The last week has seen some notable releases, though too few have been priced at a level that has attracted much demand.
Today sees Bruno Borie’s excellent Ducru Beaucaillou at GBP 765 per dozen and Jean-Michel Laporte’s 2012 La Conseillante at GBP 660 per dozen. These are the buys of the day.
Cos d’Estournel is available at GBP 990 per dozen. This is down on last year’s wine but nonetheless a little full.
Cheval Blanc at GBP 3700 per dozen is as reassuringly expensive as ever. Ausone at GBP 3950 seems more realistically priced given the tiny quantity produced and the prices of older vintages.
A candidate for the buy of the vintage - along with Rauzan Segla – is Domaine de Chevalier at GBP 336 per dozen. Brilliant wine, correctly priced. These are four words that have rarely been applicable to this vintage.
Yesterday saw the release of the fresh and poised Calon Segur at £440 per case, which seems a reasonable enough price, if not a “must buy”. Clos Fourtet at £500 per case is not without its appeal: this is one of the more successful 2012 St Emilions, one which Mr Parker describes as a “killer”. We also saw Pichon-Baron at £700 per case.
Today we have three significant releases, notably Pichon Lalande, which was one of our picks of the vintage. At £650 per case, this looks to be sensibly-priced, and is less expensive than any other recent vintage available.
We also have the Bartons: Leoville and Langoa at £490 and £330 per case respectively. These are both honest wines and honestly-priced though neither are bargains. Pichon Lalande is easily our pick of the day.
After yesterday’s French public holiday, today has seen a great deal of action in terms of releases.
Pontet Canet headed the field at £690 per case, which appears to be the right price judging by sales. Haut Brion followed at £2800 – this again is worth looking at: an affordable first growth and one of the best wines of the vintage. La Mission Haut Brion at £1700 is also selling well.
Haut Bailly at £480 should not be overlooked – this is about half the price of the 2009 or 2010.
Robert Parker’s 2012 vintage report and reviews will make sobering reading for some. Consistent as ever, he has called the vintage for what it is: a mixed one, and one where price is absolutely key.
There are some winners. He rates many of the Pomerols very highly, and buyers of the first growths will feel that they have been rewarded with the fair prices for what we have seen so far. It is notable that, from our point of view, these have been the successes of the 2012 en-primeur campaign so far. As for the coming week or two, it is clear that for the 2012s to sell, they need to be priced well.
We should also mention John Kolasa of Chateaux Rauzan Segla and Canon. One of Bordeaux’s most experienced, intelligent and honest men, John released both of these wines at very sensible prices. Mr Parker’s positive reviews of both of these wines are well deserved.
Yesterday saw some notable Pauillac releases: Clerc Milon (GBP 340 per case) and d’Armailhac (GBP 280) from the Mouton stable, and the ever reliable Batailley (GBP 249).
This morning sees one of our wines of the vintage released: Ch. Margaux. Paul Pontallier has been making exceptional wines here for many years now, and is now firmly in his stride making some of the best wines in Bordeaux, indeed in the World. Sensibly priced at GBP 1,400 per six bottles in bond, this is a buy in our opinion; an opportunity to own something very special indeed.
Pavillon Rouge (GBP 440 per six) and Pavillon Blanc (GBP 560 per six) cannot be overlooked. The former a beautiful baby brother (or sister?) to the grand vin, the latter quite extraordinary as always.