Bordeaux 2012 at Ten Years

The tasting room, on the first floor of a Regency town house in central London, was a picture of quiet, focused contemplation. Within its 19th-century walls were three tables, covered in white linen, upon which stood a regiment of bottles, lined up as if soldiers on parade. Their names were familiar, and yet in some cases distant, unobtainable, the stuff of wine lovers’ dreams; some of these wines might be known more by renown than by their taste.

Among their ranks were some evocative names and labels, the pinnacle of all Bordeaux has to offer; the pale yellow of the Petrus label, St Peter holding the key to the gates of heaven, or perhaps to his own personal cellar? The simplicity of the label of Le Pin, designed – according to Jacques Thienpont himself – in three minutes flat, as he stood at the counter of a local printing and design shop; and the grandeur of Latour, the label carrying the famous image of a tower, one that no longer even stands.

Bordeaux 2012at Ten Years

Before these bottles, a handful of tasters moved in near silence. Numbering not even half a dozen, they shuffled from right bank to left, from one grand label to the next, interrogating each wine in turn. Only a few subtle noises intruded upon this scene of studied tranquility; the soft scribbling of 2B pencil lead, carrying their thoughts and conclusions onto the paper; the occasional creaking of a wooden floorboard; a stifled cough, followed by hastily muttered apologies.

I joined their privileged ranks, and picked up bottle number one.

It was time to return to the 2012 vintage in Bordeaux.

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