The arrival of the invitation to a Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGC) tasting is always eagerly awaited because it gives those wine investment professionals who have not been lucky enough to attend en primeur week the chance to taste what all the fuss is about. It is also usually the first chance that most people have to taste the finished product from the bottle before it is shipped off to negociants and wine merchants and eventually the customer.
The Vin-X team arrived at the Paul Hamlyn Hall adjoining the Royal Opera House with no real expectations. Whilst the critics had deemed that 2012 was never going to be a classic like 2009 or 2010 neither had they marked it down as badly as 2013. With only a few hours available the trick was to select a number of chateaux to provide a representative sample and focus particularly on the top end investment grade chateaux. I have to say I think we were all pleasantly surprised. 2012 is a very easy drinking vintage that will be accessible at a very young age. There was little evidence of any hard tannin and the general consensus was that whilst it may not provide many investment grade wines there would be plenty that would be very drinkable, very soon for a reasonable price. Our only female taster particularly liked the Troplong Mondot and of course the classic, sweet Sauternes from Doisy Daene. The newest tasting member of our team preferred the Lynch-Bages and the Pavie Macquin whilst my favourite was Gazin. All different but that’s the beauty and subjectivity of fine wine.