2012 Bordeaux witnessed how growers and winemakers rose to challenges and crafted wonderful wines by responding quickly to weather conditions, adopting rigorous selection and applying years of experience to coax the best from what was a small, and at times challenging, vintage. 2012 growing season began in rather wet conditions, flowering timings were sporadic and vineyard managers had to combat various humidity-derived issues like coulure and mildew. Summer was very hot and dry, whilst this fast tracked ripening for majority of vines, it also caused stunted growth for some.
September brought slightly cooler temperatures and much-needed rain, boosting harvest size and restoring balance to otherwise very small and concentrated berries. 2012 is more a Merlot than Cabernet vintage. Left Bank reds tend to bear an old-school Bordeaux touch of austerity and herbaceous notes; whilst Right Bank reds show elegance, restrain and a very pretty red fruit profile.
At 10 year old, majority of Bordeaux 2012 are coming around showing generous fruit and open-knit tannin texture. Enjoy these great value Bordeaux 2012 picks this year as they turn 10 years old. Here’s our highlight picks for best value and readiness-to-drink.
2012 Leoville Barton (WA92)
Dense ruby/purple, with cassis licorice and forest floors notes in the aromatics, Léoville-Barton’s 2012 is a relatively big, rich, masculine style of wine. This full-bodied wine needs 5-8 years of cellaring and should evolve easily for 25-30 years.
2012 Pontet Canet (WA93)
This impeccably run, biodynamically farmed estate of Alfred Tesseron goes from strength to strength. The 2012 triumphs once again with its notes of dark plum, blackcurrant, licorice and almost a hint of truffle, its full-bodied, supple tannins, and beautiful, expensive mouthfeel. Complex and deep, this dense ruby/purple-colored wine may not be at the level of the 2009 or 2010, but it is a successful wine in this vintage, and a significant wine in 2012. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2035.
2012 Pavie (WA95)
The full-bodied, opaque purple-hued 2012 exhibits a beautiful nose of mulberries, black cherries, cedar wood, high quality toasty oak, lead pencil shavings, crushed chalk and floral notes. This complex, authoritative, full-throttle Pavie possesses much more accessibility and precociousness than most vintages. It is another brilliant effort from proprietors Chantal and Gerard Perse. It should be drinkable in 8-10 years and last for three decades. From 47-year-old vines, Pavie, one of the largest estates in St.-Emilion (92 acres), has once again hit pay dirt with their 2012 Pavie. Yields were 28 hectoliters per hectare (which is slightly above the 26 hectoliters per hectare in 2010), and the harvest was exceptionally late. The tannins may be the sweetest of any young Pavie I have tasted since the 2001 (which the 2012 vaguely resembles).
2012 Quinault l’Enclos (WA88)
This property, discovered and resurrected by Dr. Alain Raynaud, was acquired by Chateau Cheval Blanc and with a few refinements as well as a label change, the quality of the terroir (within the city limits of Libourne) continues to impress. Richly fruity, spicy and earthy, with attractive black cherry and currant fruit, this medium-bodied wine has soft tannins and seems ideal for drinking over the next 7-10 years. Drink: 2015 – 2025