Marvelous Moueix: many fine barrel samples of 2012 Bordeaux

Among the very best barrel samples of 2012 Bordeaux

Tasting the wines of Moueix in Libourne on Tuesday 9 April. They included some wines from Saint Emilion, which I list here – and not on my Saint Emilion page.

What a treat it was to taste with wine critic John Gilman, who is as jovial as he is an excellent writer. I have to say that the 2012 barrel samples tasted here were mostly very good to excellent. Marked by freshness, floral aromatics, subtle depth and richness (what is expected from Pomerol) and drinkability. As opposed to other wines that are often inky black in color and tend to have a glossiness that reflects a caricature of so-called “New World” wines, with corresponding noticeable and often drying tannin, these wines are remarkable for their iodine like freshness and subtle concentration.

Indeed, although there is no mistaking the high tannins making these barrel samples (and future wines) built to age, their veritable charm and true elegance makes most of them – from low price points to high – very promising in 2012.

Brief interview below:

So, a contrast with, say, the wines fashioned by in-vogue winemaker/consultant Stephane Derononcourt. Yes, I know he has many fans. But, frankly, I find some of his wines ponderous, heavy, where you can “taste the extraction” and a finish sometimes marked by dryness and or alcoholic heat. Although Derononcourt has done good work at some estates, notably Clos Fourtet, Larcis Ducasse and Beausejour Duffau Lagarrosse in Saint Emilion, you can read in this tasting how much different his style is from that employed by the wines of Moueix – below… Clearly I favor the latter style. For my comments on many barrel samples associated with Derenoncourt, HERE ARE THE NOTES.

Barrel samples in bold I liked in particular, when red and bold even more, and if underlined, the very best.

Saint Emilion from Moueix

Chateau Puy Blanquet (Saint Emilion Grand Cru): 87-89

Fruit filled aromas. Floral. Cranberry. Somewhat tart. But fresh. Give this time in barrel, n’est-ce pas?

Chateau La Serre (Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé): 88-90

More polished aspect on the nose, almost a bit of fruit cake without being obvious. Quite a bit of energy on the palate. Again cranberry crackling freshness. Fine.

Chateau Belair Monange (Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé): 89-91

Lots of raw materials… This was fresh and substantial, but a bit closed. Richness but played close to the vest. I would like to revisit this later in the year, and must admit to not really being all that impressed from barrel.

Pomerols – the main attraction! 

A delicious Chateau Plince, which will not be so pricey off the shelf: good call.

Chateau Plince: 89-91+

Hint of mocha on the aromatics, which is pleasing. Critic John Gilman called it “good old fashioned Pomerol” and I can understand why. Has some edges but it should get creamier.  Tannins are just a touch rough, but there is freshness and flavor – and with some barrel age, it will round out. By pricing standards, this is almost a certain buy.

Chateau Lafleur Gazin: 87-89

Just slight stemmy aromas here… Not sure I really like the nose. But I like the freshness. The palate is fresh, with good vivacity. How will it be in bottle? Barrel aging should fill it out, no?

Chateau Bourgneuf: 86-88+

Tasted on several occasions, and although there is much freshness, with florality, I could not get away from feeling some unripe fruit. Although there is evident charm again on the palate, I sense the green too much, with tannins just a tad drying on the finish.

Chateau La Grave a Pomerol: 89-92

Floral aspects on the nose, freshness. Cool fruit. Very endearing aromatics. This has a medium bodied aspect that does not quite follow through on the promising nose but retains freshness, with the hope that barrel will fill it out. Fine sap.

Chateau Latour a Pomerol: 91-94

Lovely nose, with floral and dew like aromatics. Mocha. The palate conveys tonic freshness. If the mid palate lacks a concentration of say 2010 or 2009 or 2005, it  seduces you with perfumed elegance. If prices drop low enough, buy it.

Chateau Providence: 90-93

Deeper color as expected from the terroir difference. This is a bit tighter on the palate, with tannins more noticeably clamping down. Not as fresh, not quite as fresh as the preceding wine.

Chateau de May de Certan: 91-93

An exuberant nose, fresh and floral. The palate is of medium intensity, with tannins present but non aggressive. Floral elegance and an echoing finish.

Chateau Hosanna: 91-94

Slightly darker color, pitch than the above. Aromatics are of a deeper pitch. Here we have professionally made freshness. Crushed mint. With perhaps a bit more tannic grip than the above. There is no denying the echoing finish. John Gilman and I just kept going back to this wine…

Chateau La Fleur Petrus: 92-95

Floral nose. Excellent lift and elegance. Perhaps not as “consequential” as the next wine, but “beyond charming”. A more complete and more rounded version of the Certan de May… Floral elegance yet medium plus body and very appealing on the fresh finish.

Superb Trotanoy in 2012, but annoyingly hard to find... that's one point against Moueix :-)

Chateau Trotanoy: 93-96

Deep and rich wine. Exudes real power but not at the price of elegance. Fresh inorganic earthiness, and layers of ripe flavors. A subtle chocolate richness, without ever being heavy. Lingering finish. The iron fist in the velvet glove. Easy candidate for wine of the vintage.

See my notes on barrel samples from other Bordeaux appellations in 2012: 

Graves and Pessac Leognan / Sauternes and Barsac / Margaux-Moulis-Listrac / Pauillac / Saint Julien / Saint Estephe / Saint Emilion / Pomerol / Haut Medoc

UPDATE: Contrasting the styles of Moueix with Stéphane Derenoncourt and Nicolas Thienpont on the Right Bank

 

 

 

 

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