Bordeaux en primeur 2018 release prices

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2019-04-29


MONDAY 17th JUNE

Some huge scores for Vieux Chateau Certan 2018 this year, including an impressive 18.5 from Julia Harding of JancisRobinson.com. VCC is on a massive roll and there is no disputing the quality - the scores from recent vintages are level pegging with their very much more expensive neighbours, Petrus and Le Pin. Released at £219 per bottle, a 20% premium to our proto-price, the 2018 is 10% cheaper than 2016 but more expensive than the ‘09 (12%) and the same price as the ’10.

We prefer the 2011, mis-judged by Robert Parker in many people’s opinion, and similarly loaded as the ’18 with Cabernet Franc. Julia scores it 18 and Neal Martin 96-8 and at less than £100 a bottle is less than half the price of the ’18 – go figure! See full note here.

99-100 Points - James Suckling

98-100 Points - Wine Enthusiast

97-100 Points - Wine Advocate

98-100 Points - Wine Cellar Insider / Jeff Leve

94-97 Points - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

98-100 Points - Decanter

FRIDAY 14th JUNE

Figeac has been released this morning at £181 per bottle, 46% clear of our proto-price of £124.22. There seems to be no doubt among critics that Figeac has produced one of the best wines in their history. The 2017, which is still languishing at release price, just takes the lead in absolute relative value (see chart), but isn’t really in the same league as the 2018, a vintage which may prove a qualitative milestone for Figeac.

Chateau Figeac 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

Worth noting too that the relative value score is high at 20, and compares extremely favourably to similar quality wines from other St Emilion properties. Pavie, for example released at £292 per bottle, which makes the better scoring Figeac look quite exciting.

97-99 Points - Wine Advocate

18 Points - Julia Harding

96-99 Points - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

98-99 Points - James Suckling

97-99 Points - Jeb Dunnuck

Conseillante has also been released this morning at £168 per bottle, so 60% up on our proto-price of £105. This is 35% above last year’s release price, but there’s a palpable increase in quality, and still looks well-priced in comparison to top-flight Pomerol peers.

La Conseillante 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

96-98+ Points - Wine Advocate

95-98 Points - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

97-98 Points - James Suckling

97-100 Points - Jeb Dunnuck

97 Points - Decanter

Cheval Blanc is also off and running this morning at £549 per bottle, a relatively modest 12% above our proto-price of £490.33.

Given the potential for a top score, it’s arguable that there’s value here, but many buyers would be forgiven for wondering whether back vintages may be the answer, with the 100 point 2005 readily available at around £560 per bottle.

Chateau Cheval Blanc 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

97-99 Points - Wine Advocate

18.5 Points - Julia Harding

97-100 Points - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

98-99 Points - James Suckling

97-100 Points - Jeb Dunnuck


THURSDAY 13th JUNE

Ausone is the first of the big Right Bank releases, coming out this morning at £556 in London, so almost spot on our proto-price of £545. 2017 is still the winner on relative value at the moment, but even though well priced for Ausone it’s unlikely to achieve a perfect score. 2018 might just do that, and if it can be expected to follow the path of the 09s,(£725) 2010’s (£932) and ultimately 2005 (£900) in terms of price, it makes sense to buy on release.

Chateau Ausone 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

Evangile is the second out of the stalls this morning at £180 per bottle against our proto-price of £151.48. 19% north of our proto-price, but one of the few chateaux not to increase prices from their 2017 release.

On relative value, given the high score and relatively reasonable pricing, we think this looks like one to buy if offered.

Chateau L'Evangile 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

Lafite is one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the vintage, with near-universal praise from critics. If this wine doesn’t get Bordeaux lovers hearts' racing, nothing will, says the Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perotti-Brown. The question is, does the price engender palpitations of excitement or terror?

£428.32 was the proto price, so the release at £500 from UK merchants is 17% up on that ideal - not too ungenerous in a vintage that’s often been 20-30% over.

Relative value analysis suggests that the 2018 works pretty well. The contender in comparable vintages in 2017, which pushes ahead on absolute value, but probably doesn’t have the potential to be a top scorer, which the 2018 does.

On balance, a buy, if you can get some.

Chateau Lafitte 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

98-100 Points - Wine Advocate

19 Points - Julia Harding

99-100 Points - James Suckling

98-100 Points - Decanter


TUESDAY 11th JUNE

Margaux has been released this morning at £426, around 10% up from our proto-price of £386.41, so less ambitious than many so far.

Relative value analysis makes this look reasonably good, although in absolute terms behind the 2017. The gamble is this being re-scored in the upper limit of the ranges (i.e., 99-100), at which point it would clearly outstrip its rivals on value.

Chateau Margaux 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

94-97 Points - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

97-99 Points - Wine Advocate

96-98+ Points - Jeb Dunnuck

18 Points - Julia Harding

100 points - James Suckling

Pavillon Rouge is released at £149 per bottle, bang on our proto-pricing - at last the Chateaux are listening! It works therefore and the Relative Value Score is attractive too.

Pavillon Rouge 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

94-97 Points - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

97-100 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate

98-100 Points - Jeb Dunnuck

17 Points - Julia Harding

98 - 99 points - James Suckling


Haut Brion joins the advance this morning too, releasing at £426 from London merchants, and like Mouton comes in 12% above our proto-price of £380.15.

Solid scores here, though Antoni Galloni, as for the La Mission, is a dissenter with a (relatively) meagre 93-96.

If we consider this a 99 point average, it pushes ahead of the pack on relative value, but only marginally. Again, a fairly fully priced offering that seems sensibly, if not compellingly, priced.

Chateau Haut-Brion 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

93-96 Points - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

97-99+ Points - Wine Advocate

97-99 Points - Jeb Dunnuck

18 Points - Julia Harding

98-99 points - James Suckling


WEDNESDAY 5th JUNE

Chateau Montrose just out at £130 per bottle, so about 25% above our proto price of £102.63.

It’s a good score, but Montrose has been consistently performing well recently, and the price seems too high here to make it truly compelling. The 96 point 2014 looks like incredible value if you can get a case under £90 per bottle which is easily achievable!

Chateau La Mission Haut Brion 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners - Market price versus score

This morning sees a release from one of the most consistently outstanding wineries in the world - Chateau La Mission Haut Brion is out at £1,475 per 6 bottles.

There is no doubt one of the most historic sites in Bordeaux is basking in a true renaissance period, producing wines of incredible concentration and richness in recent years.

98-100 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate

97-99 Points - Jeb Dunnuck

97-99 Points - Jeff Leve, Wine Cellar Insider

97 Points - Jane Anson, Decanter

Chateau La Mission Haut Brion 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners - Market price versus score
Chateau La Mission Haut Brion Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

TUESDAY 4th JUNE

This afternoon’s first highlight is Haut Bailly, which was universally loved by member of the WO team when tasted over the last few months.

In a rare occurrence for this year, this has been released below our predicted proto price, at £87 per bottle v a proto price of £88.95.

The very high score puts this in a league with the 2009 and 2010, both of which it far outstrips on relative value, and makes it one of the most sure buys of the vintage so far.

Haut Bailly 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners


Also released this morning is Pichon Baron 2018, at £117 per bottle, so a good 20% north of our proto-price at £98. Clearly a special wine, and receiving much critical acclaim, and the relative value score is good, though not 2015 and 2014 are ahead and 2017 not far away. On the other hand, the consensus seems to be that this is about the highest scoring Baron since the legendary 1990, which will clinch the deal for many buyers.

Pichon Baron 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners


Cos d’Estournel out this morning at £148 per bottle. Although at a premium of c.22% to the 2016 release it is offered at a significant discount to the ’09 and ’10 vintages – unlike many others!

Cos 2016 is now trading in the secondary market at £150 per bottle, meaning that however great the 2018 is, it shows no discount to the current market of one of the greatest ever wines from Cos d’Estournel. This will be a hot issue however, the relatively understated Galloni stating:

A regal, soaring Saint-Estèphe, the 2018 Cos d'Estournel is also clearly one of the wines of the vintage. On the palate, the 2018 is dark and sumptuous, with striking aromatic presence and silky tannins that wrap around a rich core of exotic fruit. Black cherry, savory herbs, leather, spice and menthol build in the glass in a wine that is both aromatically intense and richly textured. The 2018 has been nothing short of breathtaking on the two occasions I have tasted it so far. Don't miss it.


97-100 Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Cos dEstournel 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners - RVS
Cos dEstournel 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

MONDAY 3rd JUNE

Ducru Beaucaillou 2018 is out at £144 per bottle versus a proto-price of £114. Another set of top-notch reviews from the critics and a very good relative value score to boot (see attached).

"This is so layered and beautiful with incredible tannin quality. Full-bodied with a caressing texture that reminds me of the finest cashmere. So layered. You want to swallow this. Brings a smile to the face. Wow. So well crafted." 98-99 Points, James Suckling

Pichon Lalande 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners


Pichon Lalande 2018 is released at £138 per bottle, our proto-price is £97.27, so a chunky premium but this is a Chateau on the up, with scores to match (see chart). James Suckling says “A deep and intense young red with blackberries and blueberries, as well as green olives and hints of fresh tobacco. But really black fruit. Full-bodied, tight and integrated with a refreshing and harmonious finish. Just floating on the palate. Great tannin backbone to this. A classic. Another flying carpet." 98-99 Points

Ducru Beaucaillou 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

Leoville Las Cases 2018 is released today at £179 per bottle. It is loved by the critics, a potential 100 pointer according to Perrotti-Brown, Suckling and Dunnuck, but a more conservative 95-8 from Galloni. It’s a fully charged, expansive wine with plenty of power (14.5%), expression and charm. It is, however, marginally more expensive than either ’09 and ’10 but a bit less than ’16….

Leoville Las cases 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

WEDNESDAY 29th MAY

This morning also sees the releases from the von Neipperg stable, including Mondotte, and Canon la Gaffeliere, both well scored, but reasonably fully priced.

Canon la Gaffeliere comes out at £64 per bottle against a proto price of £54, so slightly closer, and much similar to recent vintages in terms of relative value.

Neverthless, the high score makes it relatively good value in comparison to other recent vintages and a definite improvement on the ‘16, with more consistent reviews. On balance, it’s a yes, if you can get a case...

Julia Harding: 16.5

James Suckling: 94 - 95

Wine Advocate: 94 - 96

Canon 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

Mondotte is £171 v. a proto price of £154.13, so not far off the mark. We’re calling this 96 points on average, although no Wine Advocate review available for this wine. At this price, relative value analysis prefers the 2017…

Julia Harding: 16.5

James Suckling: 97 - 98

Mondotte 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners

Lynch Bages 2018 is this morning’s major release, one of the more hotly anticipated wines of the vintage. Pricing looks well above the proto-price threshold of £79.62, with a London merchant price at £92 per bottle.

Neverthless, the high score makes it relatively good value in comparison to other recent vintages and a definite improvement on the ‘16, with more consistent reviews. On balance, it’s a yes, if you can get a case...

Julia Harding: 17

Decanter: 97

James Suckling: 97 - 98

Jeb Dunnuck: 96 - 98

Wine Advocate: 96 - 98

Wine Spectator: 96 - 99

Lynch Bages 2018 Bordeaux en primeur - Wine Owners


TUESDAY 28th MAY

A little closer to our predicted proto-price of £83.81 for Clos Fourtet. the offer from London traders is out at £504 per 6, so pretty much spot on. The property has gone from strength to strength in the last 10 years without pricing itself out of the market.

Relative value indicates we’re doing better than back vintages as the score is considerably better (another 96 average), even though the release is more expensive.

Score: 95-97, Jeb Dunnuck

Score: 94-97, Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Score: 95-97, Wine Advocate

Score: 96-97, James Suckling

Score: 97, Decanter

 
Clos Fourtet 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Relative value score


Our proto-price calculation came in at £61.61 for Leoville Poyferre, so a price from London merchants at £408 is a little north of where we had hoped, but on the other hand the scores are high, averaging to a Wine Owners 96 points, better than anything in our comparable vintage list. In terms of relative value, it’s fine, lagging a little behind 2015, but probably nothing to write home about.

Score: 96-99, Jeb Dunnuck

Score: 94-97, Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Score: 94-96, Wine Advocate

Score: 97-98, James Suckling

Score: 97, Decanter

 
Leoville P 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Relative value score


Our proto-price calculation came in at £82.03, and the ex-Negociant price this morning is around EUR 86.80, so we’re well within the bounds of reasonable pricing. Coupled with some very high scores, and clear desire from the Chateau to reposition themselves as a top player we think, on balance, that it’s a buy.

Score: 94-96, Jeb Dunnuck

Score: 94-97, Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Score: 93-95+, Wine Advocate

Score: 97-98, James Suckling

Score: 97, Decanter

 
troplong 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Relative value score

FRIDAY 24th MAY

Pontet Canet ’18 is released today at £86.50 per bottle. It is a HUGE wine. With a proto price of £84.39 and with a 2/3 reduction in crop thanks to mildew, Pontet Canet could be accused of being generous – not something we’re accustomed to! The relative value score is also strong and the critics are mad about it. Monsieur Tesseron opened conversation when we were there with “clearly this is the best modern day vintage of Pontet Canet”. Buy some if you can.

Score: 96-98, Jeb Dunnuck

Score: 97-99, Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Score: 94-96+, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate


Canon 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Relative value score


The 2018 vintage has probably produced Phelan Segur’s highest ever scores; LP-B 93-5, JS 95-6 and AG 91-4. There is no doubt this is a Chateau on the up, with a new owner and under the beautiful directorship of Veronique Dausse this is one to watch. The Relative Value Score is good, the price is a not too taxing £35.41.


Canon 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Relative value score


THURSDAY 23rd MAY

If you believe in the gospel according to Suckling, one must buy Domaine de Chevalier (rouge) at £65: "Wow. I can’t get over the pureness of fruit in this wine with so much currant, tar and wet-earth character. Flowers, too. So aromatic. Full body, yet pureness and brightness of fruit. Layered. Incredible depth and beauty. 65 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 30 per cent merlot and 5 per cent petit verdot. Greatest ever?" Score: 99-100

Scores from other critics are also very high and it was certainly one of the best wines this taster tasted in the primeur tastings. Is this a break out moment for this famous Domaine? Like the man from Del Monte, the price and the scores say YES!

Score: 94-96+, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate

Score: 94-97, Antonio Galloni

Score: 96-98, Jeb Dunnuck

Domaine de Chevalier 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Relative value score


It’s the big blast – the Canon! One of the most fashionable Chateaux of Bordeaux have released at £87 a bottle, representing a 11.5% premium to our proto price of £78.04. It looks like relative value to recent vintages at current market levels and people will be fighting for allocation. Will it power up from here like the 2015 and ’16? Maybe not that much but it looks good nonetheless. BUY.

Huge points from the major critics:

97-99 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate

94-97 Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous

96-98+ Points, Jeb Dunnuck

98-99 Points, James Suckling

Canon 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Relative value score


Another jewel in the Chanel crown and today as equally as fashionable as Canon, Rauzan Segla is out at £75. There will be equally as much bun fight over allocations for this one as well. The proto price is £63.80, so a premium of 17%, but one which will easily be achieved. Good relative value and with a slightly higher average score than Canon, it is a BUY.


Rauzan Segla 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Relative value score


Gruaud Larose has been released at £55.83 today. Our proto price is £45.31, nearly 19% lower. The wine split the critics with exuberance from Perrotti-Brown (95-7) and Suckling (95-6) and reservation from Julia Harding (JR.com) (16) and 89-92 from Galloni “For my taste, Gruaud is on the edge of being too much”. All vintages since 2010 are available today at less than this release price and 2014-2017 inclusive all have higher relative value scores.

Gruaud Larose 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Relative value score
Gruaud Larose 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Market price versus score


WEDNESDAY 22nd MAY

Leoville Barton is released today at £66.16 per bottle. There is no question the wine is of a very high quality and the Chateau, quite rightly, has a devoted following based on its strong rapport qualité/prix. Our proto price is £58.51. Here is the relative value analysis.

Leoville Barton Bordeaux 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Market price versus score


Julia Harding (Jancisrobinson.com): 16.5

Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): 94-96

Antonio Galloni (Vinous): 93-96


Also known for its excellent rapport qualité/prix, the popular Grand Puy Lacoste released today at £56 a bottle, a tiny premium to our proto price of £54.15. It is also a tiny premium to today’s market price of their ’09 vintage.

Grand Puy Lacoste Bordeaux 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners

Julia Harding (Jancisrobinson.com): 17.5

Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): 92-94+

Antonio Galloni (Vinous): 93-96


It’s rapport qualité/prix day from Bordeaux! Chateau Talbot is always commercial and is priced to sell well at en primeur when the vast majority of their wine is released. At £43.16 it looks decent value, especially looking at the Relative Value Score.

Chateau Talbot Bordeaux 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Market price versus score



TUESDAY 21st MAY

At £35 per bottle Lagrange is a little over our proto price of £31.76 but follows a completely barren ’17 - most Chateaux would have been far more demanding price wise. We continue to recommend Lagrange as a good value wine for consumers.


Chateau Lagrange Bordeaux 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Market price versus score

Julia Harding (Jancisrobinson.com): 16.5

Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): 93-95+

Antonio Galloni (Vinous): 92-95

Buy Lagrange 2018


FRIDAY 10th MAY

Duhart Milon has released at £54.66 per bottle, a very modest 11% premium to our proto-price of £48.46. The Wine Owners team were very impressed by it and many of the critics have asked the question of it being the best Duhart ever. Certainly the Rothschild family have been investing here and it’s bearing good fruit! A ‘modest’ 14% alcohol too! 17.5 (95) from Julia Harding and a lovely note. This is a Chateau on the up.

Lafite’s Technical Director, Eric Kohler commented, 'The Merlot performed very well—Duhart-Milon might just have better terroir for Merlot than Lafite'.

And the Relative Value Analysis screams BUY:

Chateau Duhart Milon Bordeaux 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Market price versus score


Clerc Milon was released at £61.65 per bottle, awarded 93-95 points by Lisa Perrotti-Brown (WA). 

The bio-dynamic, certified organic estate that is Chateau Palmer released their 2018 wine today at £241. Our proto-price was £221.67. Following a heavy dose of mildew and the long hot summer the yield was a miserly 11 hectolitres per hectare, translating into 6,000 cases and no Alter Ego was made at all. This could turn out to be a unicorn wine it’s so rare and deserves to be treated as a special case. It receives amazing and interesting reviews, 18.5 (97) from Julia Harding, 98-100 from Jane Anson, 97-100 from James Molesworth (notoriously tight!) but, by his standards, a paltry 94-5 from James Suckling – I was expecting something in four figures! Like most 2018s, it comes with the usual 2018 caveat that it is strong in alcohol – 14.3%.

Market Price versus Score here:

Chateau Palmer Bordeaux 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Market price versus score


Relative Value Analysis here:

Chateau Palmer Bordeaux 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners - Market price versus score

Other releases include:

Chateau Gloria at £29

Chateau Lafon-Rochet at £32

Chateau Saint Pierre at £42


THURSDAY 9th MAY

Today sees an attractive release price from Bernard Magrez’s Pape Clement (red) at £66.16 ex London merchant. Our ‘proto-price’ is £75.13, so very nearly a 12% discount to that.

There are a wide range of scores for Pape Clement with Julia Harding of Jancis.Robinson.com scoring it 16.5 (converting to 91 on the 100 point scale), whilst Lisa Perotti-Brown of the Wine Advocate awards a much more optimistic 96-98, James Suckiling 98-99 but a more modest 93-96 from Antonio Galloni.

Using a generous 97 points, it’s looks like very good value:

Calon Segur Bordeaux 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners

But at 91 points, it’s a different story:

Calon Segur Bordeaux 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners

Our very own Fabian Cobb really liked the wine and gave it 95 but he’s notoriously mean with his scores. Elegance was his take, so clearly a different experience to that of Julia Harding who wrote a bit “a bit monolithic”.

Pape Clément Blanc was released at £98.66 (London price) - 16.5 from Julia Harding.


TUESDAY 7th MAY

Today's releases included:

Calon Ségur released at £72 per bottle.

A record release price for Calon Ségur at £864 per 12 in the London market. Significantly above our proto-price of £63.57 but the wine was very well received by most critics. The WO house view was a bit too full and sweet to be a masterpiece but undeniably impressive. Its high scores relative to previous vintages leads to an attractive Relative Value Score.

Calon Segur Bordeaux 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners


Pavie Macquin released at £52.7 (£632 per 12), the same as last year. Our proto price is £47.36, so 11% below the release. The RVS below uses a Julia Harding's score of 16.5 (equivalent to 91), significantly lower than some of the other critics, one of which went as high as 97-99. The jury is out.

Pavie Macquin Bordeaux 2018 en primeur - Wine Owners


Beychevelle released at £60 per bottle and Cantemerle out at £20.50.

Carmes Haut Brion was released at £69 per bottle.


THURSDAY 2nd MAY

Lafleur 2018 released at £483 per bottle, 10% above our proto price but it will sell out with Julia Harding’s big score and is still only half the price of the secondary market average of 09, 10, 15 16. The closest thing to a dead cert a wealthy collector can buy this year.

Fair price from Clinet - £64 per bottle. They are pricing 12.5% below current market for 2016 (£73). Just £2 per bottle above our suggested proto price. Are they listening?!

Gazin out - £62 per bottle EST (with negociants as we speak). No price advantage over the chasing pack of back vintages.

They are very pleased with it this year they say, but it doesn’t make sense as an EP buy on this basis, and it didn’t wow us.

Chateau Gazin 2018 en primeur release - Wine Owners


TUESDAY 30th APRIL

Batailley 2018 released at £408 per 12 (London Merchant Price).

Relative Value Score, using a WO aggregated score of 93:

Chateau Batailley Bordeaux 2018 en primeur release - Wine Owners


MONDAY 29th APRIL

Branaire Ducru Bordeaux 2018 en primeur release - Wine Owners

Today saw the release of Branaire Ducru 2018 at £462 per 12 (London merchant price).

A higher release price than the last three vintages and 12.4% higher than last year. Our proto-price was £44.48 per bottle, so at £38.50 it looks interesting. Relative Value Analysis, however, indicates the 2016 being better value, a trend that we think is likely to continue.

Branaire Ducru 2018 en primeur release - Wine Owners


Speak to the winemaker: Caroline Decoster, Fleur Cardinale

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2017-08-09


Caroline and Ludovic Decoster from Chateau Fleur Cardinale


Wine Owners: What is your greatest moment/regret as a winemaker?

Caroline Decoster: It’s a little bit sad to start this interview by a regret, but I have to say that we lost 95% of our vineyard in one night last April. It was heartbreaking. We’ve already invested in new machines, called Frostguards, for the end of the year, that will prevent us for this kind of catastrophe, but our main regret is not to have had them before.

WO: In what ways have your wine making changed over the last 10 years.

CD: The global warming has affected our wine making. We are located in the coolest part of the appellation of Saint-Emilion, which means that we have a late ripening terroir. Ripening the berries over the past decades could had been difficult in this part of Saint-Emilion, because of the lower temperatures during October - which is the moment of the year when we usually harvest. But nowadays, due to this global warming, we can benefit from Indian summers year after year, to reach the optimal ripeness effortlessly.

WO: What vintage are you proudest of?

CD: It’s very easy to be proud of a successful vintage. Like in 2010 and 2015, the wine growers were most of all very lucky, thanks to good conditions all year long. But in difficult vintages, all the right decisions that we took in tough moments were decisive to make a good wine in the end. Like in 2014 and 2016 : after months of rain and cold temperatures, the sun came back at the end of the summer, and everybody was so excited to finally have good conditions of ripening, that some vineyards completely de-leafe the bunches, which could be a mistake in some cases: the weeks after that we’d had the hottest temperatures for September since 50 years. We did not de-leafe completely, because we were sure that everything could still happen, and it was the right decision to take.

WO: If you had to define your wines/domaine in one sentence?

CD: Lots of wine owners will say how passionate they are about their wines : but we believe that passion can isolate you and make you blind. That’s why we rather prefer to talk about the « enthusiasm » that we have for our life, a positive and dynamic way of life that we want to share in each glass of Fleur Cardinale, with a lively fruit, and wine with a great energy.

WO: Tell us about your terroir & microclimate, and your approach to winemaking.

CD: The vineyard is located at the east of Saint-Emilion, on one of the highest points of the appellation, and is planted on clay-limestone soil in the middle of the hillsides. The planting is 75% Merlot with 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Our aim, vintage after vintage, is to preserve the freshness of the fruit in the glass.

In terms of viticulture, it means for instance that we want each vine to be very healthy, and to express the full potential from its terroir. This year, we’ve been certified High Environmental Value (HEV). This certification is the highest level of a generalised scheme for the environmental certification of farms. It guarantees that the presence of factors of biodiversity (hedges, grass strips, trees, flowers, insects, etc.) is very widespread on our vineyard and that the pressure applied to the environment by our practices (on air, water, soil, climate, biodiversity and landscape) is kept to a minimum.

In terms of vinification, it means that the ageing time in barrels is perfectly well-managed : The wine is aged for 12-14 month maximum, in new French oak barrels. Our coopers provide us with barrels produced exclusively from wood of the 3 most qualitative French forests. A Burgundy toast has been adopted for all our barrels: this kind of toast is realized at a moderate high heat and for an extended period of time, so as to preserve the purity of the fruit and the silky touch of the tannins.

Thank you so much to Caroline for taking the time to answer our questions. All our best wishes to the entire team at Fleur Cardinale!

You can visit the domaine's website here and follow their dedicated work on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Bordeaux 2016 - François-Xavier Maroteaux from Branaire Ducru

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2017-04-11


Here's what François-Xavier Maroteaux has to say about yields and quality as demonstrated by Bordeaux 2016 primeurs. A 'hard' and uniform fruit set in resulted in large-sized bunches but of small berries, so whilst volume is up 10% above a 'normal' harvest, don't think it was because berries were big, quite the reverse was the case. Phenolics levels were high too, reflecting lots of tannins and colorants. Tannins are rich and refined, with rich fruit coating the big structure.


Top 3 Hot Markets

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2015-08-28


1/ Grand Puy Lacoste 2010 is a great wine. 4 years after release, the price is £100 off its opening price. GPL 2010 is surely now one of the buys of that wonderful vintage. Rated 95 points by Robert Parker this will be a magnificent drink in years to come. We would not be surprised to see this rerated 97 points in due course.

'An absolutely magnificent wine from this very popular estate, which sits well off the Route du Vin, just to the southwest of the town of Pauillac, its classic creme de cassis and floral notes are well-displayed. The wine possesses supple tannin, a full body, voluptuous character and a layered, impressively textured mouthfeel. This is a brilliant effort from Grand Puy Lacoste that can be drunk in 4-5 years or cellared for three decades or more.' RP 95.

- - -

2/ Montrose 2010 is another beauty, a perfect wine and less expensive than 2009, yet a seamless monument that is the equal of any of the First Growths. It’s hardly surprising this is a hot market: surely it’s only going to go one way from here?

'This is considered to be among the greatest vintages ever made in Montrose, right up with the 1929, 1945, 1947, 1959, 1961, 1989, 1990 and 2009. Harvest was October 15 to 17. The wine has really come on since I last tasted it, and it needs at least another 10 years of cellaring.' RP 100.

- - -

3/ Ducru Beaucaillou 2011 is interesting. It wasn’t so long ago that top new vintages of this super-second were releasing at well into 4 figures. The unfashionable 2011 vintage provides the opportunity to buy in for just £660 per case of 12.

Exchange activity is suggesting this is a buy as top-drawer drinking claret. The latest Parker score surely reflects the a period during which the wine has shut down. Once this wine starts to open up again, could there be the potential for it to be rerated in the 93-95 range in line with the en original primeur rating? Neal Martin’s rating is 92-94.

'The 2011 Ducru Beaucaillou (which normally represents 1/3 to ½ of the entire crop) possesses a dense ruby/purple color along with a beautiful nose of sweet creme de cassis, crushed rock and spring flower aromas. This rich, medium to full-bodied St.-Julien is among the most concentrated wines of the Medoc. Moderate tannin is sweet and well-integrated. This beauty will benefit from 3-5 years of cellaring and keep for two decades.' RP 92+.



SPOTLIGHT ON... La Mission Haut-Brion 2005

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2015-07-28




Parker re-rates Top Bordeaux 2009

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2012-03-04


Around 9am on Friday 2nd March 2012 my inbox lit up with wave after wave of 2009 Bordeaux offers from wine merchants. (Congratulations to Flint Wines for refreshingly focusing on an up-and-coming Burgundian grower.) In the weeks leading up to last Friday, merchants had taken the opportunity to inform private customers that RP's new scores were imminent, and that now was a good time to pick over market prices, many of which had fallen from their release price and 2011 highs.

I'd already done all my 2009 'business' during 2010/11 so stood by and watched. Parker duly came out with his new 2009 scores and a glowing recommendation - like 1982 (on which he made his reputation) but better thanks to advances in wine making, a return to traditional vineyard husbandry, and greater de-classification of parcels into second and third wines (in fairness common arguments trotted out regularly by the regisseurs and chateau owners in Bordeaux). What surprised everyone was how many high points he awarded his favourite wines - 18 wines getting 100 points; in comparison to just 6 wines in each of the two great vintages of 2000 and 1982.

Here are the final 100 pointers thanks to Ditton Wine Traders

wine bottle barrel
Beausejour Duffau Lagarosse 100 96-98
Bellevue Mondot 100 95-100
Clinet 100 97-100
Clos Fourtet 100 95-98
Cos d'Estournel 100 98-100
Ducru Beaucaillou 100 96-98
L'Evangile 100 96-100
Haut Brion 100 96-100
La Mission Haut Brion 100 98-100
La Mondotte 100 95-98
Latour 100 98-100
Le Pin 100 95-98
Leoville Poyferre 100 97-100
Montrose 100 96-100
Pavie 100 96-100
Petrus 100 96-100
Pontet Canet 100 97-100
Smith Haut Lafitte 100 96-98

And Friday's price increases vs the previous day's prices ranked from high to low

Wine prior after % change
Beausejour Duffau Lagarosse £1,000 £2,400 140%
Clos Fourtet £750 £1,800 140%
Smith Haut Lafitte £680 £1,600 135%
Clinet £1,500 £2,200 47%
Le Pin £18,000 £25,000 39%
Montrose £1,900 £2,550 34%
Leoville Poyferre £1,350 £1,800 33%
Pontet Canet £1,350 £1,800 33%
L'Evangile £2,300 £2,750 20%
La Mondotte £2,550 £3,000 18%
Petrus £25,000 £29,000 16%
Cos d'Estournel £2,800 £3,200 14%
Pavie £2,200 £2,500 14%
Ducru Beaucaillou £2,000 £2,200 10%
Haut Brion £7,400 £8,000 8%
Bellevue Mondotte £2,550 £2,750 8%
La Mission Haut Brion £5,600 £6,000 7%
Latour £11,700 £11,800 1%


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