Bordeaux 2012 tasting Friday June 12, 2015

Eric Southward
Friday June 12, 2015

It was a special night, full of anticipation as a lucky group gathered together eager to taste the new vintage of red Bordeaux .  And, what did we learn?  That everyone needs to be drinking more white Bordeaux!  It was a pleasant surprise, that after a tasty evening of drinking top flight red Bordeaux – Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Margaux and Saint-Estephe – that two of the top three wines, as voted by the group, ended up being the first wines tasted of the evening….  The Whites!

There are a few myths surrounding Bordeaux.  One, that Bordeaux is all about the red stuff.  Bordeaux is loaded with tangy, intensely-flavoured, complex white wines, and it was a treat to watch the group’s eyes, and taste buds, open to the  white wines of Bordeaux.  And, the second falsehood that plagues Bordeaux is that the wines are all overpriced.  There are over six thousand chateau in Bordeaux, and once you get past the most expensive wines that make up a fraction of the region’s production, you’ll find a region full of delicious, unique, high quality wines in that land in that approachable $20-$40 range.  I was encouraged by the group’s recognition of the deals to be had within Bordeaux, especially for the sake of the hard-working Bordeaux producer who can’t charge a fortune for their vino.

All-in-all, we were spoiled.  The classically-styled Chateau Figeac was the runaway favourite of the night, followed by the two whites of the evening – Chateau Marjosse took second place and Chateau Ferran what the crowd’s third place finisher.  For the record, I absolutely loved the Chateau Gazin for its absolute deliciousness, and the well put-together Calon-Segur.  Here are some notes on the wines, and thanks to all of those who joined us at the shop.  Cheers.

2012 CHATEAU MARJOSSE Bordeaux Blanc (Bordeaux) – $26.  “Fresh grapefruit and caramelized citrus jump from the glass of this overachiever from Entre Deux Mers made by the meticulous Pierre Lurton. The wine is medium-bodied, fresh, lively and best drunk over the next 4-5 years.” – Robert Parker, April 2015

2012 CHATEAU FERRAN Pessac-Leognan Blanc (Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux) – $33.  “This straw-colored 2012 exhibits notes of figs, citrus oil, grapefruit and wet grass. Drink this intriguing, Sauvignon-dominated, dry white over the next 7-10 years.” – Robert Parker, April 2013

2012 LE GARAGE Bordeaux Superieur Rouge (Bordeaux) – $28.  A testament to the long-standing friendship” between Quebec’s Alain Proteau and Jacques Lurton (fromf Bordeaux’s famous wine family). “It is a garage wine in the truest sense, handmade in a tiny quantity each year, simply for the joy of doing it,” according to Trialto, which imports the wine and where Proteau works as president. “A beautiful example of an old-fashioned style that is dying out, namely traditional ‘claret’ – understated, elegant, and refined wine made for quiet enjoyment, not point scores from critics.”

2012 CHATEAU FIGEAC Saint-Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classe ‘B’ (Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux) – $135.  “This is a very strong effort from this great terroir. They finally seem to be making stricter selections and picking slightly riper fruit, thereby avoiding the vegetal underripe tones of the past as well as dilution from a lack of any selection. The 2012 Figeac (performing much better from bottle) has a dense ruby/purple color and a beautiful nose of graphite, blackcurrants, and spice box, followed by a medium-bodied, elegant yet still concentrated and authoritative style of wine. This is a beauty, and the great terroir that has existed for centuries comes through beautifully. Give it 3-4 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 20 years.” – Robert Parker, April 2015

2012 CHATEAU GAZIN Pomerol (Pomerol, Bordeaux) – $110.  “This is certainly one of the great 2012s from Pomerol. What’s amazing is that it is 100% Merlot. Readers may have forgotten (or never knew) that a chunk of this vineyard was sold to Petrus in the early 1970s, but what remains is still a superb terroir and incredibly well-placed on the plateau of Pomerol, adjacent to Petrus and across the road from Lafleur. This wine tips the scales at 14.5% natural alcohol, which puts it right up there with the 2009 and 2010. This points further to the sensational success Pomerol enjoyed in 2012. It is inky purple in color, with a glorious nose of black fruits, an unctuous texture, and a full-bodied mouthfeel. Sometimes Gazin can show too much new oak in its youth, but that is not an issue with the 2012. This is sensational Pomerol and one of the great wines of this vintage. Give it another 5-8 years of cellaring and drink it over the following two to three decades.” – Robert Parker, April 2015

2012 CHATEAU L’EVANGILE Pomerol (Pomerol, Bordeaux) – $273.  “The 2012 is an outstanding effort displaying copious quantities of black raspberry and blackberry fruit intermixed with hints of camphor, black truffles and subtle new oak. Opulent, round and generously endowed with impressive purity as well as a forward style, it should drink well young yet age for 12-15 years.” – Robert Parker, April 2015

2012 CHATEAU KIRWAN Margaux (Margaux, Bordeaux) – $68.  “From the Schroder and Schyler family, the 2012 Kirwan is dense ruby/purple and exhibits notes of cassis, licorice and a touch of toasty oak, followed by a medium to full-bodied, concentrated, tightly knit, but very promising Margaux. Concentrated, long and rich, this wine is still playing it close to the vest. It should be at its best in another 5-7 years and last at least two decades.” – Robert Parker, April 2015

2012 CHATEAU CALON-SEGUR Saint-Estephe (Saint-Estephe, Bordeaux) – $107.  “The 2012 Calon Ségur, has an opaque ruby/purple color, very sweet black raspberry, black cherry and currant fruit, underlying forest floor notes, wonderfully sweet tannin, surprising up-front opulence and beautiful purity, texture and length. This is an outstanding effort and a strong wine in 2012. Drink it over the next 20 years, as the acidity is quite low and the wine already approachable.” – Robert Parker, April 2015

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