The draconian selection – a little less than 34 % of the harvest in the first wine - can for the most part be explained by the heterogeneity of the 2012 vintage, which is mainly due to the hydric stress experienced by young vines and sensitive terroirs. How disappointing not to have been able to add this fabulous plot of young 13-year-old Cabernets, which had done so well in 2010 and 2011, to the first wine! But how wonderful to see our greatest plots of mature vines reach such heights of concentration and elegance! The Cabernet Sauvignons (87% of the blend) are remarkable: powerful, dense, full-bodied and refined. The two usual batches of Merlot (10%) as well as the small batch of Cabernet Franc (2%) that usually join them didn’t fail but aren’t better than in 2011. As for our only old plot of Petit Verdot, it produced a superb wine, very different from the younger ones.
Our best press wines, which are the fruit of a stringent selection, bring to this year’s blend both a density and remarkable flesh, without depriving it of its finesse. It is sometimes forgotten that they are the concentrate of the free-run wines’ qualities and flaws, and that rigorous work is all that is needed to exploit their amazing potential.
Château Margaux 2012 is “almost” a great vintage, ultimately not that far removed from the 2010. It has more power, and the same purity, balance and charm, perhaps a little less depth? In any case it’s a good step above the 2011.
2012 marked the return of a great climatic classicism: a cold winter, especially in February, followed by a very wet spring, then a very dry summer before a return to rainy weather as from September 20th.
The heavy rain which lasted until July 15th, created very favourable conditions for the development of mildew. However this year we intensified our organic programme with great success: not only have we not used any insecticide on the estate for 10 years, but in 2012 we only used one chemical treatment, as opposed to the usual 7 or 8 on the great wine plots. We’re almost there…
From July 15th onwards, the weather was dry and moderately warm but punctuated by a few very hot days. Such conditions are typical of great Bordeaux classic vintages: they allow for the simultaneous ripening and concentration of the grapes. Only the less good terroirs and young vines suffered from the sudden transition from a very wet spring to a very dry summer.
The weather changed again from the first day of autumn: the moderate rains, which fell regularly from September 20th onwards, arrived too late to greatly upset the ripening or health of the grapes, but probably prevented, by a few days, 2012 from being the great vintage it should have been.
The harvest of the whites took place between the 10th and the 14th September, while the harvest of the reds was carried out between the 25th September and the 16th October, just before the weather really deteriorated...