste Clos Fourtet, which was a shame, but by all accounts a good wine and if you are looking for a top Saint Emilion in the vintage this could be it. Parker 93-95, Tim Atkin 95: “Rich, sensuous and profound, this is very well balanced by acidity, minerality and freshness, reflecting its clay and limestone terroir. One of the three best wines of the appellation in 2012”.

The Cathiards at Smith Haut Lafitte have been making better and better wine for a decade or more now, but the samples this year left me slightly underwhelmed – but I seem to be in a minority. Red a better bet than white, by my notes and others.

At the bargains for drinkers level, Pedesclaux offers Cru Classé Pauillac at a really solid value price, as does the other property run by Calon Segur in Saint Estephe, Capbern Gasqueton, which is in the image of Calon in terms of grape mix, and a sort of mini-Calon in style too.

 

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