2012 Clos Dubreuil — “This over-achieving estate has hit a home run”
I’ve been asked several times recently, “which classified Bordeaux red should I buy for the cellar?” So, here it is, the wine I consider the greatest collectible Bordeaux buy right now: 2012 Clos Dubreuil. It is an exceptionally good Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Bordeaux-blend at an astonishingly reasonable price. Robert Parker agrees, rating it 95 points, just one point below the 2012 Ausone Premier Grand Cru Classé ($650) and the 2012 Petrus ($1,800), and scoring it higher than even the 2012 Cheval Blanc ($525), Château Lafleur ($500) and Château Angelus ($345). With Clos Dubreuil offered at $129 per bottle, this is undoubtedly the finest Saint-Émilion Grand Cru bargain available right now.
There are some winemakers who inherit a family business and just ride it out, distracted by other passions and never connecting with the tradition that they were born into. That’s not Benoit Trocard, not by a long shot. At the age of 12, Benoit was learning how to build wine barrels at the side of his great-grandfather. Winemaking goes back 15 generations in the family, some four centuries, and Benoit soaked up everything his grandfather and father could teach him. At the age of 24, and with newly minted degrees in business and winemaking, Benoit bought the barely 1-acre Clos Dubreuil in 2002.
What could a promising young winemaker of Trocard’s ambition and proud legacy do with the hallowed Merlot and half-century-old Cabernet Franc vines on the tiny Saint-Émilion Grand Cru estate? When I discovered that Michel Rolland was on board as consulting winemaker, knowing of his numerous 100-point wines and global reputation as a Bordeaux savant, my interest was truly piqued. What could this dynamic duo do with the meticulously tended vines atop this south-facing limestone plateau riddled with clay soils? The answer would come in 2012.
The estate had grown to just about 4 acres in 2012 and, here’s where I cede the limelight to Robert Parker, who said Clos Dubreuil “hit pay dirt” in 2012. Parker added: “This full-bodied, opulent, fleshy, deep, pure wine with no hard edges is impossible to resist.” The Wine Advocate concluded that “this over-achieving estate has hit a home run” in 2012, producing “a tour de force in this vintage.” I must agree.