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May 21, 2013

Cheval Blanc, Cos d’Estournel, Ducru Beaucaillou EP 2012 and other releases

cheval_blanc

Acta est fabula…well almost; a few more big names have released today: The legendary St.Emilion estate Cheval Blanc which is a favourite of Parker scoring 94-96 and the UK Trade alike, with a first tranche price of £3,700 a case and £1,850 a half case.  Cos d’Estournel is found a stones throw from Lafite Rothschild, arguably not ranked as a first growth in the 1855 classification due to a small stream that divides Pauillac and St.Estephe. The estate makes simply superb wine and we loved the 2012, as did Parker; if you are a Cos collector here is your 2012 allocation. La Conseillante is compelling, a leading Pomerol estate and great value for £660 a case, scoring 92-94 Parker. Also released; the well-known St.Julien property, Ducru Beaucaillou £765 a case and their second wine La Croix de Beaucaillou £240 a case 87-89 Parker and Chateau Lascombes £425, 90-92 Parker.

Cheval Blanc 12×75 – £3,700 IB – 94-96 Parker Points
Cheval Blanc is the most recent of the top ranked Bordeaux Crus and was part of the estates of Château Figeac until President Ducasse purchased the land in the 1830’s. Cheval Blanc remained in the same family until 1998 when it was purchased by the Chairman of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy and owner of Chateau d’Yquem, Bernard Arnault and a Belgian businessman, Albert Frère. Pierre Lurton was appointed as estate manager and under his considerable talent the estate has continued to flourish.

Château Cheval Blanc is situated in Saint-Emilion and together with Ausone was rated the only Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) in the 1955 Saint-Émilion classification. The estate is situated near Pétrus and even encroaches into the Pomerol commune, coupled with its Graves- like gravely soil, Cheval Blanc is unique in that it displays characteristics of Pomerol, Graves and its native Saint-Emilion. Cheval Blanc is blended using a preponderance of Cabernet Franc over Merlot and this leads to a distinct freshness with high concentrations of fruit and a rich enveloping bouquet.

The final blend for the 2012 Cheval Blanc was 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc. Despite the use of 100% new oak, there is not a hint of vanillin, toast or espresso notes in the aromatic bouquet, which is filled with scents of black currants, sweet cherries, lavender, forest floor and a hint of underbrush. Concentrated with a surprisingly lofty alcohol level of 13.9% as well as a tannin level that equals their 2010 (a wine bestowed a three-digit score), this full-bodied, opulent 2012 has a pH of 3.8, which accounts for its suppleness, velvety texture and heady richness. It is a great success in this vintage. It will be approachable early given its silky structural aspects, and should last for two decades. Robert Parker

Cos d’Estournel 2012 12×75 – £980, 92-95 Parker Points
Chateau Cos d’Estournel is perched on a hill of pebbles (‘Cos’ in the Gascon language), the estate is located just north of Lafite, near the border with Pauillac. Cos d’Estournel is an impressive wine, intense in youth with a masculine structure and concentrated fruit; it develops slowly but beautifully to release a unique perfume of incense not found in other Bordeaux wines. The estate is one of the most consistent performing Grand Crus and the introduction of such innovations as gravity controlled cellars will keep this fantastic wine at the forefront for years to come.

It has a saturated purple color, a classic style, abundant tannin, slight austerity, superb concentration, huge fruit, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, and a structured, muscular, well-delineated finish. This impressive, full-bodied Cos will need time to round into shape. Give it 4-5 years of cellaring and drink it over the following two decades. Robert Parker

Ducru Beaucaillou 2012 12×75 – £765, 90-92 Parker Points
Ducru competes with Las Cases for the title of the finest super second of St Julien. Today the wine continues to be dark and purple; it offers complex aromas of cedar, black truffle, tobacco, cassis and spices. The difference in the wines they are making today under Bruno Borie is that as well as the poise, elegance and the beauty of classic Ducru the wine now possess the power only found in the past in the finest vintages such as 1982.

The color is a healthy deep ruby/purple and the wine smells beautiful, exhibiting lots of floral, creme de cassis, licorice and graphite notes. Medium-bodied but slightly deficient in the mid-palate at present, it picks up speed and finishes with serious authority and power. This 2012 should be outstanding, but it is difficult to favorably compare the 2012 to the prodigious wines produced at Ducru in 2009 and 2010. The 2012 will require 4-6 years of cellaring and should drink well for 15-20 years. Robert Parker

Croix de Beaucaillou £240 a case 87-89 Parker Points
The second wine (also about 50% of the total production), the 2012 Croix du Beaucaillou is composed of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest mostly Merlot with 2% Petit Verdot. It is a soft, round, attractively endowed effort with a deep ruby/plum color as well as a sweet nose of black currants, dusty, loamy, earthy notes and a touch of lead pencil shavings and vanilla. Well-made and medium-bodied, this attractive 2012 should drink well for 10-12 years. Robert Parker

La Conseillante 2012 12×75 – £660 – 92-94 Parker Points
The 2012 La Conseillante exhibits a dark ruby/purple color as well as a beautiful, up-front, projected fragrance that includes mulberry and raspberry jam, licorice, lavender and underbrush. Rich and medium-bodied, this attractive effort possesses the estate’s hallmark elegance, finesse and sweet, velvety tannins. It should be approachable in its youth and last for 15+ years. Robert Parker

Lascombes 2012 12×75 – £425, 90-92 Parker Points
An outstanding wine in this vintage, the full-bodied 2012 Lascombes reveals more power, concentration and texture than many of its peers. Its dense blue/purple color is followed by notes of acacia flowers, blueberries, black raspberries, black currants, vanillin and toast. Medium to full-bodied with excellent texture (for a 2012), as well as good follow through and length, this soft, plush, outstanding Margaux should drink well for 12-15 years. Robert Parker