Over the past couple years much of my wine purchases have been determined by the region in the world that I am studying. But I also go through phases in which I crave and just go bonkers over particular wines.
For the last 18 months I’ve been in a Bordeaux phase (particularly the left bank) so when the opportunity to do a 2012 (mostly) tasting at K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City presented itself I just couldn’t pass it up. The following are my notes, hastily written in a crowded tasting room, for 9 wines 6 of which are of the 2012 vintage that I tasted on Saturday June 27, 2015:
1. 2013 Alto de Cantenac Brown Blanc
In the line-up there were three wines that were not from the 2012 vintage. This was the first wine which is a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon. On the nose the first thing that hit me was a waft of a sweat drenched t-shirt followed by medium+ intense aromas of grapefruit, lemon pith, dried grass, herbs, and white chalk. On the palate it is dry with crisp high acidity, it is light in body and has a long finish. While I enjoyed this wine on its own I think it would be better appreciated with shellfish. This wine sells for $24.99.
2. 2000 Chateau Pontet-Canet, Pauillac – 5th Growth
This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc. On the nose it has moderately intense aromas of smoky meat and damp earth up front and then the fruit follows with subtle aromas of black currants, wild blackberries, cigar box, black olive and rusty nails. On the palate it On the palate it is dry with with moderate tannins, medium acidity and a medium+ length finish with lingering flavors of rusty metal. I didn’t particularly care for this wine as the aromas and flavors seemed a bit disjointed, the rusty metal component was off-putting and it was way overpriced at $149.99 per bottle.
3. 2012 Tour Saint Christopher St. Emillion
This wine is a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cab Franc. On the nose it has medium intense aromas of black cherries, black berries, ripe plums, soy-sauce, and purple flowers with notes of cocoa, charcoal, and a hint of mint. On the palate it is dry with with moderate tannins, medium acidity and a moderate length. While I wasn’t in love with this wine you won’t find a wine of this complexity and quality in the Napa Valley for $29.99 per bottle.
4. 2012 Larcis Ducasse St. Emilion – 1er Grand Cru Classe
This wine is a blend of 83% Merlot and 17% Cab Franc. On the nose it has moderate intense aromas of black cherries, blackberries, plums, and chocolate covered thin mints. On the palate it is dry with moderate tannins, medium acidity and a medium+ length finish. The wine is well balanced and harmonious and was the best of the right bank wines that were poured. It sells for $69.99 per bottle.
5. 2012 Larcis Les Carmes Haut Brion Pessac Leognan
This wine is a blend of 44% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has subtle aromas of indistinguishable black fruits - a mélange of blackberries, black cherries and currants in which are clearly identifiable. Following the fruit it has just a hint of black licorice and baker’s chocolate. On the palate it is bone dry with fierce gripping tannins, moderate acidity and a medium length finish. The wine lacks balance and harmony and the grapes seemed to be in competition with each other. It is like an awkward teenager that will either get dorkier as it ages or will develop into something special. But right now at $44.99 per bottle I’d say, “Pass” as it was a bit of a disappointment.
6. 2012 Chateau Palmer Alter Ego, Margaux
This wine is a blend of 51% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 9% Petit Verdot. Immediately this wine grabs your attention with a beautiful bouquet of black currants, blackberries, graphite, dark chocolate, a flowery perfume and black olives. On the palate it is dry with silky tannins, moderate acidity and a long finish. This wine is well balanced and harmonious and while it drinks beautifully now it will definitely improve over the next few years. While I’m not in the habit of giving wine scores, if I did I’d give it 93/100. This wine sells for $59.99 per bottle.
7. 2012 Leoville Poyferre St. Julien – 2nd Growth
This wine is a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, and 4% Cabernet Franc. On the nose this wine has medium+ intense aromas of smoked meat and pipe tobacco up front followed by crème de cassis, dark chocolate, wet gravel and a hint of mint. On the palate it is dry with medium+ tannins, moderate acidity and a long finish. I can’t recall ever coming across smoke or meat characteristics in a wine from Bordeaux so I usually reserve those descriptors for wines from the northern Rhône, but they were finitely present. The wine is well balanced now and everything is well-integrated but will definitely improve over the next 3-8 years. This wine sells for $74.99 per bottle.
8. 2012 Chateau Margaux – 1st Growth
This wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Merlot. It was so glorious that any written words fail to do it justice. The wine exudes a symphony of aromas with layers of crème de cassis, pipe tobacco, cocoa, new leather, black tea, vanilla bean, and graphite. On the palate the wine is dry with aggressive medium+ tannins, moderate acidity and a long finish. The wine is well balanced and is showing beautifully now but definitely needs 5+ years to show its full potential. While I really enjoyed this wine, $379.99 is a bit out of my range.
9. 2011 Chateau d Yquem Sauternes - Premier Cru Supérieur
This wine is a blend of 80% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc. On the nose it has pronounced aromas of overly ripe pineapple, orange blossoms, honeycomb, graham crackers and frosted corn flakes. On the palate it is intensely sweet with high acidity with moderate body and a very long clean finish. This wine sells for $429.99 per 750 ml bottle and $219.99 375 ml bottle.
These and other wines are available at:
K&L Wine Merchants
3005 El Camino Real
Redwood City, CA, 94061
877-KLWines (877-559-4637) (Toll Free)
(650) 364-8544 (Local)
(650) 364-4687 (Fax)