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Château d'Aiguilhe, Côtes de Castillon 2012

Red Wine from France - Bordeaux
A plummy and enticing gem from the larger than life Stephan von Neipperg, who also owns Saint-Emilion superstars Canon La Gaffelière and La Mondotte. This has a lovely bouquet of stone fruits and spice, and has the hallmark opulence that marks the property out as one of the finest in the Castillon region.
Price: £24.00 Bottle
Price: £288.00 Case of 12
In Stock
Code: CB4211

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • Merlot/Cabernet Franc
  • 14.5% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2023
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

Bourg, Blaye, 1er Cotes

The best growers in the less-fashionable regions of the satellite appellations Blaye, Bourg, and the old Premières Côtes have to work that bit harder to get their wines known and the quality is often exceedingly high while the prices remain sensible.

Blaye is the northernmost of these satellites, named after the town of Blaye (pronounced ‘Bly’), which sits on the varied soils of the right-hand shore of the great Gironde estuary. Merlot dominates and the majority of the wines are soft and easy-drinking, balanced and flavourful, but without the dominance of new oak. The wines are usually ready to drink much sooner than those of neighbouring Bourg.

Côtes de Bourg is a smaller region south of Blaye, where the Dordogne joins the Garonne to become the Gironde. The soils here are more homogenously clay with limestone and the wines, though still generally merlot dominated, are more robust with delectable tannins, and they benefit from a little more time in bottle as a result. They can...
The best growers in the less-fashionable regions of the satellite appellations Blaye, Bourg, and the old Premières Côtes have to work that bit harder to get their wines known and the quality is often exceedingly high while the prices remain sensible.

Blaye is the northernmost of these satellites, named after the town of Blaye (pronounced ‘Bly’), which sits on the varied soils of the right-hand shore of the great Gironde estuary. Merlot dominates and the majority of the wines are soft and easy-drinking, balanced and flavourful, but without the dominance of new oak. The wines are usually ready to drink much sooner than those of neighbouring Bourg.

Côtes de Bourg is a smaller region south of Blaye, where the Dordogne joins the Garonne to become the Gironde. The soils here are more homogenously clay with limestone and the wines, though still generally merlot dominated, are more robust with delectable tannins, and they benefit from a little more time in bottle as a result. They can develop extremely well with short to mid-term cellaring.

Before the draining of the marshes of the Médoc in the 17th century it was these areas that provided a good deal of the wine exported to Britain.

Castillon adjoins Saint-Emilion to the east along the Dordogne and inland to the north. It is developing a good reputation for its wines and several prestigious producers from neighbouring appellations have invested a good deal to make wine here and too very good effect alongside a number of excellent locals such as Château de Pitray. Merlot again dominates on a mixture of soils from clay to sand and gravel, though cabernet sauvignon is also has a presence.

A wider umbrella appellation controlee called simply Côtes de Bordeaux identifies special terroirs, which includes Blaye and Castillon with one or two others on the banks of the two rivers Garonne and Dordogne. The vast majority of production is red, made mostly from merlot, and there are many excellent producers here, such as Denis Dubourdieu.
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Château d'Aiguilhe

This is an outstanding Castillon estate that is renowned for its rich and opulent wines. The word ‘l’aiguille’ is French for ‘needle’ or ‘peak’, and indeed the original château d’Aiguilhe – which burned down in the early 20th century – was on the peak of some hills overlooking the Dordogne, on the border of the Cotes de Castillon and Saint-Emilion regions.

Today, the property is run by Stephan von Niepperg. He owns a selection of Bordeaux properties, including the wonderful La Mondotte and Canon-la-Gaffeliére in Saint-Emilion, and he purchased and began renovating this estate in December 1989. His experience and considerable investment mean the wines have been excellent since the sumptuous 2001 vintage.

All 50 hectares of the vines, which have an average age of 28 years, are on the upper parts of south-facing hills for optimum exposure to the sun. The well-draining clay-limestone soils are rich with minerals, giving extra power and concentration to the vines, which are planted with 80% merlot and 20% cabernet franc.

Grapes are harvested by hand and fermented in temperature-controlled wooden vats. The wine is then aged for 15 months in oak, 50% of which is new, and fining and filtration is carried out only when absolutely necessary. The wines will drink beautifully for between four to 10 years.

Bordeaux Vintage 2012

2012 was another complicated vintage in which the producers who were fastidious and sensitive in the vineyard and the winery were the most successful. They produced wines with great charm, freshness and poise that are very often approachable early. The best examples, however, will age well for the medium term.

The growing season was a difficult one. It started late; spring was wet, as was the early summer, which disrupted flowering. The remainder of the summer was very dry but unsettled weather returned for the harvest period. Considerable variability was the result, with some uneven ripening. Those prepared to put in a lot of work in the vineyard and who were willing to sacrifice some of the crop in an already small vintage made the best wines. Care was also needed in the cellars to avoid over-extraction of any unripe tannins.

Merlot on the right bank performed well and there are some excellent Pomerols and Saint-Emilions, but many very fine cabernets were produced at top estates in...
2012 was another complicated vintage in which the producers who were fastidious and sensitive in the vineyard and the winery were the most successful. They produced wines with great charm, freshness and poise that are very often approachable early. The best examples, however, will age well for the medium term.

The growing season was a difficult one. It started late; spring was wet, as was the early summer, which disrupted flowering. The remainder of the summer was very dry but unsettled weather returned for the harvest period. Considerable variability was the result, with some uneven ripening. Those prepared to put in a lot of work in the vineyard and who were willing to sacrifice some of the crop in an already small vintage made the best wines. Care was also needed in the cellars to avoid over-extraction of any unripe tannins.

Merlot on the right bank performed well and there are some excellent Pomerols and Saint-Emilions, but many very fine cabernets were produced at top estates in the Médoc, with Châteaux Margaux, Mouton Rothschild, Haut-Brion, Palmer and Pichon Baron all vying for the cabernet crown, and Vieux Château Certan a particular highlight of the merlot-dominant wines.

There are many well-judged, good-value reds at the lower end of the price spectrum which will make enjoyable early drinking.

2012 was another fine vintage for the dry whites picked before the change in the weather. In terms of sweet wines those châteaux situated in the commune of Barsac breathed a collective sigh of relief at the end of the 2012 harvest, and have made some enchanting wines, with sweetness levels akin to 2008 (lower than in 2009 and 2011), and very pure botrytis character. 2012 was a tale of two communes, with many Sauternes properties deciding not to release a grand vin at all. Barsac’s limestone plateau was better able to withstand both the summer drought and the periods of intermittent rain during the harvest.
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2012 vintage reviews

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