En Primeur 2012 is now in the eleventh hour, with only a few major chateaux yet to release. 2012 is broadly speaking better than 2011 and on par with 2008, especially on the right bank where Merlot has shinned and as Parker declared is not a million miles away from the glorious 2009 and 2010 vintages.
Pavie Macquin which is found on the same plateau as Pavie has released at £390 a steal considering its 92-95 score. One should not forget about Croix de Labrie, also a leading St Emilion estate, which was awarded 92-95 points and extremely tempting at £335 a case.
There have been numerous well priced left bank wines released today, including the leading St Julien estate Beychevelle, which is very popular in Asia due to the Dragon boat on the label. Gloria another winning wine from the same village which scored 87-89 points and is £235 a case.
The always popular Grand Puy Lacoste is one of the best value Pauillac wines this year priced at £340 (87-89 points). It perennially provides an accessible version of the other leading estates from the most famous village on the planet.
Cantenac Brown, a veritable cracker from the village of Margaux was awarded 90-93 points by Parker and available for £280, while D’Issan which scored 87-89 points is available for £290. If you like the more fragrant style of Margaux for your cellar these are always a fantastic wines after 5-6 years ageing in bottle and drink for a decade thereafter. Please also find the compelling La Lagune 90-92 points for £395 a case.
2012 remains a fantastic vintage for wines such as these, a vintage which will be approachable long before the great ’05s, ’09s and ’10s offering wines that will combine good complexity, density and ageing potential allowing collectors the option to start pulling their corks in 5-8 years.
Beychevelle 2012 12×75 – £460, 89-91 Parker Points
A strong, solid effort from Beychevelle, the 2012 exhibits a deep ruby/plum color in addition to a sweet perfume of mulberries, black currants, jammy cherries, vanilla and damp earth. With good power and more depth than many Medocs as well as the estate’s hallmark finesse and elegance, this excellent, possibly outstanding wine possesses sweet tannin and more mid-palate depth than many of its peers. Robert Parker
Pavie-Macquin 2012 12×75 – £390, 92-95 Parker Points
A dense blue/black color is accompanied by notes of creosote, graphite, black fruits, vanillin, chocolate and tapenade. Rich, concentrated and full-bodied, it has a spicy, compacted, layered mouthfeel. Given how past vintages seemed to close down after bottling, this beauty will probably need 5-6 years of cellaring and keep for two decades or more. A stunning blend of 85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2012 Pavie Macquin came in at 14.4% natural alcohol. This vineyard, which enjoys a tremendous terroir high on the plateau above Pavie Decesse, is planted in pure limestone and clay soils. The harvest took place between October 17-18. Robert Parker
Croix de Labrie 2012 12×75 – £335, 93-95 Parker Points
If you want to impress a friend with a pure, hedonistic St.-Emilion that also offers an intellectual challenge, the 2012 Croix de Labrie, a St.-Emilion fruit bomb, is the wine for you. Unfortunately, the 250-case production means this cuvee is limited in availability. Aromas of incense, Christmas fruitcake, Asian plum sauce, blackberries, licorice and truffles soar from the glass of this dense plum/purple-colored wine. Opulent, voluptuously textured and medium to full-bodied with no hard edges to be found, it will drink well for a decade after bottling. Robert Parker
Grand Puy Lacoste 2012 12×75 – £340, 87-89 Parker Points
Aromas of tobacco leaf, roasted herbs and red and black currants cascade from the glass of this medium-bodied, restrained, down-sized 2012 Grand Puy Lacoste. Displaying a dark ruby/purple color and no herbaceousness, this lighter-styled wine is somewhat reminiscent of the 1999 and 2001. Drink it over the next 10-12 years. Robert Parker
Lacoste Borie 2012 12×75 – £155 - The second wine of Grand Puy Lacoste
Cantenac Brown 2012 12×75 – £280, 90-93 Parker Points
The 2012 Cantenac Brown, one of the most impressive Margaux I tasted, is the complete package – from the initial attack to the layered, rich finish. Dense ruby/purple-hued with notes of licorice, mulberries, black currants, asphalt and spring flowers, this medium to full-bodied, concentrated, rich effort does not reveal an excess of rusticity or astringency. It should drink well for 10-15 years. This under-the-radar chateau never receives much attention even though it is the beneficiary of a new, conscientious proprietor. Robert Parker
D’Issan 2012 12×75 – £290, 87-89 Parker Points
A touch of herbaceousness and abundant underbrush characteristics kept my score from going higher. Nevertheless, the wine offers an attractive fragrance of herbs, blue and red fruits and loamy soil undertones. Medium-bodied with an angular mouthfeel, it should drink well for a decade or more. An elegant, restrained style of Margaux made from yields of 37 hectoliters per hectare, the 2012 d’Issan is composed of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Merlot. Fifty-three percent of the production made it into the grand vin, which achieved 13.2% natural alcohol. Robert Parker
La Lagune 2012 12×75 – £395, 90-92 Parker Points
This is an excellent effort from this estate at the southern end of the Medoc. A tell-tale, seductive, round, medium to full-bodied style is present in this forward, precocious, delicious wine with plenty of charm and finesse. Medium-bodied with sweet tannin and plenty of toasty, black currant and loamy soil notes intermixed with hints of spice box and vanillin are present in this nicely textured, complete, attractive effort. Drink it over the next 12-15 years. Robert Parker
Gloria 2012 12×75 – £235, 87-89 Parker Points
Another winner from this estate, which has been on a hot streak over recent vintages, the 2012 Gloria is unquestionably of classified growth quality. It offers a dark ruby/purple color, attractive, elegant, herbaceously-tinged black currant fruit, soft tannins, a satisfying, fleshy mouthfeel, a good mid-palate and ripe tannin in the finish. I would not be surprised to see it evolve for 10-12+ years. Robert Parker