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Haut-Brion tops Parker’s 2012 scores

Robert Parker has released his in-bottle scores for the 2012 vintage and noted that despite his initial misgivings about the price and hit-and-miss wine quality, there are “cherries to be plucked”.

Writing on (£), Parker wrote that despite the “train wreck” that was the pricing and release strategy which characterised that woeful campaign, “what stands out about the bottles 2012 Bordeaux is that they performed as well, if not better, than the barrel tastings.”

He picked out Pomerol, Pessac-Léognan and “parts of” Saint Emilion were the most successful areas and the Médocs more of a “mixed bag”, with a “tendency toward hollowness, austerity and astringent tannins.”

On the other hand, as always the best châteaux avoided these pitfalls and small yields carefully sorted have led to a number of “successful” wines.

Parker concluded that the best 2012s have a “low acidity and opulence” which gives them an “up-front appeal” with their drinking window coming early and the very best ageing for “several decades.”

He also concluded that if the reds were patchy then there are some “outstanding whites to discover”.

After his in-barrel tasting in spring 2013, L’Eglise Clinet came out as the potential front-runner on a (rather broad) 96-100 point spread and there were many other Right Bank estates near the top such as Trotanoy, Pétrus and Ausone. Mouton was the highest rated Left Bank estate (95-97) in the original scores.

However, following the in-bottle tasting it was the Left Bank which appeared to have settled most nicely in the intervening years, with Haut-Brion sitting atop the list on 98-points (ditto its white wine).

The Pessac estate was followed by La Mission Haut-Brion, Pape Clement and Hosanna on 97 points and then a solid pack of 96-pointers which included Ausone, Pétrus, L’Eglise Clinet, Haut Bailly, Palmer and Pape Clement Blanc among others.

There was another large grouping of 95 and 94 pointers too and some slightly lower-end 90-point scores for Lafite, Montrose and Pichon Comtesse.

As well as his list of the vintage’s “brilliant” wines, Parker also listed 123 wines which he called “sleepers of the vintage” but are more wines where he noted that “quality and value intersect on behalf of consumers”.

This includes D’Angludet, Batailley, Gloria, Patache d’Aux, Labegorce, Pibran, La Fleur de Bouard and Croix Figeac among many others.

In 2013, ahead of that year’s harvest, Laithwaite’s head of winemaking , Jean-Marc Saboua, told the drinks business that consumers would have to “learn to love” 2012 Bordeaux. Perhaps Parker has shown that this isn’t as hard as many might have thought.

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