The new 2012 vintage of Château La Tour Carnet is now available at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, along with the 2010 and 2011 vintages, which makes for a very nice vertical. I was able to sample the 2012 La Tour Carnet after the wine was bottled, and I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that the finished wine exhibits rich fruit, ripe tannins and perfect balance. The “+” in Parker’s 2013 barrel tasting rating makes room for a higher score in the future; this wine deserves it. Many of the 2012 Bordeaux recently tasted showed lots of fruit and silky tannins, which seems to be the common characteristic of the vintage, making these wines approachable very young.
La Tour Carnet is one of four Classified Bordeaux Châteaux and 66 wine domains worldwide under the ownership and expert management of Bernard Magrez.
Initially called Château de Saint-Laurent, this ancient medieval fortress perched on one of the most attractive slopes in the Médoc has been inhabited from the 12th century onwards. The château’s defensive architecture, with its famous round tower built in the 11th century, evokes the troubled period of the Hundred Years’ War.
Château La Tour Carnet was rewarded for the quality of its wine when it was listed as a “Grand Cru Classé” for the occasion of the Universal Exhibition in Paris 1855.
The following tasting notes and scores are from Wine Advocate #205, #206 and #212.
(Wine Advocate #205, February 2013)
Probably La Tour Carnet’s best since their 2001, the 2010 La Tour Carnet exhibits wonderful ripeness, a dense ruby/purple color, notes of licorice, camphor and some toast as well as lots of black currant and blueberry fruit. It is medium to full-bodied, with attractive sweetness of tannin, good acidity, excellent delineation to its component parts, and a full-bodied, impressively long finish. This wine may close down somewhat, given the moderate tannins, but it seems relatively accessible despite being a 2010. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2035.
Another spectacular effort from proprietor Bernard Magrez, this Haut Médoc was harvested very late in 2010. The final blend is 60% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest a small amount of Cabernet Franc with 1% Petit Verdot.
(Wine Advocate #212, April 2014)
From Bordeaux visionary Bernard Magrez, this blend of 57% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot comes from one of the most ancient fortified châteaux of the Médoc (constructed in 1120 AD). Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by hints of graphite, black currants, spice box and charcoal. This medium-bodied 2011 reveals excellent to outstanding concentration, sweet tannin and a long finish. A sleeper of the vintage, it is a beautiful effort from this challenging vintage. Moreover, it will evolve for 15 or more years.
(Wine Advocate #206, April 2013)
One of the better values in classified growth Bordeaux over many recent vintages has been La Tour Carnet, which proprietor Bernard Magrez has resurrected to a very high class performance. However, the 2012 La Tour Carnet did not impress me nearly as much as earlier vintages. This deep ruby/purple-hued effort reveals a certain austerity and astringent tannin despite the high Merlot content (about 66% with the rest mostly Cabernet Sauvignon). It is an earthy, angular, medium-bodied, slightly astringent effort. Certainly elevage in the cellars will soften this cuvee somewhat, but for now, it looks like it needs several years of cellaring. It should keep for 12-15 years.