Bordeaux 2012 Bibendum tasting
I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the past couple of months reading various opinions on the latest Bordeaux vintage, receiving emails about the quality and release prices of said wines, and generally thinking so what? I’m not into investment wine; I buy wine to drink and enjoy now. I have a few prized bottles that I picked up in The Rhone and Burgundy last year that require a few years and I’m prepared to wait for them, but that’s as far as my long term plans stretch. However when I saw a competition on Jancis Robinson’s website to win tickets for the forthcoming Bibendum tasting I though why not give it a go… And a couple of weeks later I was delighted to receive a congratulatory email to say I’d won a pair!
This was the 8th Bibendum Bordeaux tasting and took place in the wonderful surroundings of Lord’s cricket ground – I was at the test match at Lord’s a few weeks ago and didn’t expect to be back quite so soon! This is the biggest Bordeaux tasting event in the UK and is open to us mere consumers as well as those in the trade. What I particularly like about the event is a) the opportunity to meet some of the winemakers and b) each Chateau is asked to bring a second vintage if their choice to taste alongside the latest release.
With over 70 Chateaux present this was certainly the place to explore the 2012 vintage. The nursery pavilion at Lord’s is a wonderful space and the room is laid out in a series of long tables, with each of the appellations grouped together. Its a great way of establishing the winners of the vintage. Overall I found that the 2012s showed lots of fruit – plenty of blackcurrant and cassis, but perhaps lacking concentration and maybe a tad green, particularly on the Left Bank. The Right Bank appellations of Pomerol and St Emilion certainly shone but I was also impressed with Margaux and the ever consistent St Julien. But the real winner for me were the whites of Pessac – I’m new to white Bordeaux but I’m looking forward to giving these wines a fair amount of attention when I visit the region in July.
Chateau Calon Segur, St Estephe (£250)
Delicious mix of black fruit, violets and minerality. Very fresh with lively acidity. The second wine Calon showed was 2007 which I didn’t enjoy and was nowhere near the quality I tasted at a recent vertical tasting.
Chateau Batailley, Pauillac (£245)
Lots if fruit and freshness with good concentration. Also really enjoyed the 2007 on show. Good value for sure.
Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron, Pauillac (£700)
Very elegant by Pauillac standards, reminiscent of summer pudding. Definitely a better wine than Comtese de Lalande in 2012.
Chateau Leoville Barton, St Julien (£490)
Super concentrated, polished, with delightful minerality and spicy back notes. I think this will be a cracker in 10 years time. Langoa Barton was another good wine with bags of fruit front and centre.
Chateau Cantenac Brown, Margaux (£285)
I wrote down “best so far” after tasting this – delightfully elegant, yet muscular and beautifully structured. Lots of cassis but just a hint of red fruit too.
Chateau Gazin, Pomerol (£440)
Lovely mixture of red and black fruit, soft almost buttery texture with lashings of acid.
Chateau la Conseillante, Pomerol (£650)
Powerful and concentrated, fantastic texture and very pure fruit – delightful (the 2010 was spectacular but so is the price at £1,600 per case in bond)
Chateau Rouget, Pomerol (£265)
A fine and delicate wine, simple but delightful. The 2004 was also delicious and just about ready to drink now.
Chateau Le Prieure, St Emilion (£225)
Fruity, fragrant, concentration and very charming.
Chateau Figeac, St Emilion (£525)
Took me a while to get my head around this one as it was almost backward. Not a lot on the initial attack but a wonderful elegant finish. Lots going for it and I’m looking forward to my visit in the summer.
Chateau Troplong Mondot, St Emilion (£595)
Pure Ribena and cassis – possibly the most fruit forward of all the reds I tasted – I was amazed there is only 8% of Cabernet in the blend (90% Merlot)
Chateau de Fieuzal Blanc, Pessac-Leognan
Plenty of cuts, even tropical fruit with deliciously integrated oak. Delightfully refreshing after all those reds! 65% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Semillon
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, Pessac-Leognan
Pure class with lots of fruit combines with a spicy and exotic finish.
I will happily pay for a ticket to next year’s event!