Category Archives: Bordeaux 2012

2012 reds are better than we thought

At the end of April, Robert Parker publishes his review of the 2012 vintage ‘in bottle’. Having tasted a lot of the top reds in bottle, I’m confident that he’ll be pretty enthusiastic about this underrated vintage, which many people dumped into a ‘so-so’ run of 2011, 2012 and 2013. And the great thing is, you can take delivery now and drink them young.

Moueix 2012 - 03 - Version 2

Here are just over 100 wines that I score 90 or more from bottle, listed by appellation, and some dry whites from Pessac-Léognan. Prices are ‘in bond’ (exc duty and VAT). I haven’t had a chance yet to taste the famous Pomerols Vieux Chateau Certan, Le Pin or Lafleur (if they’ll let me) and several St-Emilions including Pavie and Angelus. I have no doubt that the last two will meet with Parker’s approval.

The ‘best to drink’ windows are not a joke. The tannins on many of the wines are so soft that you can drink many of them over the next few years with a great deal of pleasure. Keep reading

2012 En Primeur overview

Apr 11, 2013 - 027The campaign to sell the top 150+ Bordeaux wines from 2012 en primeur, i.e. while still in barrel, is coming to an end: there are many attractive wines but there’s little price incentive to buy early. Here’s a business round-up, a vintage summary, my top 150 wines from the vintage and en primeur report for Harpers, the trade mag.

Here are the links:

2012 weather report
Vintage summary and my top 40 as published by Livex
My top 150 and En Primeur article for Harpers

Review of the 2012 En Primeur campaign

The wines are still on offer from leading wine merchants with only a handful of wines showing as sold out. By all accounts, it’s been a fairly disastrous sales campaign. Given the gloomy prospects for the 2013 vintage, however, time will tell if some of the top Chateaux were wise not to drop their pants on prices. Keep reading

Bordeaux 2012 from barrel – en primeur article

Here are my scores (out of 100) and estimated maturity dates on the top 150 red wines from the seven main appellations – Pomerol and St-Emilion on the Right Bank, Pessac-Leognan to the south of Bordeaux on the Left Bank, and Margaux, St-Julien, Pauillac and St-Estephe in the Medoc, also Left Bank.

These scores will be on Livex and in an article on the primeurs for Harpers Wine and Spirit magazine. The price is my estimate for a case of 12, in Bond (ex-VAT), as offered by specialist UK wine merchants.

Harpers Wine & Spirit

Get the article here. pdfpdf – 1.2mb


Keep reading

Bordeaux 2012 – vintage summary & my top 40

This article was posted today on Livex, the fine wine exchange.

I’ve tasted over 500 Bordeaux wines from the 2012 vintage in April.

Key points about Bordeaux 2012

1. 2012 is a good to very good vintage, but not a great one.

2. It’s certainly a vintage for drinking, not investment. Many wines will be good to drink in the short to medium term.

3. 2012 was a late harvest which tended to favour the earlier ripening Merlot over the Cabernets, partly because drizzle, humidity and finally heavy rain set in from the second week of October onwards.

4. It’s an uneven vintage but hundreds of reds have lovely colour, supple fruit, crowd-pleasing texture and no hard edges.

5. Happily, very few wines show any green, unripe character. The fruit is ripe (thanks to ten weeks of sunshine from mid-July onwards) even if many wines lack real depth, complexity and length. Keep reading

Bordeaux 2012 – weather report

The Bordeaux 2012 en primeur or ‘futures’ campaign has kicked off.  Over the last month, wine merchants and press from around the world have been in Bordeaux for the annual tastings of young barrel samples, and opening prices for some of the leading wines have started to trickle out.

Here is my Bordeaux 2012 weather report, which provides an important background to the character of the vintage. The following is a slightly updated version of the one that was published a fortnight ago by Jancis Robinson and Livex. (Included here are daily tracking graphs for June, July and August which I’ve just compiled, and some photos.)

I’ll follow up with my thoughts on the wines.

I wrote three 2012 harvest reports for Jancis’s site entitled ’Scorching summer but no rush’ last August, followed by ’The Late Show’ in October and lastly ’The end in sight at last’. Given these headlines, you’d be right in thinking that it was a late harvest. What was largely missing from those articles were some weather statistics, so here they are in a graphical format.

After the two outstanding vintages of 2009 and 2010, it’s only normal that onlookers will compare 2012 with 2011. Yet the weather conditions in 2011 and 2012 could hardly have been more different, even if we like to slot two years into the same bracket of ’good but not great’.


1. A late bud-burst and a wet April meant a slow start – the opposite of 2011.

2. Mildew was a real threat and had to be kept in check.

3. Mixed weather in June resulted in the flowering being drawn out.

4. Bordeaux enjoyed an excellent summer from mid-July to late September.

5. August was dry and hot but veraison (when grapes change colour) was spread out.

6. The dry whites were picked in fine September weather.

7. The weather changed towards the end of September, and October was up and down.

8. Humid, drizzly weather from 6 October ’encouraged’ many to pick.

9. Expensive grape-sorting machines earned their keep.

10. Sauternes had a challenging year, after three great vintages.

11. Yields were low but not as bad as other parts of France.

12. Quality is uneven and there should be some very good wines.



1. Late winter, late season Keep reading