2012 4ème Cru Classé Saint Julien

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Saint Julien
Classification 4ème Cru Classé

I tasted this well - really very well. It stood out amongst its peers with a glossy dark colour, ripe fruit nose and supple, succulent palate. Very much in the Talbot idiom, a Cabernet flavour which is strong on blackcurrant, a touch of sweetness rare in the vintage, and a really rather gorgeous fleshy feel, and good juice-filled length too. Top Talbot. Rating: 92-92 L&S (Apr 2013)

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The nose is full of brooding black fruits rich cassis and black cherry. The start of the palate has the same richness but under depth of fruit bramble and bilberry refresh and lighten. The tannins give structure firm but not aggressive and although the finish is tight there is enough rich fruit at the back. 2020-35 Rating: 90-93 Derek Smedley MW, 2013)

The grapes were picked at Talbot from the 1st until the 18th October and the Grand Vin is a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the same assemblage as the previous vintage. The nose is nicely focused with blackberry and cedar aromas, perhaps like some other Saint Juliens, demonstrating a Pauillac-like personality that I wonder whether will be present after bottling. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins and a pleasant citric edge of acidity. It is more cohesive than the 2011 with plenty of fruit on the finish suggesting this will become a commendable wine for the vintage. I think this is the first where I feel consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt has had a hand in ameliorating this Saint Julien property. Rating: 89-91 Neal Martin, 2013)

A strong effort from Talbot, this sexy, medium to full-bodied, richly fruity 2012 exhibits lots of creme de cassis, licorice, roasted herb and spice box characteristics in an evolved yet elegant, round, lush style that was surprisingly seductive and disarming. This offering stood out as one of the stars of St.-Julien. Drink it over the next 12-15 years. 2013 - 2028 Rating: 90-92 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, 2013)

The vintages were both problematic, but Talbot made very good wines in 2011 and 2012 under the consultancy of Stéphane Derononcourt. This is soft and nuanced with classic cigar box and green pepper aromas, a hint of appealing reduction, plenty of texture, wellintegrated oak and filigree tannins. Drink: 2020-30 Rating: 94 Tim Atkin MW, 2013)

Purple with a pale rim. Tarry nose. Then sweet palate entry. A little muted. Respectable but a bit dull. Fades away on the very dry finish. 2018 - 2027. Rating: 16 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - 2013)

Good smooth and spicy cassis fruit, ripeness and balance, quite forward style. Drink: 2016 - 2025. Rating: 16.75 Steven Spurrier(Apr 2013)

Rating: 18 Matthew Jukes 2013)

Features modest cherry and powdered vanilla notes, with a flash of red currant on the finish. Lacks weight at the center. Rating: 84-87 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator(Apr 2013)

Château Talbot

St Julien Quatrième cru 1855 John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury was sent by King Henry VI to re-impose some English rule on this troublesome part of his Kingdom, but ended up being killed at the Battle of Castillon in 1453. Quite what connection he had with this particular bit of St Julien is unknown but, at least as far back as the 17th Century, the large estate in the centre of the appellation has been known as Château Talbot and it has generally been held that it was named for said John Talbot. Désiré Cordier bought Talbot in 1917 and it is still in the hands of the Cordier family. Sitting right in the middle of St Julien, surrounded by the great names of the appellation, and at 107ha of vineyard, Château Talbot is hard to miss. The vineyards are planted to 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Fermentation takes place in a combination of traditional wooden vats and modern stainless steel, with the Grand Vin spending 14 months in oak (50%-60% new). There is a second wine named in honour of John Talbot, who's local title was Connétable Talbot. With such big production and with an easy name to read and remember in the English-speaking market, Château Talbot has a healthy following and reliable reputation. It is a reputation that Talbot, by and large, lives up to with well-flavoured structured wines.

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