Bordeaux en primeur 2018 release prices

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2019-04-29


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


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 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.


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.


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


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


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

Old and new vintages for a wine lover to consider

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2015-05-27

So goes the good luck saying, advising what a bride might wear at her wedding to bring good fortune.

In reviewing Bordeaux 2014 releases to date what could be more appropriate? After all, this has been a campaign where a few enlightened producers got their winemaking and pricing aligned, whilst others (the majority?) have simply ignored the current compelling pricing of many of their back vintages of comparable quality.

In the light of that, what mixture of old and new vintages might the wine lover or collector consider?


Something old is symbolic of continuity.

When comparing the 2014s to broadly comparable back vintages, it reaffirms the value there is in wines around the 7-12 year old mark. In the majority of cases these are wines just hitting their stride, and in some cases with enormous drinking windows ahead of them.

Here are some examples but today Bordeaux unquestionably is generally favouring back vintages over new releases.

L’Eglise Clinet 2006

I just love L’Eglise Clinet, so I’m delighted to give it my first mention. Only, why buy 2014 when 2004, 2006 and 2008 are all cheaper? Personally I’d probably pay the market premium for the 2006, simply because that vintage is proving to be such a fine year in Pomerol. There is so much definition to the fruit, and such balance to the best wines. L’Eglise Clinet is an obvious choice due to winemaking of the highest order over the last decade.

Haut Brion 2008

At around £2,400 per case, the 2008 makes a profoundly compelling case for itself, as does the 2012 in the light of its recent Parker rerating, reinforced by other reviewers such as Jeff Leve. Throw 2006 into the mix as a wine of exceptional purity, and there’s an embarasse de richesses for grown up lovers of Graves.

Palmer 2004

Leaving aside the fact that the beautiful 2014 is Palmer’s first vintage made entirely biodynamically, 2004 still stands out as a wine value that warrants the wine lover’s attention. According to Parker it’s a modern day version of Palmer’s brilliant 1966, majoring on elegance and precision, freshness and depth of flavor.


Represents good luck, success and hopes for a bright future.

Let’s start with a handful of winners. Using the soon to be released price per points analysis feature on Wine Owners highlights value in the context of broadly comparable quality. The teetering Euro helped, creating a rare opportunity for Châteaux to please the market and satisfy their accountants. A handful grasped the opportunity.

Le Petit Mouton 2014

Growing positive sentiment in respect of the quality of the last decade’s vintages has given those years a recent helping hand. This is the cheapest vintage in the market at £375, and a 40% discount to its possible qualitative equal – 2006. Different too. The success of Merlot on gravel relegated a big slug of Cabernet to the second wine, so atypically cabernet-dominated and correspondingly serious.

Mouton Rothschild 2014

Outstanding in a vintage in which Pauillac starred. There’s a breezy balance whilst its Merlot genes and dash of Cabernet Franc complete a raspberry-driven, fresh, complex palate with plenty of fine-grained tannins. They got the price right as the charts show.

Lynch Bages 2014

Poised, with classic Pauillac character; loaded with griottes fruit and flowing Saville Row lines. It was priced to within a hairs-breadth of 2011 and 2012 current market value but the value difference over 2008 and 2006 must have convinced loyal buyers to part with their money early as merchants reported healthy demand.

Lafite 2014

We didn’t think Lafite was the most immediately impressive First Growth in 2014. In fact it seemed to be the most obdurate. Yet the critics lapped it up, and we’re more than happy to defer to their better judgement. In the meantime one thing is very, very obvious looking at the price per points analysis. It’s priced as a come-on to consumers to open their pocket books and buy early.


Anything can be borrowed but it must be returned afterwards.

A couple of worrying features of the 2014 campaign have emerged.

The first is linkage. Back in 2010 Bordeaux chose to tie certain wines with others. The most interesting example was a pack of Rieussec linked to a pack of Carruades. Interesting because of the distorting factor it had on the market for Rieussec. Back then, merchants simply added a couple of hundred pounds to the price of their Carruades allocation before dumping Rieussec onto Livex and selling through at £210-£220 per 12; roughly half the retail release price offered to consumers. To this day those Livex members who jumped in and hoovered up stock are sitting on the best returns that the 2010 vintage had to offer. Not great for the consumer who bought Carruades but a creative market response to price manipulation.

Linkage is seemingly back, with Rieussec once again tied to Carruades, according to one or two merchants we talked to. Who’s doing the tying is a question to which I have no answer, and this time the merchants can’t just transfer pricing from one wine (relatively difficult to sell at first release) to another (for which there was unquenchable demand back in 2010).

The second feature is limited quantities released by some Châteaux. Who’d have thought the Bordelais would have de facto discouraged early purchases in 2014 – maybe they don’t believe in the en primeur system after all? Like a boyfriend who isn’t in love anymore, but is too insecure to let his partner go.

Calon-Ségur is a wine I thought showed delightfully in 2014. The vibe among négociants in Bordeaux was positive, lending emotional support to the wine even before release.

Recently acquired by Suravenir Assurance, an insurance company for whom no doubt a higher average release price per bottle will help to sûr-value their estate on a forward-looking basis, chose to release up but at a realistic price point for the fine quality. But then the real game plan became apparent. There was no wine: merchants who had assumed they were in line for a reasonable allocation (and had promised private clients allocations on that basis) found that they were empty handed. Merchants were left scurrying around for whatever they could pick up. Consumers were left feeling that however big Calon’s heart, maybe it was losing its soul.

This is the sort of attempt at market influence that Bordeaux EP does not need. Frankly, if Châteaux would prefer to achieve a higher price than the market can bear, then why not exit EP as Latour did, and release when the wine is considered ready? It’s dishonest to play it both ways and the market will not necessarily reward throttled supply with higher prices: demand is often chocked off too in the process.


 The symbol of faithfulness, purity and loyalty.

There are so many Châteaux that we could have used to exemplify the question of whether we would have chosen to buy early, or wait a few years until the young wines are fully formed, or go back to earlier vintages where there’s so much value to be had. In most (but by no means all) cases we’d go back to earlier vintages and wait to buy the new releases in bottle. But buying young wine isn’t an entirely rational decision as we all know.

Which vintages would you buy on the basis of the following charts? You decide!

Libournais Index

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-03-25

With a level of 221 at the end of February 2013 (baseline January 31st 2007), the Libournais Index shows a relatively flat performance, with a change of only 1.8% over a 1-year period to 228.31.
While the top movers of the Medoc Classed Growth Index were relatively affordable vintages, the Libournais Index top gainers feature higher value wines, as do the biggest fallers, perhaps indicating a rather higher level of market interest than on the left bank.
Individual high-scoring wines, however, buck the trend, with the 100 pointers La Violette 2010 and Petrus 2009 showing that a perfect Parker score can still be a market driver and suggesting that scarcity may increasingly be a market driver within the Bordeaux market, either due to tiny production or due to age.
It's arguably even more interesting to see the price of Vieux Chateau Certan 2010 fall quite significantly since the turn of the year (possibly as stockholders finally throw their hands up and start to write-down the value of their holdings?). Will Vieux Chateau Certan 2010 fall further carried by the momentum of price gravity? At some point this could be extremely tempting, for an utterly sublime wine that was considered by many (including us) to be perfect.

Libournais Index


Wine  Vintage  Change (3m) Price
Le Dome Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC 2000 57.94% 175.88
Chateau La Violette Pomerol AOC 2010 37.38% 443.66
Chateau L'Eglise-Clinet Pomerol AOC 2001 17.62% 141.67
Chateau La Conseillante Pomerol AOC 2010 14.62% 147.92
Petrus Pomerol AOC 2009 14.28% 2325


Wine Vintage Change (3m) Price
Vieux Chateau Certan Pomerol AOC 2010 -14.66% 166.67
Clos Fourtet Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe B AOC 2009 -15.18% 130.08
Chateau Pavie Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe A AOC 2010 -19.07% 168.68
Chateau Figeac Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC 2009 -19.50% 120.83
Clos Fourtet Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe B AOC 2001 -20.04% 38.27

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2009 or 2010 Bordeaux – expressions of great wine

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2013-11-15

The 2009 Annual Bordeaux Tasting organised by The Institute of the Masters of Wine recently highlighted the high standard and homogeneity of Bordeaux 2009.

The best Medocs were beautifully perfumed, notably throughout the Graves, Margaux, and St. Julien. Where freshness was retained, the very ripe fruit lifted by fresh acidity, the wines were both easy to taste and delineated.

Examples that stood out were:
Pontet Canet with a refined, liqueur texture, fabulous confit yet crystalline, vivid fruit, and a velvety finish.
Leoville Barton was extremely pretty for a property that typically makes very structured long-term wines, exciting and fresh with wonderful aromatics.
Montrose was immense, and so confidently poised within its powerful structure.
Mission Haut Brion was truly fine; beautifully perfumed, noble fruit, dusty tannins in no way inhibiting a very long finish.
Sister property Haut Brion showed in a more structured vein, bright fruits, yeast and cedar on the nose, uplifting with a real sense of energy underlying the progression of flavours. Haut Brion was a beacon of how great 2009 can be when ripe fruit, acidity, structure and energy come together to create a unique, visceral experience. It also served to highlight how unctuous and relatively soft so many of the other wines in 2009 really are. And this isn't necessarily a good thing for the long term.

At a recent dinner tutored by Edouard Moueix where he showed La Fleur Petrus 2009 and 2010 side by side, the 2009 was unctuous and richly textured. The 2010 had more clearly delineated elements, showed as being far more complex, with wave after wave of nuanced flavours through an almost interminable finish.

Back in 2011, in the heat-wave of that Bordeaux spring, 2010 also showed brilliantly. Where wines were compared side by side, the 2010 vintage got my vote almost every time, including beauties from:
Calon Segur
Cheval Blanc
Haut Brion
La Conseillante
La Mission Haut-Brion
Le Pin
Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
Rauzan Segla
Vieux Chateau Certan

So for me whilst the two vintages are both extraordinary; I prefer the definition, balance, complexity and enduring length of flavour so commonly found in the best 2010 red Bordeaux, which gets my vintage vote bar a few exceptions like Leoville Barton.

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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