This En Primeur 2012 campaign has been a story of two schools the first are chateaux that gadged the market and have released at prices that offer a financial incentive for buying futures and have sold well. Alternatively chateaux that have not adhered to the spirit of En Primeur and futures in general and have remained largely unsold. Amongst today’s releases two are noteworthy, both rising stars and darlings of Parker; Leoville Poyferre from St Julien, which produced a future legend in the 100 point scoring 2009 and the truly exceptional St Emilion estate Beausejour Duffau-Lagarosse which was one of the four chateaux to score back-to-back 100 points in 2009 and 2012.
Leoville Poyferre 12×75 – £470 IB – 89-91 Parker Points
Leoville Poyferre was originally part of the ancient Leoville estate that took up a vast portion of St Julien in the 17th and 18th centuries. After the revolution, and with one quarter of the property already sold to Hugh Barton (Leoville Barton), the decedents of the Marquis Las Cases sold a second quarter to the Baron de Poyferre-Ceres in 1840. Winemaking is carried out with exacting standards. Michel Rolland was appointed in 1995 as a consultant and is an estate leading the pack in terms of quality and offers a wonderful wine year on year. With brand growing in strength every year so is the average case price.
This wine seemed primary and not totally filled out or complete. No doubt it will put on some weight given the significant Merlot content in the final blend. There is a certain firmness, stiffness and lack of intensity on the mid-palate, and some tannins kick in in the finish. Nevertheless, there is more to this wine than first meets the palate. It is medium to full-bodied with an opaque color, good ripeness and some attractive weight, but is closed and hard. It needs time to pull itself together, and it should turn out to be an excellent, possibly outstanding effort. Robert Parker
Beausejour Duffau-Lagarosse 6×75 – £270, 93-95+ – Parker Points
Beausejour Duffau-Lagarrosse is classified as a Premier Grand Cru Classe B and has outperformed Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angelus and Pavie in recent years. It is found on the right bank of Bordeaux within the famous St Emilion appellation and boast spectacular terroir planted on calcareous clay and limestone rich soils. The 2012 is one of the wines of the vintage and is priced extremely competively.
Beausejour Duffau-Lagarrosse started life as part of the Chateau Beau-Sejour Becot estate until 1869 where the estate was divided. The estate is managed by the famous Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derenoncourt which produces on average 1,200 cases per year of only hand harvested grapes. Beausejour Duffau-Lagarrosse has gained a legendary position with wine collectors off the back of its incredible efforts in 2009 and 2010 and is a wine that is seeing large brand appreciation.
The 2012 exhibits a black/purple color along with a striking nose of incense, spring flowers, blueberries, blackberries and hints of mulberries and crushed chalk. The sumptuous aromatics are followed by a full-bodied, super-concentrated, rich, layered wine that builds incrementally across the palate, finishing with an explosion of fruit, spice, tannin, glycerin and minerality. While neither as backward nor impenetrable as the 2009 and 2010, the 2012 should be approachable in 4-5 years and keep for 2-3 decades.
A massive, concentrated effort from this great terroir, the 2012 Beausejour Duffau comes from a 16+-acre vineyard located on the clay and limestone southern slopes of St.-Emilion. It was cropped at 23 hectoliters per hectare, and the final blend was 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. Only 66% of the production went into the top wine, which boasts 14.3% natural alcohol. Readers can usually count on this cuvee being one of the finest wines of the vintage given the talented team behind it, Nicolas Thienpont, Stephane Derenoncourt, David Suire and Julien Lavenu. Robert Parker