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Magnum of Château Bourgneuf, Pomerol 2012

Red Wine from France - Bordeaux
Succulent and beautifully balanced Pomerol from a family-owned property that has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Classically structured right bank claret made predominantly from merlot. This wine is a Museum Release: thanks to our member-owned co-operative model, our buyers are able to buy wines to mature in the perfect conditions of our temperature-controlled cellars and release them when they are ready to enjoy.
Price: £60.00 Bottle
Price: £360.00 Case of 6
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Code: CS9004

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • Merlot
  • 14% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2029
  • 150cl
  • Cork, natural

St Emilion, Pomerol

Saint-Emilion

There is an ancient history of wine making in the area of St Emilion, with Roman viticulture attested to in the poetry of Ausonius after whom the Première Grand Cru Château Ausone is named. The vineyards and much visited town have been awarded UNESCO world heritage List status as a cultural landscape and are enjoying a period of particular dynamism and prosperity.

Merlot is the dominant grape here with cabernet franc in earnest support and some supporters of the more difficult to ripen cabernet sauvignon. The soils, damper and cooler than those of the Médoc, are responsible for this and merlot performs beautifully in the clay, limestone, gravel and other alluvial deposits that make up the vineyard soils. Much is made of the clay based soils of the area but the picture is a broader than that.

If we ignore the areas down by the river and on its flood plain and the satellites that we discuss elsewhere, there remain two main areas where the quality of the wines speaks for the...
Saint-Emilion

There is an ancient history of wine making in the area of St Emilion, with Roman viticulture attested to in the poetry of Ausonius after whom the Première Grand Cru Château Ausone is named. The vineyards and much visited town have been awarded UNESCO world heritage List status as a cultural landscape and are enjoying a period of particular dynamism and prosperity.

Merlot is the dominant grape here with cabernet franc in earnest support and some supporters of the more difficult to ripen cabernet sauvignon. The soils, damper and cooler than those of the Médoc, are responsible for this and merlot performs beautifully in the clay, limestone, gravel and other alluvial deposits that make up the vineyard soils. Much is made of the clay based soils of the area but the picture is a broader than that.

If we ignore the areas down by the river and on its flood plain and the satellites that we discuss elsewhere, there remain two main areas where the quality of the wines speaks for the terroir.

The first is up on the plateau that abuts the border with Pomerol. A continuation of the plateau of sand and gravel that defines the best wines of Pomerol, this area is home to the most sought after of all Saint-Emilions, Château Cheval Blanc. The second group of properties are to be found on an escarpment east of the town of Saint-Emilion, where a thin layer of topsoil overlays a bedrock of sandstone on south-facing slopes that end suddenly and precipitously. Though the best wines of the second group are less highly regarded than the best of the first group there are superb wines in both.

Unlike its Pomerol next door, the wines of Saint-Emilion have access to a classification system akin to that of the 1855 Médoc version. Established in 1955, the Saint-Emilion classification is redrawn every ten years, which always causes a legal rumpus as demoted properties seek redress for the insult. Wines are assessed on several criteria such as soils, aspect and vine age and are tasted for typicity. Once accepted at one of the three levels the wines are required to adhere to stricter appellation rules than their supposedly lesser fellow estates with regard to yields and ageing.

The levels of the classification begin with the Grand Cru Classé properties of which there are several hundred (there are 800 or so estates in Saint-Emilion in total). Above this is Première Grand Cru, with 18 member currently, and at the top the Premières Grands Crus (A) which consists of the Châteaux Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angelus and Pavie, the latter two having been promoted in 2012.

At its best Saint-Emilion should be should be rich, full-coloured, spicy and apparently sweet, and the best properties balance these qualities with finesse length. No white wines are made.

Pomerol

Despite not having a classification system like the Médoc and Saint-Emilion, Pomerol has an enviable reputation for some of the very best Bordeaux wines that can fetch eye-watering prices. However, at its best Pomerol produces sublime wines with a rich, almost fleshy, velvety flavour. It's worth buying the best which are never cheap.

The appellation is tiny, only 785 hectares, but within this flat but bijou acreage there are a great number of small estates with few of the grand châteaux that crop up throughout other Bordeaux districts. The land is effectively a great bank rising in gentle terraces from the Dordogne and Isle rivers, consisting of a good deal of clay leavened by gravel and sand in varying quantities depending on where you stand. The sandiest slopes, making the lightest wines, are on the lower slopes close to the Dordogne, and the best terroir is considered to be up in the north-eastern corner where the clay is at its thickest. Here you will find the big names of the appellation such Châteaux Pétrus, La Fleur Pétrus, Lafleur and Vieux Château Certan. Nowhere is more than 40 metres above sea level.

Merlot is at least 80% of planting and is similarly represented in any blended wines, though many are pure merlot. Cabernet franc is runner up here, with cabernet sauvignon and malbec also permitted.

The influential Moueix family have been incredibly important in the development of Pomerol’s reputation as a fine wine appellation, both as négociants and as owners of some of the finest properties. Pétrus, Lafleur Pétrus, Hosanna and Providence are all under their ownership.
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Château Bourgneuf

A true family affair, this property has been in the hands of the Vayron family since 1840, and has now passed through eight generations. Its current owners are Xavier and Dominique Vayron, who inherited the estate in the 1970s, and their daughter Frédérique, who has continued to improve the property since she became involved in 2005.

The family’s nine hectares of vines stand in one block on the Pomerol plateau, where they benefit from plenty of sunshine, and the finest part of the vineyard lies next to top Pomerol property Château Trotanoy. The mix of soil types – varying between clay, sandy clay and gravel – provides a nuanced palate of grape characteristics from which to create a concentrated, complex wine.

There are just two grapes grown here: merlot, which makes up 90% of the blend, and cabernet franc which contributes the remaining 10%. Grapes are all hand harvested before being fermented in temperature-controlled cement vats, after which the wine ages for around 16 months in oak, up to 30% of which are new barrels.

Luckily for Society members, American gurus read this wine wrong, and it is still available to us at a reasonable price. Although it shows more fruit and perfume when young, Bourgneuf has always been a wine that requires and benefits from ageing, and should be kept for between eight and 20 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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