Three wise men and their rather wonderful wines
Wise man 1: Alexandre Thienpont
Alexandre Thienpont has been at the helm of this extremely well situated Pomerol vineyard. The youngest Merlots were planted in 1959 and the youngest Cabernet Francs in 1948.
Vieux Chateau Certan 2012 (pk 6) £520 / 625€
“A top success, the 2012 Vieux Chateau Certan is composed of 87% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep mulberry, plum and black cherry fruit notes intermixed with touches of graphite and subtle smoke lead to a medium-bodied wine with beautiful intensity, well-integrated oak, a velvety opulence and a long, impressively pure finish. A strong effort, it should drink well for 15 or more years. Alexander Thienpont continues to turn out brilliant wines from this property situated on the high Plateau of Pomerol. The harvest took place between October 1 and 11, producing 33 hectoliters per hectare. The 2012 achieved 13.5% alcohol, a pH of 3.8 and an index of polyphenols as high as the 2010, which was somewhat surprising. It is not nearly as powerful or rich as the 2010 or the 2009. All the old vine parcels of Merlot made it into the final blend”.
Score: 92-94 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (206), April 2013
"This is a Merlot year for Alexandre and his son Guillaume: the 2012 a blend o 87% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and just 1% Cabernet Sauvignon (the latter due to a parcel being replanted at the moment.) The nose is very well defined and lively, real "energy" coming from the glass. There are crisp scents of blackcurrant, wild strawberry and a tangible stoniness - very expressive of its terroir. The palate is superb: real tension and purity here, crisp acidity, tensile tannins that lend this VCC edginess and race. The fruit is black rather than red with a sense of poise and superbly assimilated oak on the nervous finish. What a great Pomerol for the vintage! Tasted April 2013."
Score: 95-97 Neal Martin, eRobertParker.com, May 2013
Wise man 2: Francois Mitjavile
Francois Mitjavile needs no introduction to followers of JNwine. We have been fans of his stunning wines since the early nineties and he has always been generous in the allocation he gives us despite the demands placed on him by his admirers around the world. Once again he has produced stunning wines.
Chateau Tertre Roteboeuf 2012 , Grand Cru St Emilion (cs x 6bts) £548 / 648€
"80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, aged in 100% new oak. 2500 cases produced."
Score: 92-94 Robert Parker
“Ever the maverick, trust François Mitjaville to make a wine with 15% alcohol in a cool vintage from his special site on St Emilion's Côte Sud. And yet the wine carries its alcohol lightly, with texture, fruit and acidity all in harmony. It's almost exotic on the nose and palate, with hints of Asian spices, fresh coffee, orange peel and sweet figs and red fruits. Supple and refined with very stylish tannins and a lingering freshness. A great vigneron at the peak of his powers. Drink: 2018-30”
Score: 96 Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2013
Roc de Cambes 2012 (pk x 6bts) £195/230€
"80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark cassis colour, darker fruited and more mineral than Tertre Roteboeuf, not as sweet tasting. Savoury, fine grained, tightly structured, the Cabernet Sauvignon perhaps revealing its presence in an attractive austerity but also a zestiness. Much more to come."
Score: 16.5+ Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2013
Wise man 3: Alfred Tesseron
Alfred Tesseron needs very little introduction. He has been making classic Pauillac here every year since 1994 and recent vintages have been amongst the best ever, scoring perfect 100 points from Robert Parker in both 2009 and 2010. The vineyard is now 100% organic and bio-dynamic and worked by horses. For 2012 Pontet Canet is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot in 60% new oak with a yield of 32 hl/ha. 2012 proved very trying for even the top dogs of the Medoc so Monsieur Tesseron is to be particularly highly commended for his efforts at Pontet Canet.
Chateau Pontet Canet, 3eme Cru, Pauillac 2012 (pk x 6 £345 / 12.50€) (pk x 12 £690 / 825€)
“A softer, less powerful and less prodigiously endowed Pontet Canet, the 2012 exhibits notes of creme de cassis and new barrique vanillin followed by a medium-bodied, elegant wine with sweeter tannin (and less of it) than is found in the great vintages that immediately precede it. The 2012 is certainly outstanding and, in fact, many readers may prefer it to the blockbuster, out-of-this-world, over-sized 2010, 2009 and 2008. Medium-bodied, pure and expressive, this classic Pauillac should only require 5-6 years of cellaring. It should drink well for two decades thereafter. No one will confuse the 2012 Pontet Canet with the 2008, 2009 or 2010, but proprietor Alfred Tesseron has turned in another high level performance in this more challenging vintage (especially true in the Medoc)”.
Score: 91-94 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (206), April 2013
2012 Bordeaux: Two Great Value wines for early enjoyment
L’Hospitalet de Gazin 2012 x 12 En Primeur £199 / €229
The vineyards of Pomerol gradually developed between the 12th century and the French Revolution under the aegis of the Chevaliers of Saint-Jean of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta. Château Gazin, which was a hamlet in the 18th century, is probably located on the site of the 'Hospital of Pomeyrols', built by the Chevaliers to receive pilgrims on the Santiago de Compostela route. This was the inspiration for the name of the property's second wine l'Hospitalet de Gazin. L'Hospitalet de Gazin was created in 1986 so that Château Gazin could be made with only the best grapes from each harvest. The vines are cultivated using traditional growing methods and an environmentally-friendly approach with ploughing, organic fertilizers, minimum use of pesticides and manual harvests. According the 2012 vintage of the grand cuvee a massive 93-95 points, Robert Parker described it as "a powerful, concentrated, dark plum/purple-hued wine displaying notes of balsam wood, forest floor, camphor, blackberries and cassis ... Full, rich and intense, this impressive 2012 reminds me of the 2001, only slightly more masculine. Expect more of the same from the second wine, but with an earlier drinking window, probably 2014 onwards."
Price shown is under bond and excludes VAT & duty.
Providence 2012 x 6 En Primeur £255 / €285
"A blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, the 2012 Providence exhibits an earthy, new saddle leather, spicy, masculine style that is less expressive than most Pomerols. There is plenty of density, power and richness, but the wine seems monolithic and somewhat unformed at present. I suspect it will come around given how recent vintages have performed, but for now, it is closed and inaccessible."
Score: 88-90 eRobertParker.com, Feb 2013
"Deep dark cherry colour. Less immediately aromatic than some. Savoury and juicy and delicious. Refined and velvety and long. Much more voluptuous than most Moueix wines so far tasted."
Score: 17 pts Drink 2013-2025 Richard Hemming, Jancis Robinson Purple Pages, 8 April 2013
Price shown is under bond and excludes VAT & duty