2012 Vintage Report
The 2012 Vintage does not easily compare to any of the previous vintages in its weather pattern and the related vineyard activity.
A relatively late-ripening year due to the cool and very wet April with a marked lack of sunshine. This drawn out flowering and fruit set led to variable grape conditions especially among the Cabernet grapes. Once the fruit had emerged June then continued the pattern of cool, wet weather.
July proved to be more like the average and brought with it good (and much needed) sunshine which continued into August until the higher temperatures led to vines to shut down. This dry weather did slow down the late veraison and by the end of August there were still some green bunches on Cabernet vines which would mean another low harvest or the risk of 'green / herbaceous' flavours if the latter were picked not fully ripe. This uneven ripening of 2012 is one of the key characteristics.
September remained warmer and drier than average to start and this drought effect stressed both shallow rooted vines and those more laden with fruit. Deeper root crops and those planted on limestone or clay soils fared better and allowed more even ripening to proceed. The overall slow yet eventually complete ripening during August and September without excessive heat for a prolonged period helped bring 2012 up to par.
A sudden change later in September with the start of an early, wet Autumn did mean that the grapes picked were of variable quality. The best came in ripe, clean and in good health.
The dry white wines were picked earlier with the good weather and came in perfect condition. Sugar levels were higher than 2011, comparable to 2010. Acidity was higher than 2010 and similar to 2011. A very good year.
The wines of Sauternes suffered from the drought in the summer and the wet Autumn. There was initially stress from the dry summer and later a lack of noble rot - finally brought on by the late showers of September. There was a small quantity of excellent grapes with good sugar but lower than recent years.