O’Briens Wine Beer & Spirits
33 Spruce Avenue Stillorgan Industrial Park Co. Dublin Ireland Ireland
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En Primeur 2012

En Primeur 2012

More than any other vintage in the last decade this is one in which you have to put your trust notin vintage reports and critics feedbackbut in individual Château. Those who picked in one of the few ideal ‘rain windows’ and those who went through meticulous selection at harvest time managed to produce quite beautiful wines, those who didn’t, didn’t.These are wines for the mid-term although certain Château have made very structured wines that look like they will have staying power.

What will make this vintage hopefully very attractive is the wines should be relatively affordable. After the very expensive ’09s and ’10s and the ‘big drop’ in 2011 – that never really materialised – Bordeaux have now realised that prices need to come down if they want to move any volume. Already some serious reductions have been seen, others have not been so wise.

We are about to launch our offers and we are only offering wines we believe are genuinely very good for this vintage. Four days of heavy duty tasting in April has given us a very clear view of which wines are really worth getting behind.

St. Estèphe for example was largely disappointing but I would happily stand over the following Châteaux:Ormes de Pez, Lafon RochetandPhélan Ségur. Moving down the Médoc and there were some very good Pauillacs:Pontet Canetis sublime,Lynch-Bages& it’s baby brotherEchowere excellent as were both thePichons -avoid anything with Grand Puy in the name and Haut-Bages Liberal fell somewhat short of the mark.

St. Julien was again very good, maybe not as homogenous as recent years but the blue bloods showed their class here: The LéovillesandLangoawere serious, accomplished wines that will age well;Gruaud Larosewas ripe and plush where Talbot and St. Pierre were found lacking.Gloria- considering its price point -was one of the best wines in the appellation.

Margaux which is normally a bit ‘all over the place’ was surprisingly consistent this yearand there was a raft of exceptionally good wines for mid-term ageing.Château Margauxitself was a beauty but was followed closely byPalmerandRauzan Segla.Kirwan, Brane Cantenac, Cantenac Brown, d’Issan, Lascombes, du TertreandSiranwere all very successful.

On the right bank Pomerol was one of the real successes, many great wines were made;La Conseillante, Clinet, Le Gaywere all powerful, concentrated wines whileLa PointeandPetit-Villagehad a lighter more floral nature but equally attractive.

St. Émilion had some what can only be calledchallenging winesand here Château selection is most important. The wines I have the greatest faith in after tasting are:Pavie-Macquin, Troplong Mondot, Canon-la-Gaffelièreand for sheer approachability and hopefully valueLa Tour Figeac.

Other wines which showed particularly well at the tastings and are worth looking out for from mixed appellations were:Chasse-Spleen, Sociando Mallet, Cambon La Pelouse, Sénéjac, Bellegraveand Poujeaux.

We release our offers on Monday but here is a sneak preview, if you spot anything you want to reserve then contact me directly ondstewart@obrienswines.ie.

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