The end of a very wet but fascinating week of tasting the Bordeaux primeurs. We arrived with all the talk that 2012 is a right bank vintage with mixed opinions as to whether it was St Emilion or Pomerol which had made the best wines. Whilst there are some lovely wines in both appellations in truth it is wrong to say it is a right or left bank vintage, more realistically it is an annee des vinerons. There are some lovely and very stylish wines in each of the major appellations and the secret to their success was very much careful vineyard management and attention to detail at harvest time.
The most attractive wines of the vintage are the most natural ones, where winemakers have let the true characteristics of the vintage express themselves rather than stamping their own mark on the wines, through heavy handed winemaking techniques. Whilst 2012 has not produced big powerful wines, it has possibly made some of the most appealing forward drinking wines of the last decade. The best wines will be lovely to drink in 7-10 years time, with their approachable succulence and gentle tannic content. Anybody who is enjoying the delicious 2007’s today will appreciate the charm of the 2012’s which has a similar sweetness of fruit but more volume and richness. The term “succulent” consistently came up in my notes.
We have blogged our favourites in the Medoc and St Emilion. Yesterday was Pessac Leognans turn. Some of the star wines in red were a sensational Domaine de Chevalier, very fine Haut Bailly and a much more restrained and classy Pape Clement, very much on form. At Haut Brion it seemed to have the edge over La Mission in red, but in white the La Mission Haut Brion was the star of the show. Outside the tasting room we had a memorable lunch with Veronique Saunders at Haut Bailly, enjoying a memorable 2006 and delicious 1998, Veroniques 1st vintage in charge.
For dinner we were entertained by the delightful Lacoste family proprietors of Ch Ferran in Pessac Leognan and were very spoilt to be served their lovely 2009 red and a very special bottle of 1989 Ch Palmer.
Today we finished with a visit to Domaine de L’Alliance in Sauternes. This unknown gem with its vineyards adjoining Rieussec and Ch de Fargues has produced an exquisite 2010 which we are due to be shipping, which has been followed by the outstanding 2011 due to be bottled later in the year.
As always a memorable trip with some delicious wines and full tasting notes to follow.