CHATEAU ANGELUS 2012
CHATEAU ANGELUS 2012 vintage for Bordeaux was small and difficult at times, but not without moments of greatness.
Spring was tricky, with damp conditions – April was extraordinarily wet – delaying both budburst and flowering, the latter finally occurred in June. However, flowering was beset with various problems from being uneven to issues with millerandage, coulure and mildew. The summer finally brought better weather, but a hot, dry August led to oppressive heat and drought. These harsh conditions caused some vines to temporarily shut down and the dry spell continued into September. It was only towards the end of the month that temperatures eased up with the blazing heat during the day subsiding to merely warm, with cool nights helped refresh the grapes. Mid-September delivered some much-needed rain and some producers began the harvest for whites and Merlot.
Overall, because of the initial shaky start to the growing season, the harvest was later than usual. The Merlot harvest, which was much restored by the rains, was picked from late September through to early October with much of it in superb condition. Unusually, it was the Left Bank appellation of Pessac-Léognan that began picking first, swiftly followed by the Right Bank appellation of Pomerol, which typically leads the way due to its emphasis on Merlot.
For Cabernet Sauvignon being a later-ripening variety, the harvest was slightly trickier. Early October rains created humid conditions, which prompted outbreaks of both grey rot and botrytis. This meant pickers were having to dodge both wet conditions and rotted grapes to bring in the rest of the harvest. The race against rot also meant some Cabernet Sauvignon was brought in before it had fully ripened and careful sorting was essential.
Yields were slightly down, and the resulting wines were a mixed bag quality-wise. Generally, the whites were very good as much of the harvest was picked during the September, which saw idyllic weather. The best whites typically came from Pessac-Léognan, Graves and Entre-deux-Mers.
The reds were slightly more hit-and-miss with Merlot-dominated blends tending to perform better than Cabernet-heavy wines. Of the typically Cabernet-dominant Left Bank appellations, the best wines tended – unsurprisingly – to come from the top vineyards, and some superb wines were made. However, wines from poorer, less-prestigious terroirs were generally less successful and could exhibit green, astringent notes. The appellations of Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Saint-Estèphe and Margaux all delivered, and the best examples tended to have a balanced and refined structure with clear focused fruit.
The 2012 vintage offers both excellent dry whites and reds and for the top wines, 2012 vintage can offer excellent value for money. Although, the year is far from being an exclusively “Merlot” vintage, Right Bank blends were generally more consistent across the board, however, some excellent Left Bank wines were still made. Many wines should be drinking well now and the best should have cellaring potential.