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Roger Voss2012期酒5天品酒笔记

2013-05-02 12:01


The 2012 Bordeaux red vintage surprised attendees of the annual barrel tasting event currently underway in Bordeaux for two reasons: One, the quality is strikingly good considering the difficult growing season, and two, tasters had no expectations since the Bordelais didn’t buzz about the vintage in advance.

So what are buyers and importers specially saying about the reds at this much-anticipated event—organized by Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux? For one, that the Merlot is quality.

“With the Merlots, we were able to take advantage of the warm summer,” says Thomas Duroux, director of Château Palmer in Margaux. Of his wine, which is half Merlot and half Cabernet, Duroux says, “The [Merlot] is from a hot, ripe vintage.” By contrast, because of rain at harvest, “the Cabernet is from a cool, Atlantic vintage.”

Another outstanding quality of this year’s barrel tastings is the fruit-forward character of the red wines. The black currant fruit and fresh acidity drive the flavor—these are characteristics that will lead to delicious wines that can be drunk young. That same fruitiness and freshness is also evident in the dry whites.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the sweet wines of Sauternes. After several great vintages, this year proved unimpressive. In fact, three top chateaus—Château d’Yquem, Château Rieussec and Château Suduiraut—did not produce Sauternes this year. Only the cooler, lighter Barsacs upheld the sweet end of the Bordeaux spectrum.


Day2:En Primeur, Day Two: The Magic of Merlot
Ratings and reviews of stellar wines from Saint-Émilion and Pomerol.

Published on Apr 9, 2013

Everyone is talking about the magic of Merlot at this year’s En Primeur—and based on today’s barrel tastings of the 2012 wines from the Pomerol subregion, they will indeed be buzzworthy bottlings.

For lovers of opulent, rich Merlot-based Bordeaux blends, this vintage will be one to savor. With 13.5 percent alcohol, and ripeness balanced by fresh acidity, these Pomerol-produced wines show impressive uniformity. Saint-Émilion, too, is not far behind in producing some stellar wines.

“We had great luck with the Merlot, and we decided it made the wine,” says Jean-Luc Thunevin, owner of Château Valandraud, newly promoted to a Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé B, of his 2012 vintage, which is 100 percent Merlot. He, like many producers, had problems with the Cabernet Franc—a star of the past two vintages—because it was picked after the Merlot and suffered from harvest-time rain.

While tasters laud the Merlots, they are worried about pricing—and for good reason. After over-the-top prices in 2009, 2010 and (unjustifiably) 2011, American wholesale buyers are looking for good wines at good prices to bring American palates back to Bordeaux.

Gregory Balogh, president and CEO of major import player Maisons Marques & Domaines, based in Oakland, calls the 2012 vintage Bordeaux’s opportunity to make a “market correction.”

Translation? To bring the price down—or, as Matt Tornabene, of Manhattan Wine Company, puts it, to provide “a lot of value at a particular price point.” Tornabene stressed that 2012 can be the vintage that brings Bordeaux back for collectors who want drink-now options and don’t want to tie up a lot of capital waiting for wines to mature.

From a supplier standpoint, négociant Christian Moueix says that the older vintages from his stable of Pomerols and Saint-Émilions are at better price points and in great demand.

Meanwhile, China is a conundrum. Many of the Bordelais who put all their bottles in the China basket are finding it was a mistake, considering the poor 2010 and 2011 En Primeur sales. Yet Bordeaux remains the number one wine region in Hong Kong, China and other Asian countries, including Japan and South Korea. Editor and Founder of the Mandarin magazine Wine Now, Lan Chi Sun, claims the future market for Bordeaux is strong, despite the recent blips and the new government’s crack down on extravagant wine banquets. But these problems have sent many Bordelais back to the traditional markets like the United States.

Check out my top 10 Bordeaux 2012 Saint-Émilion and Pomerol barrel-tasting ratings and reviews.

Bordeaux wines tasted from barrel are awarded scores in three-point ranges. When the wines are bottled in two or three years, the wines are reassessed, and final ratings are given.

96–98 Château Pétrus 2012 Pomerol. Barrel sample. The first vintage from a newly-constructed cellar, this is a beautiful wine, with glorious Merlot flavors. It's full of spice and dense with velvet tannins. The wine has great opulence and its fruit is well integrated into the structure. —R.V.

95–97 Château Ausone 2012 Saint-Émilion. Barrel sample. Dominated by Cabernet Franc, this is a firm, solid and beautifully perfumed wine, lighter than some wines from Ausone. The tannins are velvet although with a strong mineral character. It's fruity at the same time as being structured—a wine for long-term aging. —R.V.

95–97 Château Cheval Blanc 2012 Saint-Émilion. Barrel sample. An impressively dense wine with a serious structure. Dusty tannins go with a powerful structure and a wonderfully deep texture. Very solid and chunky. —R.V.

95–97 Château Valandraud 2012 Saint-Émilion. Barrel sample. Promoted to Saint-Emilion’s elite Premier Grand Cru Classé category, Valandraud's 2012 shows both a mineral character and intense acidity to go with the smooth and beautiful black currant fruits. Power and elegance. —R.V.

94–96 Château Angélus 2012 Saint-Émilion. Barrel sample. Barrel sample. A seriously rich, full, extracted wine, packed with dense tannins and complex fruits. The wine has weight, dark tannins and a solid character that will certainly age well. —R.V.

94–96 Château Belair Monange 2012 Saint-Émilion. Barrel sample. Now incorporating the Magdelaine vineyard, Belair-Monange is a fine, complex wine, dense and just austere. The wine is firmly in the tannic style—dark and brooding. —R.V.

94–96 Vieux Château Certan 2012 Pomerol. Barrel sample. Perfumed, elegant wine with an unusually high proportion of Merlot at the expense of Cabernet. Spicy, fruit cake and dried fruits go with a stylish blackberry character. Complex and set for a long aging. —R.V.

94–96 Château la Fleur-Pétrus 2012 Pomerol. Barrel sample. The neighbor of Pétrus, La Fleur Pétrus is darkly tannic, rich, spicy and powerful. It's rich—touched by wood and black plum skins— and intently structured for long-term aging. —R.V.

94–96 Vieux Château Mazerat 2012 Saint-Émilion. Barrel sample. A very fine, concentrated wine. Full of solid black fruits and tannins, it's seriously powerful, driven by its great fruits and intense mineral texture. For long-term aging. —R.V.

94–96 Château Pavie 2012 Saint-Émilion. Barrel sample. This is a powerful wine which exhibits a change in style towards elegance in recent years. The palate has delicious Merlot fruitiness along with black-currant acidity and a dense structure. Fine minerality at the end with juicy acidity. —R.V.

94–96 Château Trotanoy 2012 Pomerol. Barrel sample. A rich and powerful wine with great fruits and solid tannins. This shows the power as well as elegance of Merlot in 2012—dark, ripe and fruity. Dark structure and acidity shine at the finish. —R.V.


Day3:The Great Whites of Bordeaux
Ratings and reviews of stellar wines from Pessac-Léognan and Graves.

Published on Apr 10, 2013

“Bordeaux” and white wine probably isn’t your first thought, but the 2012 vintage may change that. While tasting in Bordeaux’s Pessac-Léognan region today, I discovered some whites that are serious and delicious—and provide better value than white Burgundy at the same quality level.

The wines are typical Bordeaux in that they’re blends, but unique in that the grape combination features Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. The 2012 growing conditions—according to the detailed and unbiased 2012 vintage report by Denis Dubourdieu, Laurence Geny, and other members of the University of Bordeaux Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences—were ideal for producing complex, dry whites (just as they were for producing stellar Merlot). The resulting white wine offers richness, concentration, a refreshing touch of herbaceousness and ageability.

But even the great quality hasn’t convinced everyone these high-end whites are must-buys. Annette Alvarez-Peters, global wine buyer for Costco Wholesale, commented that they’re at “the wrong price point.” Others believe that if you’re looking to invest in futures for Bordeaux, these are indeed bargains—and Pessac-Léognan is the place to get them.

Yet why this appellation—Bordeaux’s oldest commercial wine region—isn’t being buzzed about more remains a mystery to many. It’s the only En Primeur region for dry white wines and currently one of the most adventurous. What I’ve discovered over the years is that its winemakers and owners here are willing to take risks for the sake of improving quality—and not just when it comes to whites.

Fabien Teitgen, winemaker at Château Smith Haut Lafitte, has been experimenting with Syrah and Grenache, for example, as climate change continues to affect grape maturation in Bordeaux. Look out for these bottlings next.

Top 10 Bordeaux En Primeur Pessac-Léognan and Graves Red Wines

96–98 Château Haut-Brion 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. A beautifully ripe wine that’s very dense in its character. The wine is generous and rich, while also structured. It already has delicious black plum fruit and velvet tannins. A wonderful, opulent wine that’s packed with full-throated Merlot. —R.V.

94–96 Château La Mission Haut-Brion 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. Ripe and concentrated, this shows all the opulence for which La Mission Haut-Brion is famed. It's dark, intense, and packed with rich Merlot. —R.V.

93–95 Domaine de Chevalier 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. Firm, wood-aged character show strongly here. The wine is dense and very firm, with a dark feel of extraction, but the juicy fruitiness underneath shows enormous potential. —R.V.

93–95 Château Haut-Bailly 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. Dark in structure, with a sense of austerity and dark tannins, this is a wine that will need time to develop. There’s a hint of tobacco and ripe plum on the palate, and the aftertaste promises juiciness. —R.V.

92–94 Château de Fieuzal 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. Considerable wood-aging yields notes of vanilla and spice on this smooth, modern wine. There’s ample ripe fruit to add balance, but it's going to be a generous wine, revealing a rich, full character. —R.V.

92–94 Château de France 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. This is a full-bodied wine that’s packed with dark, dry tannins. The palate expresses the juiciness of the vintage with plenty of black currant fruitiness. It promises a fine spiciness in the future. —R.V.

92–94 Château Haut-Brion 2012 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion (Pessac-Léognan). Barrel sample. This dark and rich wine is the second wine of Château Haut-Brion. Intensely ripe Merlot gives it a lush, but concentrated and spicy character. Opulent in texture, it’s full of flavor. —R.V.

92–94 Château Olivier 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. This is a rich wine with smooth tannins and velvet texture. The palate has remarkable density and a full mouthfeel that’s concentrated and firm. The fruit is ripe and juicy. —R.V.

92–94 Château Pape-Clément 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. A very dry and tannic wine, this is hard edged, showing distinct minerality and a dry, gravelly feel. It has herbal notes, followed by rich spice and dark, brooding fruits. A powerful wine with a sense of extraction. —R.V.

92–94 Château Smith Haut-Lafitte 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. Dark, extracted and dense, this is a hard-edged wine that initially lacks fruitiness. Only as the wine develops does it show its powerful density and hints of juiciness. —R.V.

Top 10 Bordeaux White Wine En Primeur (all appellations)

94–96 Château Haut-Brion 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. This is a ripe, wonderful wine that’s full of spice, pineapple and apricot with a green tang of herbaceous character. It's simply beautiful, with great style and a deceptively simple use of wood. —R.V.

93–95 Domaine de Chevalier 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. Complex, rounded and full bodied, this wine is still reticent at the moment, hiding its rich fruit. As it develops, this will be impressive, with its mineral texture over apricot fruits and layers of spice and wood. —R.V.

93–95 Château La Louvière 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. With all its fruitiness and full, stylish character, this is a ripe wine with weight, richness, spice, lemon and tropical fruits. Opulent on the palate, it ends with an intensely fruity finish. —R.V.

92–94 Château de France 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. This very textured, steely wine is serious and complex. With significant richness, a mineral character and a fine depth of fruit, this is a wine meant for aging. —R.V.

92–94 Château La Mission Haut-Brion 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. This is a ripe and beautifully generous wine. It’s expressive with spice, tropical fruits and a rounded structure that shows off its deliciously full, fruity character. Very generous. —R.V.

92–94 Château Larrivet Haut-Brion 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. This is a big, rich, spicy wine, with a generous, warm character. The palate boasts significant weight with ripe pear and apricot flavors that finish with a touch of ginger and minerality. —R.V.

92–94 Château Malartic-Lagravière 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. Spice and green-plum flavors meld beautifully in this wine that’s already showing deliciously. It has a fine, mineral texture that makes it edgy and tight on the palate. Acidity cuts straight through the palate like a fine laser. —R.V.

92–94 Château Margaux 2012 Pavillon Blanc de Château Margaux (Bordeaux Blanc). Barrel sample. This wine is delicious—proof positive of the continuing improvement of white wines from Château Margaux. Lively and fresh, it’s accented with wood spice, apple and pear flavors. This vintage produced the smallest quantity of white wine ever made at Margaux. —R.V.

92–94 Château Olivier 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. Bright, rich and fruity with a tropical pineapple and peach feel, this wine shows signs of wood aging while keeping its pure, fruity character. Ripe and full. —R.V.

92–94 Château Smith Haut-Lafitte 2012 Pessac-Léognan. Barrel sample. Warm, ripe, fruity and opulent, this wine has remarkable weight. Very rounded and rich on the palate, it boasts ripe apricot and dried peach flavor and a touch of pepper that reveals its alcohol. —R.V.


Day 4: The Year of the Three Ps
Ratings and reviews of stellar wines from Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe and Saint-Julien.

Published on Apr 11, 2013


This year at En Primeur, it’s all about the three Ps—Pomerol for magnificent Merlot, Pessac-Léognan for notable whites, and after today’s tastings, Pauillac for stellar Cabernet Sauvignon.

But don’t think these subregions as three of a kind. The wines made here are entirely different from one another, because of their terroirs. Pomerol’s clay soils are uniquely suited to grow Merlot; in Pessac-Léognan, the proximity to the warm city climate allows growers to pick their whites earlier than in other regions; Pauillac’s gravel is ideal for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, revealing the true resilience of the variety.

“These wines are very structured,” says Philippe Dhalluin, managing director of Château Mouton-Rothschild. “The dry summer meant that the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes had thick skins. So despite the rain at harvest time, we were able to wait before picking with no problems.”

Indeed, it’s becoming clear to thousands of attendees of this week’s En Primeur that despite the poor growing conditions of this vintage, hard work from great winemakers resulted in good wines, and in these three appellations in particular, great ones.

Tomorrow: Margaux, Moulis-en-Médoc and Listrac-Médoc.

2012 Top Bordeaux En Primeur Pauillac, Saint-Julien and Saint-Estèphe Red Wines

96–98 Château Mouton Rothschild 2012 Pauillac. Barrel sample. This powerful, impressive wine is comprised of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon. It's seriously structured, with loads of black currants and dark tannin, and revels on the finish with the juicy, fresh acidity of this vintage. A fine Mouton, this is the first vintage produced in the chateau’s new cellar. —R.V.

96–98 Château Pontet Canet 2012 Pauillac. Barrel sample. This is a structured, ripe wine that also has a great sense of freshness—vibrant blackberry flavor and lively acidity. The finish retains the same delicious freshness and brightness of this vintage. —R.V.

95–97 Château Lafite-Rothschild 2012 Pauillac. Barrel sample. Full and powerfully concentrated, this wine has dense acidity, sweet black fruits and very fine tannins. The concentration is enormous but it expresses itself through the prism of smooth, velvet-textured tannins. —R.V.

95–97 Château Léoville Las Cases 2012 Saint-Julien. Barrel sample. This is a very solid wine with tannins that are very firm and dense. There is power without excessive alcohol, lending a classic feel, and a pure line from fruit, acidity and tannin. The result is as much about fruit as structure. —R.V.

94–96 Château Calon-Ségur 2012 Saint-Estèphe. Barrel sample. Big and ripe, this is a powerful wine with 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, giving the wine a solid, dusty structure but also delicious fruit. Finishes with a touch of chocolate at the end. —R.V.

94–96 Château Cos d'Estournel 2012 Saint-Estèphe. Barrel sample. Big and rich with lots of chocolate and ripe black-plum fruits, this is a very structured wine, showing some extraction but also spice and sweet tannins. Powerful, but with a finish that is like a cool breeze. —R.V.

94–96 Château Ducru Beaucaillou 2012 Saint-Julien. Barrel sample. This is a glamorous wine with acidity and structure surrounded by a ripe fruit character. The palate is powerful, and already quite complex, with both great fruitiness and a solid feel. —R.V.

94–96 Château Léoville Barton 2012 Saint-Julien. Barrel sample. Firmly tannic in character, this wine is dry and extracted. There’s potential for this powerful, impressive wine to bear the wine’s very dry character with the weight of its fruit. —R.V.

94–96 Château Léoville Poyferré 2012 Saint-Julien. Barrel sample. This very ripe, full-bodied wine is powered by sweet blackberries and solid tannins. It is a full, concentrated and complex wine that has a great future. —R.V.

94–96 Château Montrose 2012 Saint-Estèphe. Barrel sample. This is a big, powerful, fruity wine that has restraint from its dense tannins. It's foursquare, chunky in character, already balanced, the tannins merging with the acidity. There is great aging potential. —R.V.

94–96 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2012 Pauillac. Barrel sample. Barrel sample. Intense black currant fruitiness makes this wine unabashedly forward. The palate bears weighty tannins behind that fruit, resulting in a wine that is already quite balanced and structured. —R.V.


Day 5: Wait To Buy
Ratings and reviews of stellar wines from Margaux, Moulis-en-Médoc and Listrac-Médoc red wines.
Published on Apr 12, 2013
By Roger Voss with Reporting by Kathleen Buckley
After tasting nearly 300 wines at en primeur this year, I came to a conclusion: While impressive in barrel, the 2012 Bordeaux vintage should be bought in bottle. Here’s why:
The Year

The 2012 vintage may not have been ideal, but it resulted in good quality, easy-to-drink wines. The year kicked off with a cold spring and uneven flowering, resulting in heavy disease pressure throughout the vineyards. It then evolved into a cool, early summer, followed by dry, hot conditions that lasted until the end of September. At that point, rain set in, dampening the end of harvest, particularly for Cabernet Sauvignon and in Sauternes.

Yields were dramatically low—down by half in some vineyards. Selection for the top wines was difficult. The result is a small production of fruity, juicy red wines with attractive acidities, approachable alcohol levels and medium-term futures.

According to John Kolasa, director of Chanel’s Château Rauza-Ségla in Margaux, 2012 “shows Bordeaux can make nice wine despite all the weather hurdles thrown in its way.”
The price?

The question with this vintage remains: Will the prices be as easy on the wallet as the wines are on the palate? Prices will begin to be announced over the next two weeks. With less than 40 days until Vinexpo—where owners hope to woo buyers—they have to set their prices sooner rather than later. A few merchants, Christian Moueix of Jean-Pierre Moueix among them, have already announced market prices. Moueix told Wine Enthusiast on Monday that his Belgian prices are down eight percent from 2011.

But according to Olivier Bernard, president of the Union des Grands Crus and director of Domaine de Chevalier in Pessac-Léognan, many chateaus have historically overcharged regardless of harvest conditions, potentially ruining the market for other owners. Certain chateaus, he claims, “made a mistake” when pricing the 2011 vintage. “The question is, are they ready to make a second mistake with the 2012 vintage?”

“This vintage is better than last year, so I should up the price—but the market is telling me I can’t,” said Otto Rettenmaier, owner of Saint-Émilion’s Château La Tour Figeac.
No Château Latour

This is the first vintage when Château Latour, one of the world’s most notable and expensive wines, is not available on the wine-futures market. Billionaire owner François Pinault’s policy is now to cellar the wine in new multimillion-dollar digs until it is deemed ready to drink. When is this exactly, and at what price? That’s to be determined.

Pinault’s decision led to much speculation about the future of Bordeaux’s en primeur system. But, says Alexander van Beek, general manager of Château Giscours in Margaux, “The withdrawal of Latour is not going to make any difference to us.”

Charles Chevalier, technical director of Château Lafite-Rothschild, says “Baron Eric de Rothschild has confirmed that we fully support the en psrimeur system. We have told the Bordeaux négociants that they can count on us.”

Van Beek is more realistic about the future of the event. “The en primeur system will evolve, but it’s the best we have at the moment.”
Wine of the Vintage: Château Haut-Brion

Château Haut-Brion’s red wine earns the nod as Wine Enthusiast wine of the 2012 vintage. With its highest-ever proportion of Merlot (65.5 percent) in the blend, the wine illustrates the great quality o the variety in this difficult year.

2012 Top Nine Bordeaux En Primeur Margaux, Moulis-en-Médoc and Listrac-Médoc red wines

94–96 Château Margaux 2012 Margaux. Barrel sample. A surprisingly fresh Margaux considering that it’s dominated by 87% Cabernet Sauvignon. Dense tannins, black fruits and tight acidity combine to present a wine that shows, for a Château Margaux, medium-term potential. —R.V.

94–96 Château Palmer 2012 Margaux. Barrel sample. This is a beautifully crafted wine with red fruits, a touch of black currant, great acidity and dense structure. A blend of half-and-half Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, it shows both weight and a great lift. —R.V.

93–95 Château Giscours 2012 Margaux. Barrel sample. This firm, dry wine is solidly rich and full in the mouth. With fine acidity and black currant fruit that show through the tannins, it is a wine with considerable potential. —R.V.

93–95 Château Rauzan-Ségla 2012 Margaux. Barrel sample. This is a chocolate-inflected wine with a full mouth feel, and a very dark character. The palate is concentrated in tannins and a powerful, extracted feel. The aftertaste brings out more black-currant fruitiness. —R.V.

92–94 Château Brane-Cantenac 2012 Margaux. Barrel sample. With marked acidity as well as black fruits, this is a wine with weight and richness. It has a dark core of firm tannins, although the aftertaste maintains the juiciness. —R.V.

92–94 Château Cantenac Brown 2012 Margaux. Barrel sample. A solid effort, this is a wine with great fruit and firm structure to support it. Ripe and full in the mouth, it’s a firm and complex wine with a delicious juicy aftertaste. —R.V.

92–94 Château Kirwan 2012 Margaux. Barrel sample. This solidly tannic wine is powerful and firm. It’s a very complete wine, showcasing fruit and tannin elements to give a complex, structured whole. A wine that is for long-term aging. —R.V.

92–94 Château Margaux 2012 Pavillon Rouge de Château Margaux (Margaux). Barrel sample. An austere wine that has distinct acidity and a black-currant character. The texture is tannic and dry, but it’s fragrant with a light green note that comes through at the end. —R.V.

92–94 Marjoallia 2012 Margaux. Barrel sample. This is a spicy, fruity wine that has excellent acidity and a rounded, fruity character. It has some extraction, giving a bitter edge, while the final effect is a rich, juicy Merlot. —R.V.




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