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2012 Le Gay

2012 Le Gay


Critic Reviews

The 2012 Le Gay is beautifully seductive, powerful and layered from start to finish. A wine of crystalline precision and nuance, the 2012 literally sparkles with striking aromatic presence and fabulous overall balance. Lavender, slate, mint and crème de cassis are some of the many notes that blossom in a silky Pomerol that has it all. I imagine the 2012 will reward readers with many years of fine drinking.

Antonio Galloni | 95 AG
A polished, suave style, with alluring plum sauce, melted black licorice and fruitcake notes backed by a solidly built finish of plum skin and black tea. Shows ample stuffing.

Wine Spectator | 92-95 WS
The 2012 from Le Gay sports an inky purple color as well as masculine, lifted notes of plums, violets, licorice and scorched earth. A big, rich, concentrated effort, it has impeccable purity, a firm, focused, structured core, notable acidity, and superb concentration, all suggesting it needs to be forgotten for 7-8 year. It should keep for 15+ years.

Jeb Dunnuck | 95 JD
This is a beautiful, dense, meaty, purple-colored wine, with loads of earth, iron, blackberry and cassis fruit. It is full-bodied, rich and opulent with great length, terrific purity and surprisingly sweeter tannin than I would expect from this terroir that tends to produce a masculine style of wine. Impressive and backward, this Le Gay should drink well for at least 20 years.

Robert Parker | 94+ RP
An exemplary wine, this is powerful, rich and full of ripe red fruits. The palate is dark, but brightened by acidity, red fruits and a beautiful line of freshness.

Wine Enthusiast | 94 WE
This is dense and polished with refined tannins and beautiful fruit. Full-bodied yet reserved and elegant. Very long and attractive. Better in 2018.

James Suckling | 92 JS

Wine Details for 2012 Le Gay

Type of Wine Bordeaux Red : Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend : The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.

For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.

France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.

France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.

Region Bordeaux : Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Subregion Right Bank
Appellation Pomerol


Producer Chateau Le Gay : Chateau le Gay has a long and interesting history in the appellation of Pomerol, dating back to 1845. At the time, it was known as Domaine du Gay. The property takes its name from its location as the lieu-dit in which it resides is called le Gay.

This once larger estate was prised of parcels of land throughout years of its formative days. In 1872, the Greloud family recognizing its exceptional terroir, purchased a parcel of le Gay which abetted in the formation of the legendary Chateau Lafleur. Once again, in the 1950s, parcels were sold to Jean Pierre Moueix which were used to increase the size of Chateau La Fleur Petrus.

In 2002, Chateau le gay would take a great stride forward in both quality and in holdings. The estate was purchased by Catherine Pere Verge, known as the grand woman of Pomerol. She was already the owner of several Right Bank Pomerol estates such as Chateau La Violette, Chateau Montviel, Chateau Feytit-Lagrave and Chateau Tristan, when le Gay was acquired.

After concluding the 25-million dollar purchase, her first important decision was to increase the size of the vineyards. This was hastily accomplished by planting an additional 3.4 hectares on lands that were not being used. These vines would begin being blended into the Grand Vin in 2006. The next move was to bring in Michel Rolland as their consultant, who suggested the hiring of Marcelo Pelleriti as winemaker. Their relationship was well established and had been working together at another Pere Verge family estate in Mendoza, Argentina. By 2005 the quality and style from this great terroir had taken a giant leap forward.

The terroir of clay and gravel soil located on the Pomerol Plateau is perfectly suited for the varietals planted. The 10.5-hectare vineyard is planted to 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Its best terroir is located next to Chateau La Fleur Petrus. The older vines are planted to a density of 5,500 vines per hectare, while the young vines are planted to 9,900. When vines are replanted, it is to the density of the young vines. Le Gay has old vines averaging close to 50 years of age with some that were planted back in 1956.

Sadly, Catherine Pere Verge passed away in 2014, but her memory and driving spirit lives on at Chateau le Gay. Her son, Henri Parent, who is now in control of operations is working to maintain the legacy of the family name and reputation of Chateau le Gay. The goal is for modern era le Gay to ascend to the incredible quality of the legendary wines of the 1940s and 1950s.

The wines of Chateau le Gay are concentrated, deeply flavored and provide opulent, sensuous textures. Over the past few decades it has become one of the top Pomerol estates to watch and purchase as the wines have incredible quality, character, ageability and offered at a fair price. In good years, the wine will reach peak maturity between 10-40 years after the vintage. Le Gay produces a second wine named Monoir de Gay and is produced from the youngest vines in the vineyard. On average, le Gay produces 1,500 cases per year.

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