Great Value 2012 Bordeaux

8 April 2013
Author: Jeannie Cho Lee


The quality of the 2012 red wines from Bordeaux are variable and one needs to choose very carefully in this vintage. I tasted over 100 wines from chateaux that do not fall under the Cru Classe category and thus are priced more modestly and affordably. The appellations for these good value reds include generic Bordeaux, Medoc, Haut-Medoc, Listrac, Moulis and the great value appellations on the right bank such as Fronsac, Blaye, Cotes de Castillon and Cotes de Francs. Below are the highest rated red wines from these lesser appreciated appellations that will offer excellent value. Average retail prices are quoted beneath each wine. These are the 2011 prices – the 2012 vintage is likely to be very similar in price.


1. 2012 Chateau Girolate, Bordeaux, France Juicy red with good concentration and balance. Plush, velvety tannins. Generous without being heavy, ripe without being over-ripe and balanced with very good length. Made by the Despagne family, this wine is a superstar in the Entre-Deux-Mers region with 10 hectares of closely planted vines. Fantastic reds and whites. This wine is not cheap compared with other wines made in this region, but it is definitely worth the money. (89) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$43/HK$331


2. 2012 Chateau Sociando-Mallet, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France Well-made red from Sociando-Mallet this year with nice mid palate weight and good balance. Plums, cassis and red fruits mingle in this wine with supple tannins. This wine shows potential to age and evolve over the next 5-8 years. Fairly long finish. (89) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$30/HK$236


3. 2012 Chateau La Rouselle, Fronsac, Bordeaux, France A delicious Fronsac with good weight, balance and juicy plummy fruit. Derenoncourt and his team who are the consultants here have done a great job. Supple texture and good length. (88) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$15/HK$118


4. 2012 Chateau Mont Perat, Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France Vibrant, fresh black fruits with hint of black tea leaves in this medium-bodied red with firm tannins. Fresh, firm acidity with nice herbal and violet finish. These wines were made popular in Asia by the Japanese manga, “Les Gouttes de Dieu” and have a big following in Japan and China. (88) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$12/HK$95


5. 2012 Chateau d’Aiguilhe, Cotes de Castillon, Cotes de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France Generous flavours that range from plums, cassis, cedar to sweet spices and herbs. Lovely flavours backed by firm tannins. Good intensity and value in this difficult vintage. The chateaux used 80% Merlot which was much more successful than Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in 2012. (87) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$20/HK$154


6. 2012 Chateau Cantemerle, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France Supple, balanced red with good intensity of plums and blackberries on the palate. The firm tannins are velvety and very well-handled. The wine is approachable young and will offer great drinking pleasure. Well-priced wine for medium term drinking. (87) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$30/HK$236


7. 2012 Chateau Charmail, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France Juicy medium bodied red with nice freshness and sweet mid palate fruit of Chinese red dates and ripe red plums. Well-made with supple tannins and good finish. (87) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$15/HK$118


8. 2012 Chateau Rollan de By, Medoc, Bordeaux, France Well-made Medoc red with good intensity and concentration of cassis and blackberries in this challenging vintage. Many of its neighbours’ wines are either dilute or green and tannic, but here the tannins are supple and firm with good intensity of flavours in the mid palate. (87) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$17/HK$130


9. 2012 Chateau Senejac, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France Well-made Haut-Medoc red with juicy flavours and well-managed tannins. There is ripe plums and cassis flavours along with firm tannins and freshness. A balanced wine with medium weight and elegance. (87) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$14/HK$106

10. 2012 Chateau Bernadotte, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France A very pretty wine that was once part of the Pichon Lalande group but it is now owned by King Power, a Thai group. This is a good value Haut-Medoc making fresh, lively wine year after year and this is consistent with their approachable style. (86) Average Retail Price for 2011: US$17/HK$130