Best 2012 Margaux

16 April 2013
Author: Jeannie Cho Lee


To make balanced wine in 2012, one needed to make a lot of sacrifices. In the vineyard, it meant green harvesting (multiple times for some) to encourage air circulation and prevent rot from spreading or to cut off undesirable grapes to make them more homogenous for ripening. Even with much hard work in the vineyard, the difficult flowering meant bunches were heterogeneous and thus selection during harvest was critical. This was the mind-set at most top Margaux properties that did very well in 2012.


At Chateau Margaux, only one-third of the Sauvignon Blanc harvest made it into Pavillon Blanc. It was the same for the grand vin, Chateau Margaux, less than 34% made it into the final blend. Young vines suffered during this season and less than 3% made it into the blend for Pavillon Rouge. At Palmer, the style is very dense and concentrated, a result of the vintage as well as the hail from the previous year. Yields were very low – only 28 hectolitres per hectare. Often, quantity had to be sacrificed to produce balanced, elegant wines from this difficult vintage.


There are many delicious, beautifully perfumed, lovely Margaux wines in this vintage. They are elegant, without the density and concentration for long term cellaring, but will offer wonderful near term drinking pleasure.


1. 2012 Chateau Margaux, Margaux, Bordeaux, France Lovely, very typical Chateau Margaux nose – violets and jasmine along with blackberry, cassis and cedar. Very approachable with silky texture and good density. The perfume surfaces after about 10 minutes in the glass. This is a classic, cool vintage for Margaux with 13% alcohol and wonderful freshness. The attractive, supple texture will make it approachable when young but it will age easily for a few decades. Very long finish. 87% of the blend is Cabernet Sauvignon. (93-94) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$541 / HK$4,183


2. 2012 Chateau Rauzan-Segla, Margaux, Bordeaux, France Vibrant, very attractive Rauzan-Segla with nice density and depth. This is a gorgeous red with layers of delicate floral and red berry fruits and very long finish. Congratulations to John Kolasa and his team for making a great wine in this challenging vintage. (91-93)Average Retail Price for 2011: US$85 / HK$655


3. 2012 Chateau Palmer, Margaux, Bordeaux, France Very dense and powerful Palmer with intense spicy nose and floral aromatics. The palate offers ripe blackberries and layers of plum and other dark berry fruits. Full-bodied, great density from a vintage with very low yields – only 28hl/ha. Tannins are elevated and firm with a velvety texture. In this vintage, the yields were so low that the wines are denser and chunkier than normal. (90-93) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$243 / HK$1,883


4. 2012 Chateau d’Issan, Margaux, Bordeaux, France Very pretty Margaux with violets, sweet spices and blackberries. A supple, round red with good density, forward, friendly character and good concentration in this challenging vintage. Nice depth and finish. (91-92) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$49 / HK$381


5. 2012 Chateau Marquis d’Alesme Becker, Margaux, Bordeaux, France Balanced, juicy red with lifted plums and cassis on the palate and nose. This energetic wine has round, firm tannins, good concentration on the mid palate and wonderful length.(90-91) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$32 / HK$250


6. 2012 Chateau du Tertre, Margaux, Bordeaux, France Aromatic, very pretty wine with silky tannins, lovely floral notes with supple texture and fairly long finish. A delicious wine that will be approachable young but also age for a decade or more easily. (89-90) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$32 / HK$250


7. 2012 Chateau Brane-Cantenac, Margaux, Bordeaux, France Soft, supple red that is easy to enjoy with no rough edges and elegant flavours. Balanced with freshness, a style that Henri Lurton at Brane-Cantenac excels. This elegant wine follows the style of the vintage, with gentle extraction and no rough edges. (88-90) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$48 / HK$369


8. 2012 Chateau Labegorce, Margaux, Bordeaux, France Juicy, vibrant red berry flavours with lively floral notes and freshness. There is real energy in this wine with no sign of the difficult weather conditions of this vintage. (88-89) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$22 / HK$166


9. 2012 Pavillon Rouge de Chateau Margaux, Margaux, Bordeaux, France Closed nose with only a hint of violets and dark berry fruit. There are silky-textured, quite elevated tannins in this Pavillon Rouge. Flavours range from delicate floral notes to dark berries and savoury herbs. Good balance, medium weight with moderate concentration. Less concentrated than the 2011. (88-89) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$132 / HK$1,025


10. Chateau Malescot Saint-Exupery, Margaux, Bordeaux, France Vibrant, full-bodied, modern Margaux with extraction and richness as well as overt new oak on the nose and palate. The flavours have good concentration but in this vintage, it tastes a bit forced rather than naturally balanced. Wait at least 5+ years before enjoying.(87-88) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$52 / HK$405