“It’s not an exceptional vintage but it’s a good vintage. It’s not effortless, as in 2009 and 2010, but then you can’t ask vines to produce the top level possible every year.” -Alain Raynaud, president of the Cercle Rive Droite
The initial reactions from those who attended the en primeur Cercle Rive Droite tasting in London were rightfully cautious. Tasting any barrel sample to assess the quality and trajectory of a wine is a tricky feat. Tasting Bordeaux blends that have barely just finished malolactic fermentation and have recently been introduced to heavy treatments of new oak can be borderline useless and beyond the capability of all but the most experienced. Cercle Rive Droite takes it one step further into the realm of the quasi-useless by presenting a group of Right-Bank wines that is generally considered “highly selective and unrepresentative.” Notes and impressions resulting from such an event should never be taken as gospel, however, what is without doubt a truth is the difficulty of the vintage in France.
“The 2012 growing season is notorious, especially in France and England, for the appalling weather at the beginning of the summer, with hailstorms in April, rain for most of June, followed by a heatwave in the third week of August in which temperatures in Bordeaux reached 42C, causing vines to shut down and fruit to burn, and then more rain at harvest. Winemakers present at the tasting said that it was a vintage that required great attention to detail, in the vineyard and the winery. Grapes tended to have thin skins requiring much more extraction for tannins and colour.”