2012 Château Tournefeuille Lalande-de-Pomerol La Terrasse
 
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500 Meters from Chateau Petrus Five Hundred Meters from Pétrus: Catherine Deneuve's Château Tournefeuille

We first read about régisseur Emeric Petit's famed terraces while seated at an open-air cafe on the Place des Vosges. The story spoke of France's movie stars, the restaurants they frequented and the wines they favored. It seems Catherine Deneuve's taste in Right Bank Bordeaux is unusually refined. While dining at Les Trois Marches in Versailles, Laurent in Paris, and La Vieille Fontaine in Maisons-Laffitte, sommeliers reported that Mme Deneuve regularly ordered a bottle of Château Pétrus' neighbor, Château Tournefeuille.

The brilliant young Bordelais enologist Stéphane Beuret, with whom we shared lunch yesterday, again sang Emeric Petit's praises on the eve of the release of the magnificent 2012 Tournefeuille La Terrasse. "If I had the means to buy one Château on the Right Bank, I'd pick Tournefeuille. The soils are the same as Pétrus, and Pétrus is literally 500 meters away. Vieux Château Certan, Gazin and La Fleur-Pétrus are down the road. There's only one thing that keeps Tournefeuille from fetching five times its asking price: The terraces of Tournefeuille are just over the Pomerol line, in Lalande-de-Pomerol. Move them a few hundred meters to the east and they'd be in Pétrus's back yard!"

Emeric Petit hasn't put on a pound since our visit last summer. M. Petit stands 6'4" tall, but weighs in at a lanky 165 pounds. "Over there," Emeric pointed across the way at Pétrus, "is where the greatest red wine in the world is grown. Our soils are the same. Gravel and clay. Our terraces enjoy similar exposure. While Pétrus is 100% Merlot, we are 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. The 2012 Pétrus will be released at about $1,500/bottle. The 2012 Tournefeuille," Emeric smiled, "will go for quite a bit less."

The winter of 2012, Emeric explained, was unusually wet. Spring was also cold and rainy, making for a very small and uneven set. "We were two weeks behind heading into July, but as is so often the case on the Right Bank, seemingly troublesome springs can set the stage for brilliant harvests."

In July, the weather turned extremely hot and dry. From mid-July to the beginning of September, not a drop of rain fell. "The winter and spring rain left us with a high water table. As a result, neither the Merlot nor the Franc suffered in the least. We then got a bit of rain at the end of September, truly at just the right moment. Sugars were perfect at harvest. Berry size was small. Seeds were brown, meaning that tannins would be ripe and soft."

(A quick note when defining your 2012 Bordeaux buying strategy: While the Left Bank's late-maturing Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot would be challenged by a rare tropical storm in early October, here at Pétrus (95-98 points/$1,500), Trotanoy (96-98 points/$300), Lafleur-Pétrus (94-96 points/$300) and Tournefeuille, every bunch of earlier-maturing Merlot and Cabernet Franc was harvested 10 days before the storm. Robert Parker described the 2012 vintage in Pomerol as excellent, "almost on par with the great 2009 and 2010 vintages." Meanwhile, just across the river on the Left Bank, many châteaux underperformed.)

The 2012 Tournefeuille La Terrasse is purple-ruby to rim, infused with intense aromas of ripe blackberry, black raspberry, violets, and sweet herbs. The nose is an absolute knockout. Plush and dense on the attack — initially seeming almost too fat for long-term aging — this large-scaled 2012 composed itself after two hours in oversized Riedel, becoming more restrained and more finely delineated, finishing on the brightest of notes, braced by long, smooth, sturdy tannic backbone. Drink now if you're impatient (or half out of your mind) — or do as Mme Deneuve and other savvy Right Bank collectors will be doing and lay the 2012 Tournefeuille La Terrasse down until sometime in the late 2020s.

We cut this "futures" deal with Emeric Petit over a year ago, thus explaining today's pricing. 1,200 bottles will be shipped directly from the Tournefeuille cellars in August, some of which will be earmarked for the likes of NYC's Restaurant Daniel and Le Bernardin.



Tasting Notes

2012 Château Tournefeuille Lalande-de-Pomerol La Terrasse
"The 2012 Tournefeuille La Terrasse is purple-ruby to rim, infused with intense aromas of ripe blackberry, black raspberry, violets, and sweet herbs. The nose is an absolute knockout. Plush and dense on the attack — initially seeming almost too fat for long-term aging — this large-scaled 2012 composed itself after two hours in oversized Riedel, becoming more restrained and more finely delineated, finishing on the brightest of notes, braced by long, smooth, sturdy tannic backbone. Drink now if you're impatient (or half out of your mind) — or do as Mme Deneuve and other savvy Right Bank collectors will be doing and lay the 2012 Tournefeuille La Terrasse down until sometime in the late 2020s."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

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