#Bdx15 Primeurs are go!

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2016-05-10

Have the Bordelais got it right this year? So far so good. The campaign is a little over a week old, the phoney war is over, and we're into the first wave of releases worth bothering with. I'll put money on the campaign being over by the time UK goes to the polls to vote for or against EU membership.

Let's have a look at some key releases to date, through the looking glass of price per points analysis, with the important overlay of commentary about the wine.

So far these offers are reasonably appealing. This surely recognises that this is not a vintage that has hit the heights of 2010 and 2009, nor has it the across-the-board homogeneity of the serious, intense 2005s, in my opinion. But the best wines are not far off the great vintages and there's a finesse, silkiness, aromatic quality and allure to the best wines that makes them fine in their own right. 

Lafleur 2015

Looking tempting in a high class sort of way. Beloved by many in 2015. Called by some as wine of the vintage. We thought 2015 was a Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot vintage, whatever the experts said about the quality of Merlot. We thought the variability of the earlier ripening Bordeaux grape, touched by the extreme heat of July's dog days, was such that it couldn't be called out as an overwhelming success. Where the ripeness was managed and the Merlot was brought in with enough residual freshness it was good. Where it was partnered with a high proportion of Cabernet Franc, we thought the wines were simply beautiful.

At £2,250 for 6x75cl it might seem eye-waveringly expensive, but remember this isn't much more than Le Pin 2004, and this is surely as extraordinary and visceral.

The only comparative question mark on the horizon is the price of 1998 (such a great vintage in Pessac and the Libournais) yet this vintage was tannic and backward, a wine for the next generation or the one after that, whereas 2015 is all about its silkiness and appealing ripeness.

Chateau Pape-Clément 2015

We normally dislike Pape-Clément, but this was a great wine in our view this year. Worth buying early? Have they got the price right this year? Yes if you compare to the great back vintages of the last 10 years, not if you draw equivalence to the highly rated 2012. Neal Martin's note on this wine corresponded exactly with our own, so here it is:

The 2015 Pape Clement is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc. It was cropped at 40 hl/ha between 25 September and 15 October with berry by berry destemming. It has a drop-dead gorgeous bouquet that continues the ever greater finesse that has been imparted into this Pape-Clément in recent years. It is extremely precise, almost crystalline. The palate is underpinned by fine tannin, pitch-perfect acidity, a sense of cohesion and harmony that is outstanding. There is not a hair out of place on this barrel sample and it will doubtless evolve into one of the best wines this state has produced since the 14th century, when Bertrand de Goth was planting its first vines. This comes highly recommended - a Pape-Clément that will reward those who can resist temptation and cellar this wine for 10+ years. Tasted on four separate occasions.

Chateau Beychevelle 2015

Delicious mid palate, balance uber alles and a nice bright finish. Reminds me of the '14s in its un-extracted style. Would I buy this early? If I wanted to drink it a decade down the line it might well make sense.

#Bdx15: A look back at 2014 - Part 2/2

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2016-05-09

As we jump into the 2015 En Primeur campaign with analysis and our recommendations of those wines that could be worth buying early on, let’s have a look at how last year’s 2014 En Primeur ‘picks’ have performed. 

We used our price per points analysis to identify relative value of the 2014 releases vs comparable back vintages vintages 

It's worth noting that wines that we felt could have been worth buying early were a little more than a handful, out of the swathe of en primeur releases. But then, there are only about 60 wines potentially worth bothering with these days. Buying the equivalent of cru bourgeois releases as a future is surely a mug's game these days. Of the 60 or so top producers who released in 2014, we thought there were about 8 wines worth buying as a future.

Here's how they performed...

Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2014 

Last year you could have bought a 12x75cl case of Château Lafite Rothschild 2014 for £ 2,700. Since then, it's increased to £3,300 (12x75cl) which represents a growth of 18% from it’s initial released price.

It was a tough one to taste at the property in April 2015, but we took a punt on it as proper wine - at least there was no lipstick applied to the barrel samples.

Chateau Calon Ségur 2014

Released at £410-£420 (12x75cl) retail, Calon has increased in price by 23.2% and stands at a market price of £505. It's worth noting volume of wine released En Primeur was much reduced last year and négociant channels were heavily rationalised. Having been earlier acquired by new owners for €200M, expect further 'management' of En Primeur releases in an attempt to drive the secondary market price. 

Chateau Margaux 2014

The release price of Chateau Margaux 2014 was £ 2,340 (12x75cl). 

Market price has risen to £ 2,850 for a case of 12 in one year, and increase of 21,8%.

Robert Parker Score : 93-95

Petit Mouton 2014

Le Petit Mouton’s release price was £ 750 per case of 12 bottles, the closest thing to a ‘one way bet’ we found last year, and I filled my personal boots. Given how well this atypically predominant cabernet Sauvignon Petit Mouton has performed in the last 12 months, we hope you did too! It was also the most delicious and impressive wine, and felt to me a little under-rated by Neal.

The price of Le Petit Mouton has increased by 30% going from £ 750 to £ 1,080 for 12x75cl.

Robert Parker Score : 90-92

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2014

Along with Petit Mouton, we loved Mouton last year, with its merlot so successful on gravel that a large slug of it made it into the Grand Vin. The trade was baying for release prices close to 2008 (£1750-£1800), but we thought £2,300 was a fair price for the quality, especially in the light of how much market momentum there has been behind Mouton of late.

Mouton 2014 has increased from it’s release price to £ 2,700, an increase of 13%.

Robert Parker Score : 96/100

Chateau Lynch-Bages 2014

Chateau Lynch-Bages 2014 was universally declared good value by the wine trade last year, and released at £580.

Over the past year it rose from £ 580 to £ 650 (12x75cl) representing an increase of 12%.

Robert Parker Score : 92 -94

Chateau Canon 2014

This stood out as proper wine last year as well, and tasted alongside some heavyweights held it's own. Re-tasted this year, it's shutting down and wasn't the most exciting wine on earth. The price hasn't budged either way from its release price of £375. One that in retrospect we should not have recommended to buy early.

#Bdx15: A look back at 2014 - Part 1/2

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2016-05-09

Before we jump into the 2015 En Primeur campaign with analysis and our recommendations of those Crus worth buying, let’s have a look at how last year’s 2014 En Primeur ‘picks’ have performed?


Before we look at the performance of our 2014 top tips, it’s worth remembering that new releases nearly always shine a spotlight on comparable back vintages and help the market see where there’s value. Last year we focused on some Châteaux from back vintages that we felt were undervalued. Let’s see how they performed:

Chateau Haut Brion 2008 

Last year we tipped Château Haut-Brion Premier Grand Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan 2008, priced at £ 2,400 per 12x75cl.

Today a Haut-Brion can be found at £ 2,800, an increase of 16.7% ( April 2016 ). We'd rate it a hold.


"08 Château Haut Brion shows a good depth of color with dark ruby and purple hues. Fresh black raspberry, oak, tar, and spice are in abundance on the nose. The wine has a rich, opulent character. Multi-layered pure, ripe fruit and elegant tannins fill your mouth as you taste. The polished, balanced wine ends with an elegant, long, rich finish expressing purity in the fruit."

Robert Parker Score : 96/100

Chateau Palmer 2004 

Last year Château Palmer 2004 cost was around £ 1,140 per 12x75cl.

Since last year, Château Palmer 2004 has risen to £ 1,390, an increase of 15.8%.

Robert Parker Score: 94

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