Cheval Blanc

Bordeaux 2012 Releases: Cheval Blanc, Ausone, La Conseillante, Cos d’Estournel, Ducru Beaucaillou, Beausejour Duffau, Lascombes & more

Posted by on May 23, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News, Wine Market News / No Comments
Bordeaux 2012 blog post

A very quiet last week has been followed by a stampede of releases in this one.

Things kick-started yesterday with five notable releases: Cheval Blanc, Ausone, La Conseillante, Cos d’Estournel, Ducru Beaucaillou and Lascombes.

The morning saw a deluge of emails from Negociants, with Ducru, Cos and Cheval Blanc dominating the subject lines. Recent reticence of buyers in the UK seemed to have had an effect on pricing, with the day’s six big releases priced an average of -18.08% compared with their 2011 release – very welcome indeed.

Cheval Blanc was obviously the big news of the morning @ €330/bt. A wine rated across the board very well – and not just by the Cult Wines team!!! 94-96 from Parker reaffirmed the quality that has been consistently associated with the top Right Bank estates this year. Unfortunately, it cannot be conveyed as the cheapest available vintage, but the price was certainly par for the course at this stage, with comparable recent vintages trading at a similar price level. Difficult to make a case for short-term price movement, but for those who like to buy Cheval for the long-term, it’s ticking a few boxes.

Next we looked at Cos and Ducru – both wines which have come under increased attention from prospective buyers following perfect scores for the ’09 vintage. Cos @ €89/bt was a welcome reduction on a very hefty 2011 price and the superior score from Parker makes this look like a reasonable buy this year. Bob was not the only critic impressed by the ’12 offering, with very consistent mid-nineties scores from many other major critics. Not to mention that it was one of our team’s most enjoyable tastings this year, with the Cos Blanc also leaving a lasting impression (a definite buy @ €42/bt for those who enjoy a crisp Bordeaux white). It is by no means the cheapest Cos vintage available, but similar to the Cheval, for those playing the long game it seems a reasonable buy.

Ducru Beaucaillou is always one of the team’s favourite tastings and this year was no exception. The Parker score came as somewhat of a surprise to us, as most of the team preferred the 2012 to the ’11 – we’re not market makers yet..! Given the score, we were expecting a slightly lower price than transpired, but then again, the general critic score for Ducru was higher than Parker’s. Priced above many other back vintages, it is difficult to make a case for the Ducru representing short-term value.

La Conseillante was one of our favourite wines during our Dourthe tasting at Belgrave. It’s one of those Pomerols that often flies below the radar due to the tiny quantity produced each year, but the consistency of quality in recent years, combined with the relative value has certainly caught our attention. Geographical neighbours include l’Evangile, VCC and Petrus as well as St. Emilion counterpart Cheval Blanc – terroir’s not bad then! Bar the inferior 2007 (89 pts, £560 per case) it is the cheapest available vintage and the cheapest of the comparable back vintages by some distance. With a minute production of less than 4,000 cases, it is a rare wine that can only benefit from diminished supply (likely in the short-term). Considering Parker’s recent comments that “…the Pomerols are really not far off the quality of blockbuster years just like 2009 and 2010…” the case for Conseillante is very strong in 2012. A definite buy for us.

We were intrigued by Margaux this year, as the all of the top wines we tasted were showing quality over and above initial expectations. Château Margaux and Palmer are the two that almost never fail, but Rauzan Segla and Lascombes were two wines we were very interested in when leaving Bordeaux, in terms of monitoring both the score and price. Parker favoured Segla with 93-95 points, but Lascombes did not strike the same chord. Realistically, it is a very promising drinking wine for those who like the approachable Margaux but little can be said for investment credentials.

Ausone 2012 was an exciting release given the price (€360/bt) and score (95-97 pts). The problem was in the release size – 1st Tranche allocations were extremely tight and only a tiny parcel of the c.1,500 case total were made available. It’s an estate that seems to excel in average vintages and 2012 was no exception, we were bowled over at the tasting for the second year running and the score certainly seems merited. The 2nd Tranche release at €390/bt still warrants consideration from buyers and this will almost certainly be one of the wines of the vintage in years to come, in a year where the top right banks thrived.



Release (ex-neg)

RPJ (2011)

Release (2011)

% Diff.

Beausejour Duffau












Leoville Poyferre













Cheval Blanc






Ducru Beaucaillou






Cos d’Estournel












La Conseillante






Today saw the release of three more big names, including two interesting Right Banks.

Figeac has undergone a few changes to management and winemaking over the past couple of years, with Michel Rolland now a consultant for the property – although he was only involved with the assemblage for the ’12, he will have full control over the 2013 vintage. In recent years, Figeac have failed to make an impression on Parker et al over at The Wine Advocate, although Suckling and some others have found reason to get behind it. In fact, out of 41 vintages he has tasted, Parker has only awarded a score of 90 points or above 11 times! Certainly one of St. Emilion’s underperformers and the ’12 offers little promise, but it will be interesting to see what happens with next year’s vintage.

The other big Right Bank release was Beausejour Duffau @ €48/bt. Another St. Emilion that could have previously been accused of underperforming, Beausejour Duffau have produced a string of quality wines over the past four years, since the installation of Michel Rolland as consultant oenologist. After the highly acclaimed 1990 vintage (RPJ: 100 pts), Beausejour produced a number of wines which failed to live up to expectations, consistently scoring high 80’s to low 90’s. This estate is a shining example of the effect new management can have on the right terroir with back-to-back perfect scores for the ’09 and ’10 vintages. The 2012 is a 93-95+ wine at around a fifth of the current price of the ’09 or ’10. With less than 2,000 cases produced, there is minimal risk of this micro-cuvee going down in value over any period. In Parker’s recent tasting notes on the perfect 2010: “Anyone who has read this publication or visited St.-Emilion knows that this is a magical terroir capable of great things. It was only fully exploited in the past in the 1990 vintage, but has reached more consistently great heights over the last three or four years. Kudos to the duo of Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derenoncourt for what they have achieved over the last few years at Beausejour-Duffau”. It’s not just Bob asserting Duffau’s rise in quality, last year’s St. Emilion reclassification saw the estate ranked St. Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘B’, the appellation’s second highest possible status. Another right bank with a sensible price tag, Beausejour Duffau is another recommended buy.

Leoville Poyferre ’12 saw the price drop 16.2% from the 2011 release. This sort of a drop is of course welcome, but was it enough? Looking at the score, it’s hard to understand why one would buy the ’12 (89-91) for c.£450 per case over a more favourably priced back vintage, say the ’07 (89) for £420. If you use a more comparable back vintage as comparison, such as 2006 (91) @£480 or 2008 (94) £500, then you start to see some potential for future price movement. The only stumbling black is that is still doesn’t look as promising as several other ’12’s at similar price levels.


Cheval Blanc 2012 @ £3,525 per 12

Cos d’Estournel 2012 @ £950 per 12

Ducru Beaucaillou 2012 @ £745 per 12

La Conseillante 2012 @ £615 per 12

Lascombes 2012 @ £410 per 12

Ausone 2012 @ £4,150 per 12

Figeac 2012 @ £510 per 12

Beausejour Duffau 2012 @ £510 per 12

Leoville Poyferre 2012 @ £460 per 12

*all cases available as half-cases (6x75cl) and cases (12x75cl).     

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Parkers scores boosts Bordeaux’s on Liv-ex Index

Posted by on March 19, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News / No Comments

As predicted, following the recent Robert Parker in-bottle ranking scores, Liv-ex have reported that 13% of all trade by value so far in March is derived from Bordeaux 2010 wines.

Whist the 2010’s still trail behind the 2009’s, the recent surge is the most concentrated activity of the past year, with the five of his 10 “perfect” wines (Latour, Cheval Blanc, Pontet-Canet, Pape Clement and Le Dome), experiencing enhanced trade.


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