by Wine Owners


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Posted on 2021-06-02


Wednesday 9th June

ST PIERRE

Recent vintages are on the sweet side of the middle, a modern but balanced take on St Julien. If it was a Savile Row suit it would be more Richard James than Huntsman.

Price and points

Relative value

GLORIA

A Chateau I’m quite familiar with going back to the early 80s, since my stepmother was called Gloria. 2009 pips it with a big RECENT score from Jancis and a decade’s worth of storage under its belt, making the £9 premium per bottle worthwhile.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

LA GAFFELIERE

Up and coming. If you missed out on the smart pricing of Figeac in the period 2012-2014 before it took off, then this just might be the next right banker from grand terroir to buy into at similarly attractive pricing for the quality.

There’s little point in going back in time further than 2018 given the recent transformation. Although 2020 is a full 20% up on 2019’s release price, that won’t be the last of the hikes over the next 5 vintages or so. Meantime the secondary market price of 2019 has shot up 20% since release, so the 2020 release price is equivalent.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Tuesday 8th June

CLERC MILON

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 92-94

James Suckling:  95-96


CANTENAC BROWN

A 3rd Growth Margaux that is on the rise and attracting some big scores.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Now, just for giggles, let’s compare this up-and-coming 3rd Growth Margaux with another ambitious 3rd Growth, to the south of Margaux, and which therefore finds itself an outcast of the better-known appellations, dumped into the lower-priced catch-all that is the Haut-Médoc (even if it’s not very Haut-up-the- Médoc).

La Lagune is biodynamic (hence no 2018 due to rampant mildew).

Price and points

Relative value analysis

I shall let you take your pick.


Other critic ratings:

James Suckling:  96-97

Vinous, Antonio Galloni: 94-97

Vinous, Neal Martin: 94-96


BRANAIRE DUCRU

With a 17 point score, Branaire Ducru 2020 does shoot to the right. Given the inconclusive scoring schism, which way to go? If offered at the equivalent of £25/ bt vs release price of £31, that would certainly encourage.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 91-93+

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 93-94


GRAND PUY LACOSTE

GPL epitomises the current challenge with EP. Beautiful wine, and 9% less money than the 2010 release, which has barely budged since its first release. If - like me - you bought 2010 GPL and dutifully stored it for the best part of a decade then it feels even less sensible. My total cost of ownership being £760 a dozen and current replacement price being £710. In fact it’s a little embarrassing, not in terms of my impeccable good taste, but the evident idiocy of subsidising ownership over that period of time by not far off 10%. Not to mention the opportunity cost of not being able to doing something useful with that money, such as dinner for one at 67 Pall Mall or filling up the tank… Lovely wine but for heaven’s sake just buy 2009 or 2010 from people like me, start pouring, and get to feel smug.

GPL 2020 is 21% up on 2019’s release price of £45/ bt. That does feel like worthwhile value and the chart agrees.

Price and points

Relative market value

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 95-97

Decanter: 95

James Suckling: 96-97


Monday 7th June

FERRIERE AND HAUT BAGES LIBERAL

I do have a bit of a soft spot for HBL as 1988 was one of the more accessible bottles that helped me to fall in love with claret in the early 90s. Since then it’s come on leaps and bounds, along with the Lurton & Villiers portfolio (that also includes the historically underperforming but recently transformed ‘jewel in the crown’ Dufort-Vivens Margaux 2nd Growth). The reason for shoving these first two together is that I thought HBL was rather good this year, and rather more appealing with its finely woven tannins than La Ferriere. More importantly so did James Lawther. By the way the character of Durfort Vivens stands head and shoulders above HBL, as it should for the money, but bear in mind that in the half point difference between the two lies a chasm in class. In turn I didn’t think 2020 Durfort Vivens is in quite the same category as the extraordinarily deep yet tremendously balanced 2018 borne of tiny yields (as a result of losses to mildew). We’ll analyse Durfort Vivens separately when it is released. If this year’s 15% hike of HBL is anything to go by, I’d guess a release price of around £45/ bottle. The analysis reveals the relative value represented by the slightly less expensive HBL comparative to its sibling.

Price and points

Relative Value analysis

Other critic ratings FERRIERE:

Vinous: 94-96

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 95-96


Other critic ratings HAUT BAGES LIBERAL:

Vinous: 93-95

James Suckling: 95-96


CAMENSAC

Camensac 2019 can still be had for £16-17 a bottle. Camensac 2020 is a little over £20 per bottle, so 2020 is at a £40 per 12x75cl premium to the cheapest secondary market offers, or a 20% hike.

LE GAY and LA VIOLETTE

Last vintage of La Violette I tasted was 2015 and was definitely violetty in the same way that Beychevelle is this year, turned up to full throttle. Hedonistic, modern, compotty, but La Violette has been performing well in the secondary market as it only makes 400 cases a year, and there is a market for their style, even if it’s not mine (or yours). La Violette 2020 is up 9% on last year, and at £240/ bt it’s pretty clear with whom they would like to be compared - ie a couple of Pomerol properties that make 400-600 cases per year each, notwithstanding they’re a full-on stylistic alternative.


Friday 4th June

CLOS DE MARQUIS

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 91-93+

Decanter: 92

The Wine Advocate: 93-95


MEYNEY

My enthusiasm for Meyney was reignited with their fabulous 2016 (in particular). It was so gorgeous I’m including it in the analysis here. But it’s hard to see how you could go very wrong with 2020 at £20/ bt. Or the 2015 or 2016 for that matter…

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 91-93

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 93-94


MALARTIC LAGRAVIERE ROUGE

Although 2015 is vying with 2020 in the value for money stakes, I’d give the nod to 2020 since the vines are not the oldest and the wines are getting finer.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 94-96

The Wine Advocate: 920

Decanter: 94

James Suckling: 94-95


GRAND PUY DUCASSE

Some excitement here within the merchant/ retail community, due to an improving estate, with prices that reflect historical underperformance of a Classified Growth.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Decanter: 90

James Suckling: 94-95


Thursday 3rd June

PEDESCLAUX

A property that’s benefitted from significant architectural investments, not to mention a state of the art winery and the same consultant who also visits upon the 3 Pauillac First Growths. 2020 is the first vintage that’s certified organic.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 95-96


GAZIN

This is becoming a bit of a pattern. 9% up on 2019. And for the first time ever no Cab Franc. 2015 on the other hand was and is a full, sweet mouthful with a classic finish, tasted numerous times over the years. But because it’s Gazin, and it would be non-U to make claret too sweet, it is a wine that thrives on an edge of restraint.

Price and points:

Relative value analysis:

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 94

Decanter: 94

James Suckling: 96-97


LASCOMBES

Same price as last year’s release. If you were in for Lascombes, why wouldn’t you buy into the marvellously magical Margaux year of 2015?

Price and points

Relative value analysis:

CHEVALIER ROUGE

Third vintage in a row where the Merlot ABV was high as in the whole of Pessac, offset by the lower alcohols in Cab Sauv. Excellent as 2020 is, 2018 impressed all the critics and garnered a high 18 points from Jancis.

Price and points

Relative value analysis:

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 95-97

Wine Advocate: 95-97+

Decanter: 95

James Suckling 96-97


CHEVALIER BLANC

“weightier and richer than most previous vintages” says Jancis.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings


Wednesday 2nd June

BEYCHEVELLE

Out first thing Wednesday 2nd June.

In the new Uber-polished style. This year it’s all violets and “mulberry perfume”. It’s so overt it’s almost like walking onto the ground floor at Harrods, minus the mink. Violets for your furs. My 21 yr old youngest daughter commented “ooh, I like that, it’s sweet”!

“Silky tannins and marked freshness. Neat and the opposite of opulent” concludes Jancis.

Yet another wine where 2019 still stands out as rather better value relative to its younger sibling. 9% up on last year’s release price. With the releases yesterday in mind, is this now the trend for 2020? Will that lend further support to 2019s?

Price per points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 94-95

The Wine Advocate: 94-96

Decanter: 94

James Lawther: 95-97

Vinous: 94-96


CANON LA GAFFELIERE

9% up on 2019 release and with offers in the market at or very close to last year’s release price it’s hard to see any advantage that 2020 might have.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 95-96

Decanter: 94

Neal Martin: 93-95

Vinous: 94-96+


Tuesday 1st June

LAGRANGE ST JULIEN

A wine that consistently outperforms its peers as demonstrated time and again at ‘blind’ lunches and dinners organised by Matthieu Bordes. The wine seems to have stepped up a gear too with the superb duo of 2015 and 2016. The great thing about Lagrange is it’s never flash nor obvious, but with time impresses with its purity and depth. That doesn’t mean it’s a must buy at EP necessarily, and the excellent 2019 remains a fair bit cheaper in the secondary market. They think they’ve made something pretty special in 2020 which is why the release price is up by 19%. My guess is 2020 will stick around at this price for a couple of years. I’ll still argue that if you don’t have any Lagrange in your cellar yet, a vintage like 2016 is a worthy addition that will repay cellaring, and can be had at the same price as 2020.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 94-96

Decanter: 93 

Vinous: 93-94


D’ARMAILHAC

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 93-94

Decanter: 93

Vinous: 92-94


Saturday 29th May

LATOUR MARTILLAC - RED and WHITE

Let’s start with a good value WHITE that will be trickier to find in the secondary market and has been well received this year.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

On the other hand the red wine isn’t the best of buys.

RED


Price and points

Relative value analysis

Friday 28th May

LA LAGUNE

Last year La Lagune 2019 stood out as a great buy. Not only was it very well priced, but none was made in 2018 as a result of the fully biodynamic vines having been decimated by mildew. Unlike Dufort Vivens and Palmer, 2 biodynamic estates which salvaged a measly 10% of their crop in 2018 (and made monumental wines), La Lagune was a total wipe out. 2019 is the most successful vintage since going fully dynamic in 2016. 2020 appears to be a notch below, and 9% above the 2019 release. 2019 can still be had, as of today, at its opening price. I doubt it will stay at that level beyond late autumn, and is clearly the one to buy. The terroir is capable of producing long-lived classic claret with breeding. A bottle of 1975 opened in 2018 was fully on song.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

DU TERTRE

Low yields of 25 hl/ha, less rain in Margaux than higher up the Medoc peninsular, and an evident classism to the sample. Julia’s a fan, and clearly no lipstick’s been applied. Sounds like proper claret to me, and the charts suggest another sub-£30 a bottle Classified Growth (5th) that looks like excellent value.

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 94-95

Decanter: 93


GRAND CORBIN DESPAGNE

If I’m right in estimating UK release price of £21.50 per bottle from the French market release of €24.80, then it potentially edges the success of 2018. Secondary market prices over the last 5 years have been relatively static i.e. in line with this release price. Let me know if anyone has received a UK offer of this release and if so at what price.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

GRAND MAYNE

A quarter Cab Franc in the blend. Effectively priced though a tad higher than 2019. Some strong scores across the critics will lend support.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Thursday 27st May

CANTEMERLE

Steady pricing and a dependable ‘club claret’. The '19 edges it for value as rated half a point higher.

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 93-94

Decanter: 93


MONTLANDRIE

It would appear that Noémie Durantou is successfully slipstreaming father Denis and continues the good work. As a reminder this is from the L’Eglise Clinet stable which also includes Les Cruzelles, La Chenade, and Saintayme. These are well made wines and generally represent great value year in year out, but here are the charts in any case. Interestingly it would appear that all the 2019 has disappeared off the market in the last month.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 92-94

Decanter: 93


Wednesday 26st May

BERLIQUET

Under the exquisitely designed Chanel umbrella the quality here is being pushed ever higher, as are the prices. A premium to existing vintages is being asked for in light of this. This estate is likely to follow the way of Canon and Rauzan Segla.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 95-96

The Wine Advocate: 94-96

Decanter: 93


PRIEURÉ-LICHINE

Consistent scoring from this Chateau over the last few years but a slightly lower price in ’19 makes that vintage slightly better value.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 95-96


MARQUIS DE TERME

It’s Margaux morning, the appellation, not the Chateau. Marquis de Terme is more volatile on points scoring but pricing is consistent, making the ‘18 vintage appear much the better value of recent releases.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling94-95

The Wine Advocate: 90-92

Decanter: 92-94


KIRWAN

Kirwan is consistent in both scores and pricing, making it a photo finish on relative value analysis charts. Will there be a steward’s enquiry?

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 94-95

The Wine Advocate91-93+

Decanter: 92-94


Saturday 22nd May

GRAND-PONTET

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 91-93


LA LAGUNE

La Lagune is a Chateau known for fair pricing but the graphs point to more value to be found from the ’19 vintage. Family Frey continue their good work however.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 91-93

The Wine Advocate: 92-94

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 93-94


Friday 21st May

AROMES DE PAVIE

I remain a bit unconvinced by second wines outside of the First Growths when they are priced at this sort of level. I was fine paying £375/ 6 for Pavillon Rouge 2014 en primeur which seemed very good value for the quality, but the same sort of money for the second wine of Pavie does not do it for me, especially when there’s no obvious financial advantage to buying as a future. So I’d say wait. In 3-4 years’ time you’ll be wealthier too if I understand you are a student :slight_smile: and it’ll be available not far off release price.

If I was compelled to buy a well-priced 2020 St Emilion now for drinking pleasure, as a preference, I would not hesitate to instead go for La Gaffeliere, an up-and-coming producer from great terroir (Grand Cru Classé B) next to Ausone. It’s not the flashiest St Emilion - the style is rather Burgundian and it wouldn’t stand out at a trade event - but tasting a cask sample of 2020 over the course of 2 days was quite interesting. Fresh, relatively delicate but with a multi-layered palate, moderately fine grained but definitely insistent structure and with a properly dry finish. I’d stump up £42 a bottle for this any day over £60 a bottle for Arômes. The label is old school and nondescript, the bottle doesn’t weigh a ton, but inside there is class.

Price and points:

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 90-92


ANGELUS

Modestly tagged Le Sublime by the estate due the “exceptional quality of the merlot”. Strong set of points all round this year, as you’d hope for a little over £250 a bottle. Stylistically I suspect it’s still a bit more James Bond than Le Carré. Polished.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 98-100

Decanter: 97

James Suckling: 98-99


BATAILLEY

Pauillac stood out as a particularly successful appellation in 2020, reminiscent of the harmony of 2016, perhaps without quite the same degree of dry extract. Yet in 2020 Pauillac presented as consistent pretty much top to bottom, and Batailley has just hit a home run with its fair pricing in line with last year’s release. A wine worth buying en primeur this year for the very clear discount it WILL offer early buyers for future drinking.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 93-95

The Wine Advocate: 89-91+

Decanter: 94

James Suckling: 94-95


BRANAIRE DUCRU

Having said that, whilst Branaire Ducru has done very well in recent hot vintages, this year’s samples were disappointing. In Jancis’s words “a bit tart on the finish and just a little skinny”.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 92-94

The Wine Advocate: 91-93+

Decanter: 93

James Suckling93-94


LYNCH MOUSSAS

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 91-93


Monday 20th May

LA DOMINIQUE

I have fond memories of La Dominique ever since I had to hurtle down the M4 to pick up my case of 1990 bought en primeur from Hungerford. I’d been tipped off by a London merchant they were about to go bust (red braces and all) so stalked the shop til my boot was filled. On the other hand this year it’s well and truly gazumped by Laroque, and their 2018 was a success in the vintage and by the looks of it relative to 2020 as well.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 93-95


RAHOUL

Excellent value everyday drinker, or proper wedding wine for when we can do parties of more than 30? The value advantage of the younger vintage does assume you’ll pop the cork as soon as the wine becomes physical since otherwise you’re paying out almost 12% of the value of the EP purchase in storage charges each year. Does the secondary market price of back vintages simply reflect that cost of ownership? Not sure at this level a wine lends itself well to relative value analysis… One final thought of the day. Ch Beaumont 2014 this morning made available by The Wine Society at £13.95 a bottle, duty and tax paid, and delivered. Pretty hard to beat that. Sold out quickly, with a terrible product rating due to lots of grumpy yet otherwise civilised Wine Society members p*ssed that they missed out. Hysterical. Literally.

Price and points:

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 87-89


LA CLOTTE

Another up and coming St Emilion estate. The commune is so full of ambition and belief these days, with thankfully a good proportion of those committed to modern classicism. With the attractively plump 2015 in the market at the same price and given we’re not quite in ‘store of value’ territory, I think that the back vintage edges it.

Price and points:

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Decanter: 93


SUDUIRAUT

They’re going to hate me for saying this, but there’s something rather retro these days about Sauternes, belonging to an époque of fatty foods, feasts and binges. Nothing wrong with any of that of course, and maybe we’re on course for a reprise as we come out of Covid and go crazy…in which case buy 2009, or even better 2008.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 94-96

The Wine Advocate93-95

Decanter: 96

James Suckling: 97-98


LAFON-ROCHET

Good value chez Basile Testeront, whose wines have been on a roll over the last few vintages. “Balance, ripeness and vitality” and a price that is DOWN on 2019. Unsurprisingly that makes it an attractive buy. Maybe not another 2016 judging by the notes (which was a grand success) but still proper claret.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 92-94

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 93-94


Thursday 20th May

LAROQUE

It does look like a total no brainer, pretty much the first one of the year, and I am most taken by Jancis’s “unflashy nose” and “bone dry” yet “silky finish”.

Price and points

Relative value analysis


Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 93-95

The Wine Advocate: 94-96

Decanter: 92

James Suckling: 94-95


Wednesday 19th May

LANGOA BARTON out at a smidgen under £30 a bottle.

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 92-94

James Suckling: 93-94

The Wine Advocate: 93-95

Decanter: 92


PAVIE

Power AND elegance. 18 points. Who knew. The bottle might still have shoulder pads, but within that broad-cut, chiselled physique lies an altogether more sensitive soul from this great terroir, one that is ‘beautifully poised’. The chart doesn’t lie…:slight_smile:

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 95-97

The Wine Advocate97-99

Decanter: 97

James Suckling: 98-99


BELLEVUE MONDOTTE

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 90-92

The Wine Advocate: 96-98

Decanter: 93

James Suckling: 94-95


PAVIE DECESSE

Price and points

Relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 94-96

The Wine Advocate: 95-97

Decanter: 95

James Suckling: 96-97


Tuesday 18th May

LEOVILLE BARTON out 8.5% up on 2019’s secondary market price, labelled ‘majestic’ by Jancis. He liked it so much he wanted to drink it. Whatever next. But Price and points

Relative value

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 94-96

The Wine Advocate93-95

Decanter: 94

James Suckling: 96-97


Tuesday 13th May

LABEGORCE

At the drinking end of the En Primeur spectrum, here’s an interesting Margaux with a super note from James Lawther that made my mouth water. Is juicy black cherry a Margaux characteristic in 2020? Durfort Vivens was dripping with them.

Price and points:

Other critics ratings:

Vinous: 91-93

James Suckling: 92-93


ANGELUS

ANGELUS released, up 9% on 2019, continuing with the same 40% Cabernet Franc in the blend as 2019.

Price and points

Relative value analysis

On the face of it 2015 stands out as value, but hasn’t l’Angelus stepped up a little in terms of refinement and balance in those intervening years?

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate98-100

Decanter: 97

James Suckling: 98-99


Tuesday 11th May

CHEVAL BLANC breaks rank! This is most unusual, since they are typically one of the very last to release (last year they came out June 8th), and at a price above the 1855 First Growths and Mouton. What is less unusual is that their release price is far from shy. Release is up on 2019 (+3%), 30% less vs the 2018 release price, and 20% less than the current secondary market for Cheval 2018.

Price per points

It has to be said James has not given Cheval 2020 a glowing review, worrying that “the tannins overwhelm the fruit at present”.

Relative value analysis, unsurprisingly, does not suggest 2020 as a must buy at this stage, though this is based significantly on the low score from James Lawther.

Other critic ratings:

Decanter: 99

James Suckling: 99


LE PETIT CHEVAL

Price per points

Other critic ratings:

Decanter: 93


Thursday 13th May

D'ANGLUDET

Price per points:

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 95-97


Saturday 8th May

HOSANNA, POMEROL

Here’s the market price vs points analysis, showing the 2020 release pricing bang on the market price (and release price) of 2019, a fraction cheaper than 2018, and 20% below the less well-rated 2015. This would suggest Euro release price is around 3% up on 2019 given Sterling is up by that amount. From my perspective, being a fan of Cab Franc, the 2019 has almost third in the blend versus a quarter in 2020. Who knows how that difference may pan out over time, but all else being equal, I’d personally favour the 2019 blend.

And here comes the relative value analysis

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 95-97

James Suckling99-100

James Lawther: 17.5


Friday 7th May

CHATEAU BOURGNEUF POMEROL released this morning.

Here’s the market price vs points analysis:

And here comes the relative value analysis.The longer the bar, the better the value relative to those it compares with.

This is an exciting conclusion with my drinkers hat on. It says beat a path to Wilkinson’s door to grab the last well priced case of Bourgneuf 2009 in the market. Failing that take your pick from a number of competitively priced offers of Bourgneuf 2015. Buy, pour, kick back and enjoy a classic, refreshingly styled Pomerol, feeling smug about your canny purchase considering what great value it is compared to current release. Bordeaux back vintages can be such good value.

Other critic ratings:

Vinous: 92-94

James Suckling: 94-95


Wednesday 5th May

Continuing with the Asian theme, BELFONT BELCIER, Grand Cru Classé since 2006, is now backed with Chinese investment, and has just released. With a quarter Cab Franc in the blend, James is making this sound most appealing with his references to fresh, vibrant, touch of leaf and spice, dances on the palate with juicy fruit…

Here’s the market price vs points analysis:

  



And here’s the relative value analysis. Longer the bar, bigger the gap, the more compelling the buy.

Yet, if there’s been a shift to a more refined approach, judging by the difference in reviews from 2015 and 2020, comparison with back vintages becomes less relevant.

Other critic ratings:

The Wine Advocate: 91-93

Decanter: 93

James Suckling96-97


Tuesday 4th May

BEAUMONT

No Cos or Pontet Canet breaking ranks this year so far, but who needs them when you have Beaumont? Unfortunately for them, their release has my full attention. This campaign we are comparing 2020 with 2019, 2018, 2015 and 2009, all hotter vintages to varying degrees, and going back far enough in time to figure out if buying the same wine en primeur is a smart move - or not. Here’s the market price vs points analysis for them all, showing that once in bottle Beaumont does move up in price. Compared to 2015, 2020 is a full 33% cheaper! That’s a big gap if we’re talking Lafite. But for Beaumont we’re talking about £4.40 per bottle.


Notwithstanding the 33% difference in price between 2015 and the 2020 new release, the 2015 shows as the better buy because of it’s whopping 17 score, compared with the 2020’s 15.5 points. So unless you’re a buyer for an Oxbridge college with Chinese student fees burning a hole in your tweed pocket, maybe hold fire.

Other critic ratings:

James Suckling: 92-93

Julia Harding MW: 15.5


Saturday 24th April 

I’m looking forward to contribute analyses of value for each major release as last year’s Bordeaux EP campaign. We’re hearing it’ll be another early campaign and I’m excited to see the notes and perspectives on the wines and the vintage from Team Jancis when they get published next week. Many thanks to Jancis for inviting me back!

I was in Bordeaux last summer and although part of July had a heatwave, August didn’t seem out of the ordinary and nights were fresh. We’ll have to see!

My first thought of the campaign is perhaps somewhat predictable, prompted by Jancis’s Bordeaux Primeurs free for all article last Thursday, when she wrote:

It may well turn out that the price reductions that helped make the 2019 primeur campaign such a success were a pandemic-inspired one-off. As I outlined in The ‘miracle’ primeur campaign 4, perhaps it really was a miracle that so many Bordeaux château owners were prepared to reduce their prices.
I do hope that doesn’t prove to be the case. I’m looking at secondary market prices of 2019s and there are broadly exactly where they were at first release. Admittedly, post-primeur action doesn’t generally kick in til the wines are bottled and the critics re-taste the final blend under cork. Still, it will take a brave (or very rich :slight_smile: ) proprietor to jack up prices on the back of an overall tentative Bordeaux market performance over the last few years.

Wine Lister’s Bordeaux 2021 16 study also warns of the ongoing risks to Bordeaux’s flagging attractiveness, whilst acknowledging the effect astute pricing had on the success of last year’s campaign.

Consumers have been spending big on wine this past year. Following a very quiet period during March and April 2020 at the start of Covid, fine wine buying took off again, with an extremely strong showing at the affordable level of everyday drinkers as well as at the collecting end of the market. Italian 2016 releases were extremely sought after and buyer exuberance culminated in a febrile atmosphere around the feted 2019 Burgundies, a campaign that felt like a real scramble, even though the wines themselves were a bit inconsistent.

I’m speaking with more retailers than ever before now that my business is focused on software as a service 6 for the wine trade. What I’m hearing from wine retailers is that the last year has been exceptional for those businesses focused on the consumer, exciting new e-commerce brands have been launched, and even those merchants who have been historically dependent on hospitality have made up for their annihilated On trade sales with the tsunami in consumer activity.

Will the spending spree carry on, to the benefit of Bordeaux 2020, or are there signs that the fine wine buyer is a little weary, not to mention wary? The next couple of months will tell, and I’m excited to be sharing the analyses here as the releases come out with our relative value analysis charts.

I’ll be sponsoring the London Wine Fair May 17-19 so my colleague Miles Davis will be on standby for when I’m tied up with conference and meetings with wine businesses on how they can make themselves more efficient and continue to prosper in the post-Covid world that we are gradually entering.

A step back into the familiar, yet forward into the unknown, and into a re-energised world that does feel incredibly exciting - and in some ways may well have changed forever!



Posted in: Fine wine analysis, Fine wine pricing and valuations, on 2021-06-02.
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