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Bordeaux 2012 Plans and Paywall News

I’m getting back into the swing of things again, now that I have returned from a week tasting the 2012 primeurs in Bordeaux. I have a lot to write about, and I started today with my introduction to Bordeaux 2012 (subscribers only), giving a detailed backdrop on the growing season, the peculiarities of the weather, and what happened when harvest time arrived. Tomorrow I will get on with the wines, starting with Pessac-Léognan. Thereafter I will roll out at least three reports each week, interspersed with some new profiles and updates on the Loire in order to give the more Ligérian-minded readers something to mull over during this Bordeaux-heavy period of the year.

I thought, as I have more detail to impart and more tasting notes to present than in previous years, that I would just give a quick run-down of how the reports will proceed. After Pessac-Léognan I will continue with the communes of the left bank, including St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux, as usual. This year, however, I have tasted quite extensively beyond these appellations, and so instead of finishing with a “Mopping Up” report, I will continue on with separate reports for Moulis & Listrac, Haut-Médoc and Médoc this year.

The sandy plain and limestone-clay côtes of St Emilion, April 2013

Then it will be on to the right bank, with a monster report on St Emilion (pictured above, the sandy plain in the foreground, and the clay-limestone côtes of the plateau – that’s Pavie bottom right); always the biggest report by far, reflecting the huge size of this appellation, this year’s promises to be bigger than ever. I haven’t really counted, but it looks like there are at least 60 tasting notes; contrast that with the likes of St Julien or St Estèphe, both of which would be doing well to muster up one-quarter that number. Then it will be on to Pomerol to report on some of the stars of the vintage; when Château Gazin released yesterday I was concerned the campaign might sweep forward before I could get my notes out, but I would be surprised if it does. The Bordelais remember too well getting their fingers burnt with early releases in the 2008 vintage, only to later realise Parker liked the vintage and post-sale trading saw profit go to the dealers and merchants instead of the châteaux. There have been enough murmurings from Monkton for the Bordelais to know there is hope of a high score (especially in Pessac-Léognan and Pomerol) and I believe, unless a first growth or other big name leads the way, that they will hold out.

After these two more famous appellation, three more updates, the first of which is named Castillon & Co. for the wines of Castillon, Fronsac and the St Emilion and Pomerol satellites. Actually, I don’t think I have any tasting notes on wines from the St Emilion satellites but who knows, I might uncover one buried somewhere in my spreadsheet of notes. Then I will move on to generic Bordeaux; this might not sound like a particularly interesting instalment, but I would disagree. It includes wines from Suduiraut, Guiraud, Cos d’Estournel, the Guinaudeau family of Lafleur, Jean-Luc Thunevin of Valandraud, Clos des Lunes (owned by the Bernard family of Domaine de Chevalier) and plenty of other interesting wines. Finally comes Sauternes; something of a damp squib to finish on this year, such was the vintage, but hardly surprising. Surely there must be some sort of rule against having a fourth great vintage in a row? As last year, I will tag on a final post on my Primeur Picks, highlighting some of the more attractive wines of the vintage.

In other news, I am in the processing of improving and expanding the payment options for subscribers. First, I set up a Paypal option on Sunday, and have been meaning to draw your attention to it since then. Well, finally I have gotten around to it. Secondly, I have applied to have American Express added to the list of eligible cards, and I hope this can be finalised in the next week or two. Many thanks to all those of you who have subscribed (more than I expected!), I really appreciate your support.

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