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.
You will have seen our earlier push on Denis Durantou's 'little wines', not to mention the little video about the 2012 vintage. Of course 'little wines' is a misnomer since they are far from little and offer some of the best value in Bordeaux - just at a more accessible price than his 'big wine' l'Église Clinet.
Up in the northern Médoc, around the village of Saint Christoly, it was normal, right up to the 1970s, for farmers to have some maize, some cows, a few pigs – and 4 hectares or so of vines. Part of what is now Clos Manou was a 4 hectare ‘Cru Bourgeois’ called Château Cantegrive.
Regular Primeur buyers from L&S will know that we have been banging the drum for Pierre Taïx's 'La Mauriane' since 2001, and this tiny property in Puisseguin Saint Emilion continues to produce wines of remarkable value, with Pierre continuing to tweak the way the vineyards and managed and the wine is made and aged.
2012 Bordeaux - Denis Durantou's 'Haiku of the vintage' & Las Cases, Saint Pierre, Vieux Chateau Certan, and yes.
Brane Cantenac, Léoville Poyferre, Figeac, Beauséjour Duffau, Clos du Marquis, Nénin Today we have one of my favourite wines in Margaux, Brane Cantenac, where Henri Lurton has made another quintessentially elegant wine, and the release price is very realistic. The Cuveliers have released Léoville Poyferré at a price just under that of Léoville Barton, having been well above in some recent vintages.
2012 Bordeaux - Gruaud Larose and Sarget de Gruaud - and a reminder about La Conseillante The only significant releases this afternoon are Gruaud Larose and its second wine Sarget de Gruaud. Sarget is well-priced compared to some of the Saint Julien second wines, but on the other hand I think I'd still rather have the slightly juicier Connétable Talbot.
Ausone has just been put on the market at £3950. This seems a solid buy against the price of other vintages. Robert Parker calls this "a high class, aristocratic, nearly perfect wine to cellar for a decade and then watch it unfold over the following 40-50 years".
2012 Bordeaux - Montrose, Clinet, Domaine de Chevalier, Rouget, Clos l'Eglise Château Montrose is on a real roll at the moment, and while the 2012 wine is not quite up to the (Parker 100 point) 2009 (currently £2500+, nor the 2010 (£1600+), it is a great Montrose, and as Robert Parker says 'one of the top successes of the vintage'.
This morning's big releases are Grand Puy Lacoste and Pavie Macquin. I did not taste Pavie Macquin this year, but the critics who did seem united - Robert Parker 92-95, Neal Martin 94-96, and so on. It seems to have united both American and European critics, and as a regular favourite of ours amongst the Saint Emilions, this comes recommended.
2012 Bordeaux - Pichon Lalande, Leoville Barton, Beauregard, Marquis de Terme The tasting at Pichon Lalande was a cheering experience this year, bringing to mind the wines of the eighties which never missed here. Silky and 'feminine' in the inimitable Pichon style, it has depth and length - a real core too.
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.