2012 Pessac Leognan Wine Tasting Notes in Barrel Ratings


2012 Pessac Leognan wines are mixed. Haut Brion clearly leads the pack in this vintage, but other chateaux turned in strong performances as well. I used the term mixed, because while some estates made very good, others had more difficulties, due to the difficult growing season. 2012 Pessac Leognan was another year when the dry, white wines of the region were very successful.

2012 Branon – With smoke, spice, incense, earth and ripe dark berries, the wine is soft, polished, oaky and silky. Filled with dark chocolate-covered berries, it ends in an oak-filled, spicy finish. 90-92 Pts

2012 Brown – Smoke, earth, spice, tobacco and licorice aromas blend well with the medium-bodied, soft, silky and spicy red and black fruits, round textures and forward style. 87-89 Pts

2012 Bouscaut – Light in style, the smoky black raspberries and soft, easy style make this a nice, crowd-pleasing style of wine. 87-89 Pts

2012 Carbonnieux – Medium bodied with tart black cherries and tapenade in the finish. 87-89 Pts

2012 Les Carmes Haut Brion – With licorice, smoke, blackberry and earthy notes, this wine has plush, soft, polished textures and a sweet blackberry and dark chocolate finish. 90-93 Pts

2012 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge – With soft dark red berries, smoke, earth, coffee bean and cherry tones, the medium-bodied wine was produced in a fresh, elegant style, which will drink well young. 90-92 Pts

2012 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc – Grapefruit, lemon, stone and vanilla make the attention-seeking perfume. Rich, fresh and zippy fruits with plush texture and a fresh citrus and spice finish remain with you long after the wine went where it was supposed to go. 93-95 Pts

2012 Clos des Lunes Lune d’Argent – The debut vintage for Olivier Bernard. This dry white wine from Sauternes is sold as a Bordeaux Blanc Sec. Pineapple, grapefruit, melon and honey notes pop from the wine. Fresh, sweet and long with enough acidity to keep it fresh. For close to $18, this is a case purchase. 88-91 Pts

2012 Clos des Lunes Lune d’Or – From a selection of the best 100 barrels, grapefruit, lemon, lime, honeysuckle and mineral notes pop from the glass with little effort. The wine is fresh, concentrated, long, citrusy, sweet, lively and complex. 91-93 Pts

2012 Clos Marsalette – 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc produced a wine with a medium body, polished tannins and a smoky, black raspberry finish. 89-91 Pts

2012 Clos Marsalette Blanc – From 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon, the wine pops with citrus, flowers and guava. On the palate the wine is fresh, fun, refreshing and easy to drink, plus it’s a top value Bordeaux white wine. 87-89 Pts

2012 de Fieuzal – Caramel, coffee, black and blue fruit notes, fat and concentrated with ripe, fleshy berries, this is a flashy, modern-styled wine with rich, silky textures and an opulent, but slightly oaky, finish. 89-91 Pts

2012 Haut Bailly – Dark ruby in color, the wine opens with fromboise, licorice, cocoa powder, smoke, and caramel. Produced from a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon with 40% Merlot, the wine reached 13.2% alcohol with a pH of 3.6. Wine will be aged in 50% new French oak for 16 months. This is a finesse style of Haut Bailly with fresh and ripe red and black fruits that display a lot of purity and freshness. The wine ends with sweet black raspberry and cherry sensations in a forward, spicy finish. 92-94 Pts

2012 La Parde de Haut Bailly – Hints of tobacco, oak and cherry move to a cherry-filled, medium-bodied wine that will be enjoyed young. 85-87 Pts

2012 Haut Bergey Silky, polished textures with smoky, ripe fruits, vanilla and espresso bean notes, with an open, inviting personality are found in this wine. 89-91 Pts

2012 Haut-Brion – Deep ruby in color, the wine offers tar, smoke, boysenberry, chocolate, cherry liqueur, smoke and earthy notes. Powerful, rich, concentrated and packed with layers of dense, dark, deep, fresh and pure blackberry, boysenberry and cassis, the wine really makes an impression with its long, expansive, polished, refined finish. This is no wallflower of a wine. It demands and gets attention. 95-98 Pts

2012 Le Clarence de Haut Brion – With smoky red and dark berries, this wine has medium body with a short and sweet finish. 89-91 Pts

2012 Haut Brion Blanc – Honey, beeswax, Midori sour, lemon wax, flowers, spice and fresh Meyer lemons create a complex perfume. Full-bodied, rich and intense, the wine is incredibly, fresh, lively and mouth filling, finishing with serious intensity of flavors. 95-97 Pts

2012 La Clarte de Haut Brion – Honeydew, flowers, orange, and lemon wax open to fresh citrus, toast and nuts with an open, fresh personality. 91-93 Pts

2012 Haut Nouchet – Situated close to Smith Haut Lafitte on gravely, clay soils, this wine was made from a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot, and is filled with smoky, spicy red berries and a short finish. 85-87 Pts

2012 LaTour Martillac – Medium/full-bodied and round, this wine delivers sweet, ripe and lush black cherries, fennel and dark chocolate in a plush, well-rounded finish. 90-93 Pts

2012 Larrivet Haut Brion – With smoke and bright red and dark plums, this medium-bodied, soft wine finishes with an easy-to-drink, light black cherry note. 88-90 Pts

2012 Liber Pater – Declassified in 2012

2012 Clos de Landiras – Smoke, earth, herbs and tart red berries in a light finish. 84-87 Pts

2012 La Louviere – Medium-bodied with fresh, smoky cherries on the nose and a fresh, cherry finish produced a wine that should be drinkable on release. 88-90 Pts

2012 Malartic Lagraviere – Truffle, cocoa powder and blackberry scents are easy to find. On the palate, the wine is rich, soft, polished and round with a sweet, ripe and fresh black cherry finish. 90-92 Pts

2012 Malartic Lagraviere Blanc – Citrus peel, stone, grapefruit and honeysuckle scents, fleshy, concentrated, ripe and refreshing, the wine ends with sweet Meyer lemons and a hint of pineapple. 91-93 Pts

2012 Mejean –With a focus on fresh red berries and light textures, the wine is easy to drink and likable. 85-87 Pts

2012 La Mission Haut Brion – Dark in color, the nose offers smoke, tar, black cherry jam, tobacco and cassis notes. The wine quickly shifts to a powerful, rich, tannic, masculine, almost brawny, intense mouthful of black fruits, jammy cherries and dark chocolate. This definitely needs time in the cellar before becoming user-friendly. 92-95 Pts

2012 La Chapelle de La Mission Haut Brion – A subtle nose of earth, tobacco and cassis move to fresh, polished red berries, and an herbal, crunchy blackberry and cassis finish. 88-90 Pts

2012 La Mission Haut Brion Blanc – Orangesicle, melon, beeswax and candied, waxy lemon peel scents open to fresh, lively and sweet citrus finish. 93-95 Pts

2012 Olivier – This medium-bodied and elegant lighter style of Pessac Leognan offers sweet licorice, plums and dark cherries with supple textures in an open style. One of the best vintages of Olivier I recall tasting. 89-91 Pts

2012 Pape Clement – Inky in color; black and blue fruits, licorice, smoke and oak create the aromatics. On the palate, the wine is fresh, fleshy, rich and bold, with a concentrated finish packed with ripe dark berries and licorice. For tasters that found more heralded vintages over the top, this is a wine they should look into. 92-94 Pts

2012 Smith Haut Lafitte – From 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.6% alcohol with a pH of 3.7 and will be aged in 60% new French oak for between 16 to 18 months. Deep in color with a smoky nose complicated by licorice, coffee, dark cherry and earthy aromas, the wine is fat, lush and dense. Supple tannins and fresh, round dark fruits create a long, rich, opulent finish. The Grand Vin represents about 50% of the harvest. 93-96 Pts

2012 Les Hauts de Smith – Dominated by Merlot at 55% of the blend, with the remainder taken up by Cabernet Sauvignon, the forward, open wine offers soft black cherries, slightly dusty tannins and a sweet, dark cherry finish. 88-90 Pts

2012 Le Petit Haut Lafitte – The second wine of Smith Haut Lafitte is produced for export and interestingly, it’s the opposite of Les Hauts de Smith, as it’s dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, with the rest of the blend made from 45% Merlot. Coffee bean, licorice and black cherry notes open to a tannic, dark cherry-filled wine, which will need a few years before it is ready to drink. 87-89 Pts

2012 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc – Blending 90% Sauvignon with equal parts Semillon and Sauvignon Gris, the wine will be aged in 50% new French oak. Grapefruit, lime, lemon, vanilla, guava and banana scents require little effort to find. Rich, fleshy and concentrated with balancing acidity and freshness, the long and fresh citrus finish refreshes and expands. 93-95 Pts

2012 Les Hauts de Smith Blanc – From 100% Sauvignon Blanc, the wine offers fresh lemon rind, lime and hints of tangerine, finishing with fresh citrus notes. 88-90 Pts

2012 Le Thil – 85% Merlot with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon produced a wine with licorice, earth and black cherry aromas. On the palate, the wine is rich, open and ripe. With luck, this will remain one of the best values in the Pessac Leognan appellation and will not be absorbed into Smith Haut Lafitte. 88-90 Pts

2012 Le Thil Blanc – From an even blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, grapefruit, white peaches, freshly cut grass and spicy aromas are out front to greet you. Medium-bodied with zesty acidity, this is a quite nice and refreshing white Bordeaux wine. 87-89 Pts

2012 Cantelys – 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot, planted in deep gravel soils, made a medium-bodied wine with sweet cherries and a forward personality, 85-87 Pts

2012 Cantelys Blanc – Half the blend is devoted to Sauvignon Blanc, the remainder is split between 45% Semillon and 5% Sauvignon Gris. Medium-bodied with fresh lemon and orange notes, the wine ends with a grassy, citrus finish. 87-89Pts


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