Thu 11 Apr 2013

Bordeaux 2012


Society buyers Tim Sykes and Joanna Locke’s first impressions on a far from black-and-white vintage

Tasting at the UGC

Until now there has been little comment from trade or press about the 2012 vintage in Bordeaux. The debate that did start early was around whether prices would be appropriate to ignite significant interest. The jury is still out on that one (though there seems to be a general consensus that prices will – or at least should – be out earlier this year) but we will know soon enough, and there is plenty of lobbying going on here in Bordeaux for sensible pricing this year.

We’ve been told it’s a merlot year, and Sauternes has been in the limelight more for news of notable omissions from any 2012 campaign (Yquem, Suduiraut, Rieussec) than for the few good news stories.

Into our fourth (mostly wet!) day of Bordeaux’s UGC (Union des Grands Crus) week we are better placed to comment ourselves. The consistent message for us, irrespective of some statements to the contrary (for example that merlot was the success of the vintage, that cabernet(s) didn’t ripen, and that Sauternes was a write-off) is that this is not a consistent vintage. The dry whites may be the honorable exception, and today’s Graves/Pessac tasting was impressive, reds as well as whites.

The chai at Mouton-Rothschild

Overall for Bordeaux 2012 the picture is not black and white. Indeed it is not even safe just to go for the ‘best’ producers. One producer commented to us that it’s a buyer’s vintage, meaning not that we are spoilt for choice but that we have to work hard to sort the good from the ordinary, in stark contrast to 2010, for example, where we just had to hope we had enough money to buy everything we wanted!

We have tasted good and great wines already this week. Our first selection of pre-order wines will be available on the website in the next few weeks. Our second, wider, offer will be available in print and online in June.

Contrary to earlier speculation, 2012 Bordeaux is well worth a look.

Joanna Locke MW and Tim Sykes
Society Buyers


  1. Robin Smith says:


    Thank you for this. I am one of those who has not bought EP since 2008 as prices continued to be out of my range. My message to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th growths is that if I do not perceive that investing my cash in a wine that I will not see for a few years will deliver a significant saving over buying it when it is shipped, I will not buy it. Shortage of supply of good wines ready to drink from the Society does not seem to be a problem – just look at the recently issued list.

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