Les très bons élèves du millésime 2012

 

Château de Beaucastel Rouge - 2012 - 96/100

What I think might end up being the best Beaucastel since the 1990 or 2001, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape offers a full-bodied, decadent style to go with awesome black and blue fruits, garrigue, licorice, crushed flowers and violets. The purity here is truly something, and it has fabulous mid-palate concentration, building tannin and massive texture. Given all of the fruit and texture here, it will no doubt drink well in its youth, but it should still be alive and kicking after two decades as well. Jeb Dunnuck

Gigondas Sélections Parcellaires L'Argnée Vieilles Vignes - 2012 - 92-94/100

Looking just as good and with only 2,000 bottles made, the 2012 Gigondas L’Argnee Vieilles Vignes is a blend of Grenache and Syrah, fermented with 100% whole-cluster, that’s aged all in older foudre. Coming from sandy soils and pre-phylloxera vines, it offers a tight, backward bouquet of mineral-laced dark fruits, underbrush and pepper to go with a medium to full-bodied, dense and yet beautifully textured profile on the palate. Grippy, energetic and lively, with masses of fine tannin, this beauty will also need a handful of years in the cellar to come together, and have 15 years or more of longevity. Jeb Dunnuck

Vinsobres Sélections Parcellaires Les Hauts de Julien Vieilles Vignes - 2012 - 94-96/100

Showing much more open and expressive than when I tasted it last year (or said another way, I under-rated it), the 2012 Côtes du Rhône Villages Vinsobres les Hauts de Julien comes from close to 100-year-old vines located in the northern part of the Southern Rhône. A blend of Syrah and Grenache that’s still in barrel, it offers thrilling notes of smoked dark fruits, pepper meats, graphite and big minerality to go with a full-bodied, focused, concentrated and serious feel on the palate. This is impressive across the board, and might be the greatest Vinsobres I’ve ever tasted. Short-term cellaring is advised, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this still drinking brilliantly at age 20. Jeb Dunnuck