2012 Bordeaux – a last honk of the horn – real value buys

by Charles Lea

The 2012 Bordeaux campaign will go down as one with a lot of sound and (especially) fury, signifying very little. The shame is that it obscures the real hard work being done all over this vast region which still makes a lot of the best value wines in the world. At the more reasonable end of the price spectrum, it is hard to imagine how wines of this quality could be made any cheaper – the prices are linked quite closely with the costs of production rather than to brand values.

Here are four wines which are made by conscientious growers, and which offer something very special. If you are interested to know more, or forgot to buy the papers and are just in search of some weekend reading, click the links to the blog pieces.


2012 CLOS MANOU Médoc £155 per case of 12 bottles in bond (other sizes on request)

Clos Manou

58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc. 13.4%. Structured and upright on the nose, with elderberry leading to cassis on palate. Lovely opening crunch of blackcurrants and some leafiness, a cool dry fruit. Oak is present in background, but only just. Very fine, silky and close-textured, no excess plumpness here – there is good grip and long classic lines. A touch of salty savoury too, but really it’s all about the fruit. 91/100 L&S (More on Blog)

“Superb colour, lovely fresh, fragrant nose of ripe berry fruits, terrific depth of flavour” 16.25/20 Steven Spurrier, Decanter

“A terrific effort … sweet, soft, sexy tannins, a surprisingly opulent mouthfeel, impressive purity and a medium-bodied, long finish. Clos Manou continues to over-perform for its humble pedigree.” 89-91 Robert Parker erobertparker.com


CHÂTEAU LA MAURIANE Puisseguin Saint Emilion £115 per case in bond

La Mauriane

85% Merlot with 15% Cabernet Franc. Rich almost plummy nose. Plump and yet not sweet, very richly full of black fruit flavour. Fleshy and goes on well. Second sample away from Chateau was slightly oxidised on nose, but all the body and richness still there. This is the first vintage which is officially ‘organic wine’, a new and long fought-for designation which goes a little further than ‘wine made from organically-grown grapes’. 90/100 L&S. (More on Blog)


2012 CHÂTEAU MONTLANDRIE Côtes de Castillon £72 per six-bottle case IB


More joy to taste from Denis Durantou. The nose here is elegant and floral – violet notes and some cedary toast. On the palate this is more serious and focused than Chenade or Cruzelles. Lovely clean, precise fruit, Cabernet Franc giving an intensity of cherry and blueberry. Lovely firm tannin and a hardish mineral structure frames the intense dark fruit below. The long and spicy finish is punctuated with bright high-toned, red fruit almost cranberry-like notes. Really very good. 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. 91++ L&S (More on Blog)

Denis Durantou says he works as hard on his lesser wines as he does on  L’Eglise-Clinet, and it shows. This is a dense wine for the price, with plump, sweet fruit, a hint of firmness on the finish, scented oak and the concentration to age. If you can’t afford L’Eglise-Clinet, this isn’t a bad alternativeDrink: 2018-25. 92 Tim Atkin MW


2012 CHÂTEAU JOANIN BÉCOT Côtes de Castillon £145 per case in bond

Joanin Bécot

Penetrating pure raspberry nose. Pure pleasure. Raspberry coulis juiciness. High-toned yet weighty, very precise, very delightful.   91/100 L&S

The Joanin Becot has a very cohesive nose with plenty of vibrant red berry fruit to enjoy– perfume, pure and feminine. The palate is medium-bodied with sinewy ripe tannins, well judged acidity and a lovely build towards a confident finish. Very fine. 89-91 Neal Martin, Wine Journal, erobertparker.com

“This blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc from Juliette Becot’s nearly 30-acre vineyard is one of my favorite wines from the Cotes de Castillon.” Robert Parker, erobertparker.com

For other recommended wines at all prices, see these lists:-