Domaine de Chevalier 2019

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2020-06-04


Chevalier is out this morning at £247 per 6, a perennial favourite and on the back of a seemingly great success in 2018. Hopefully in 2019 they’ll have tamed the merlot alcohols which hit 15 degrees in 2018. Bordeaux being blends saved the day and early pickings of Cabernet brought the assemblage down to under 14 degrees. Still, that kind of inherent excessiveness does make you wonder. Chevalier does age with unusually consistent grace no matter the kind of vintage.

Relative value analysis points to 2014 as being a rather decent pick of an excellent run of recent vintages. 2019 is fairly priced for collectors of this lovely estate but not to attract the short term profiteers.

Domaine de Chevalier - En primeur 2019


Domaine de Chevalier - En primeur 2019



Banner Image: http://www.domainedechevalier.com


Cos d'Estournel 2019

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2020-06-03


Cos d’Estournel is out £684 per 6. -23% down on 2018. Great wine they say but is the price reduction enough?

The magisterial 2016 is hovering 10% above this release price, which is among the greatest young Bordeaux Lisa Perotti-Brown has ever tasted, it’s in bottle and widely available, so we think they needed to do a little more to make this really attractive. However good the 2019 proves to be, it does not prompt the same compulsion to buy this year as Pontet Canet and Palmer.

Prices and points (we have allocated 98 points)

Cos d'Estournel - En primeur 2019


Cos d'Estournel - En primeur 2019



Banner Image: www.estournel.com


Chateau Palmer 2019

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2020-06-02


Palmer was released this morning at £999 per 6, a 31% reduction from the (pumped-up) pricing levels of 2016 and 2018. We are back into rational release pricing territory.

Does it work? Absolutely. Note we have put in a placeholder of 18 points but it works at 17 points too.

At this rate, if the whole of Bordeaux rallies around the reduction level of -30% to -35% set by Pontet Canet and now Palmer (and rumoured to be the level of reduction that Lafite will apply), this’ll be the first en primeur campaign since 2014 where it would make sense to buy more broadly than the very specific, narrow range that we’ve suggested makes any sense at all in the last 3 campaigns.

Here’s the analysis of Palmer.

First pricing and scores:

Chateau Palmer - En primeur 2019


And the relative value calculation. Note how much longer, and therefore better value, the 2019 bar is than any of the comparative vintages used for the analysis:

Chateau Palmer - En primeur 2019



Banner Image: www.chateau-palmer.com


Latour's first ever 2012 release - but the rest of the First Growths will need to try an awful lot harder with 2019 en primeur

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2020-05-27


So Latour 2012 is out today at £350 a bottle. What’s that got to do with 2019 EP I hear you ask? Well coming as it does just before the releases of the 2019 big boys, and because it’s the first release from Latour that wasn’t previously released EP, it’s seen as a test of the market and what the consumer’s appetite is for laying out hard earned spondoolies in The Time of Covid.

I’ve seen emails from merchants this morning gushing that this is the cheapest Latour in the market today, and how they’ve got the pricing right.

The retail channel needs to see the 2019 releases come out minus 30% v 2018. That would put Lafite et al at around £2,000/ 6 and at that price it would sell. Plus it might just re-energise the Bordeaux secondary market with a dollop of positive sentiment.

However If we compare 2012 Latour to other comparable vintages of Latour, so say 2008, 2006 and 2004, which I think is rather realistic, we see a very different picture.

Here’s the market price and JR points plotted for 2012 and those benchmark vintages selected:

Chateau Latour Market Price VS Score

And here’s the weighted effect of that taking into account scores:

Chateau Latour 2012 Relative Value Score

The longer the bar the better the value, the bigger the gap between the longest and the next, the more compelling the buy. Not much in it is there? Which says that Ch. Latour, far from doing their 2019 EP peers a massive favour, have given absolutely nothing away. There’s no Covid discount baked into this price. The best you can say is that there’s no guff about ex Chateau premium.

So, as a curtain raiser, it's a damp squib. But that’s their release model now and who’s to say they are wrong? At least we know what we’re drinking. The reply to this question, answerable only by Lafite et al, will come soon enough.


Bordeaux 2019: the spring of hope

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2020-05-20


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”  Charles Dickens.

18th May 2020 kicks off the Bordeaux 2019 en primeur campaign with the release of Chateau Angludet. They’ve partially gone down the amphora route to gain purity. It’s a great success, a very great Angludet, according to a number of merchant emails received today. Those same emails belie one small issue - that the wine has yet to be tasted. A reminder of the impact of Covid-19, the anxieties and emotions over this year’s releases dominated by hope and despair. So we have to take the Bordelais at their word that it’s a great vintage, fresher than 2018, in the same mould as 2016 or 2010. I’m sure producers are excited by what they have in cask or tank or whatever receptacle the juice is in these days. But it’s not unjustified to say that local opinion isn’t always entirely objective. So bring on those Chronopost and UPS samples and let us all taste...

We have to be honest, we’d have much preferred a deferral of the campaign to October after the harvest. We don’t agree that would have caused any issues with other regions’ releases. There is something very strange about releasing a futures campaign whilst so much of our economy is in deep purdah. But the die has been cast and June it is (for the 60-odd releases that the market chooses to focus on).

The choice of timing of the releases is significant. It is quite obvious that, just like the 2008 vintage release, there will have to be a very significant reduction in release prices for 2019 to find a market.  Those properties who have tended to use en primeur more as a marketing opportunity than a selling one will have to think about what it means to them: the prospect of a marketing campaign has more or less evaporated. For those properties who expect or need to sell a sizeable percentage of the harvest, only one one of the four marketing ‘P’s matter. It can be the best vintage in the world, it can garner (in the fullness of time) more 100 pointers than any of the last 40 years, but success will boil down to one thing and one thing only: price.

That decision will have ramifications on the whole of the Bordeaux global secondary market. A significant reduction of 30%-40% can ignite interest in the region’s great wines. It can draw in a new generation that has largely ignored the region, or doesn’t see the point of purchasing new releases two years before shipping. It can reward buyers of the last vintages who are under water and likely to remain so. A compromise that shows intent but brings us back to the levels of 2015 will consign Bordeaux to another year in the shallow quicksands of a secondary market lacking direction, fearful of the future, unwilling to commit cash, failing to see the point anymore. 

Ah, I hear you say, but the world is awash with cash desperately looking for a home, just as it was post-Lehmann - when the fine wine market benefitted royally. I disagree. We are entering uncharted waters and cash in the bank trumps FOMO, the fear of missing out. Warren Buffet can be wrong sometimes, but not all the time, and moving to an underinvested position does not seem completely crazy. 

So let’s say that 2019 is the equal of 2016, increasingly recognised as the greatest classic Bordeaux vintage in a generation. 2019 is likely not its older sibling’s equal (probably, but who knows) but let’s pretend it is for a second. Even on this most optimistic reading of the new vintage, would you rather buy into a vintage that has been tasted, re-tasted, evaluated ad infinitum and has withstood the scrutiny of the entire market, or roll the dice with a vintage that will be narrowly evaluated based on posted samples? Add to that 2016 prices that have barely moved or drifted down, and the comparative case for 2016 is about as strong as it gets.

Bring on June, and a prediction: either the most successful en primeur campaign since 2016 (notwithstanding Covid-19) or a non-event, determined purely by one variable - price.

Nick Martin

20th May 2020


Focus on: Luciano Sandrone, Le Vigne - Barolo

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2019-07-09


The reputation of Luciano Sandrone continues to grow and grow, in keeping with the popularity of Barolo. Not as famous as the very top tier of Bruno Giacosa, Giacomo Conterno or Giuseppe Rinaldi but nestling just in behind, at a far more attractive price point.

Here we consider Le Vigne cru although the story is much the same for the slightly more expensive Cannubi Boschis (renamed Aleste in 2013 – in classic, designed to confuse, Piemonte style!).The consistency of the scores is incredible - through a mixture of very varied vintages from ’06-’15 the average is 95.3 points (Wine Advocate). Very significantly, the estate releases a small amount of the exact wines (under the labels Le Vigne Sibi et Paucis and Cannubi Boschis Sibi et Paucis) after ten years of age and they consistently achieve greater acclaim at that point, the ’07 going from 96 to 99 points (WA) for example. The range of points scored would indicate these are very fine wines indeed and given the rarity, must be only affordable to only the mega rich. Not so, prices start at c. £60 a bottle, rising to c. £170 for the stonking 2010 vintage.

For comparison sake I looked at some other fine wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux over the same ten year time period. Obviously these comparisons will never be exactly like for like but the differentials are not that great either; brilliant producers from the top tier of their respective regions, producing internationally acclaimed wines from the best local grape varieties designed to take advantage of their particular terroirs and climates to the full. We have a decent premier cru Burgundy, Domaine Dujac Aux Combottes, a sensational Pomerol on top of its game, Vieux Chateau Certan, and the king, Chateau Petrus (just for fun):


Comparisons between ‘06-‘15 vintages:

Av. points

Av. Price

Highest price


Luciano Sandrone Le Vigne Barolo DOCG

95.3

£98

£170

Domaine Dujac Gevrey Chambertin Aux Combottes Premier Cru

91.6

£170

£234

Vieux Chateau Certan

94.1

£134

£220

Petrus

96.1

£2,200

£3,250


I suggest there is room for significant upside for this Barolo. And I am going to start selling the Combottes I own, the differential is absurd and further illuminates how crazy Burgundy prices have become. Production of fine wine in Barolo (and Barbaresco) is tiny compared to even Burgundy and completely miniscule in what we could consider the ‘investable’ candidates.

Please see charts for Market Price and Relative Value Scores for available vintage comparison.

Le Vigne Sandrone RVS

Le Vigne Sandrone MPS

Miles Davis

9th July 2019


The Wine Market Investment Report - June 2019

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2019-07-08


The highlight in June for the wine world was clearly the Daily Telegraph event ‘Wine; for profit or pleasure?’. A sell out crowd witnessed excellent talks from four leading experts from the wine world, including two of us from Wine Owners (Miles and Nick). Please contact us for a copy of the presentation.

Otherwise June was again tranquil with trade bobbing along just fine but with no particular surges or dips anywhere. Global stock markets enjoyed a rise after Messrs. Trump and Xi found some accord but this doesn’t seem to have inspired the wine market as yet! Wine stock levels are healthy amongst Asian traders so not even a continuing depressed sterling is bringing about much marginal demand from that corner although most indices are in positive territory in June.

The Bordeaux en primeur campaign came to an end with an almighty whimper. En primeur gets under the skin of the wine trade and all involved spend far too much time talking, writing and moaning about it…yet even so, I shall continue! Within the wine market(s) it has represented very poor relative value for a decade, prices are just too high, yet merchants don’t dare turn their back on this once great provider. It was a great system for all involved, including the man on the street. Now only a very few wines ‘work’ each year (whereby they make sense to the supply chain and the end buyer). And now, to compound the problems of high prices, the Chateaux have decided to retain more and more of their own stock. How this comes to market, when and at what price will fuel debate but based on the evidence of the mighty Chateau Latour, the market may just turn its back. The feeling of stock overhang may easily outweigh the feeling of short supply and it’s not as if the world is going to go thirsty, there will always be alternative choices.

If only our Italian friends came together with a synchronised offering, we could have a proper old school primeur market again. All the market players would have to be involved at the same time, jostling for position, scrapping over every six pack and would still be able to sell at a price that would make everyone happy. The hype that the merchants used to create in Bordeaux primeur markets, that we are still hungover from, could be regenerated. We all miss the hype and the excitement which created such fear amongst the white-faced, panic-stricken collectors and consumers who couldn’t possibly stand even the faintest whiff of FOMO (fear of missing out). 

As it is, Italian releases come to market in no organised way and importers and merchants release when they feel like it. It’s all very Italian really but it does make buying easier. We have been acquiring some 2015 Barolo new releases from Fratelli Alessandria, whose reputation is markedly on the up. Prices are very reasonable for these high scoring wines, ranging from c.£35 per bottle for their basic Barolo (94 Wine Advocate points) to nearer £60 for their top cru, Monvigliero (96+). Outside of the very top group, Luciano Sandrone is another producer worth mentioning - consistently high scores at affordable prices. Their equivalents in quality in either Bordeaux or Burgundy would be far more expensive.

Piedmont is easily our favourite region at the moment, due to the demand/supply equation and the blue chips remain well bid. Whilst Bordeaux and Burgundy remain lacklustre, Champagne and Rhone have attracted some attention. There is no question we would recommend the brilliant 2008 vintage in Champagne and the recently released Sir Winston Churchill looks a good bet with the ’96 being double the price.

Please see the Blog for more articles about the wine investment market.

Miles Davis

8th July 2019

miles.davis@wineowners.com


The April 2019 Wine Investment Market Report

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2019-05-13


This time of year in the wine trade is always dominated by the Bordeaux en primeur circus. Please see our 2018 ‘In a nutshell' report here. It’s strange really, as en primeur has not made commercial sense for the legions of the swirling and spitting wine trade, let alone the man on the street, for very nearly a decade. En primeur business has shrivelled like a drought savaged grape over the years and there are only a handful of opportunities each year that really make sense. At the time of writing only a few releases have made sense according to our ‘proto-pricing’ (please see jancisrobinson.com), Branaire Ducru, Duhart Milon and Quinault L’Enclos. Palmer sold out quickly (at 2,880 per 12), partly due its rarity (see blog), but also because they have built their brand so brilliantly under the guidance of Thomas Duroux. As a result, Palmer has a strong en primeur following.

In general, the Chateaux are releasing less than ever this year which makes this game ever more senseless. According to one highly experienced trade legend EP is all about building the client base for merchants and clearly the avalanche of similarly persuasive e-mails work to some extent. Experienced wine players are highly selective in the EP arena and returns in the short to medium term are very far and few between. Real scarcity is where it’s at, if you’re hoping for rising prices, and that doesn’t come from en primeur.


Level Month YTD 1 Year 5 Year 10 Year
WO 150 Index 303 -0.6% -2.0% 6.4% 57.4% 83.3%
WO Champagne 60 Index 462.61 0.9% -1.3% 5.0% 68.4% 154.9%
WO Burgundy 80 Index 691.36 3.7% -2.0% 25.7% 142.1% 233.2%
WO First Growth Index 75 Index 276.71 -0.5% -2.0% 2.6% 45.5% 71.2%
WO Bordeaux 750 Index 340.71 1.0% 1.7% 6.3% 57.5% 100.3%
WO California 85 index 669.86 -0.1% -0.4% 15.4% 106.4% 309.9%
WO Piedmont 60 Index 318.83 -0.3% 0.9% 9.2% 75.6% 126.4%


There were no new themes detected over the month and scarcity is still the biggest driver. Interest in Piedmont is still firm although the monthly movement of the index would suggest otherwise. The same can be said of Burgundy, which is still active but is trading below advertised offer levels, with buyers negotiating harder.

Brexit concerns seem to have been put on hold for now, more through ennui than anything else, which led to some increased activity from U.K. private clients but overall the market trundles along rather than powering up. It’s a time for gentle accumulation on the bid side of the market.

As an aside; several collectors have approached us about reviewing their cellars, mainly to consider what holdings are investment grade and which are not. This has led to most people making the realisation their collections lack structure. The combination of our expertise and the technological support from the platform is proving to be very valuable.


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


One lump or two?

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2019-04-17


A secret of the greatest wines of the world is their balance of glucose and juicy fruit, offset with a certain amount of balancing natural acidity. Perception of sweetness is affected by additional factors beyond fruit acidity, such as oak barrels and amino acids.

The French have a word for a sweet-fruited, succulent mid-palate – sucrosité.

Even the most classic palates enjoy wines that show a crunchy sucrosité. Cross the line in a hot vintage though, and that perfect pitch sweetness turns sugary.

So what are the challenges behind trying to preserve the all-important mid palate character and aromatic profile in a vintage that’s the hottest in more than 50 years?

Feel vs numbers

Extreme climatic conditions challenged the current winemaking playbook by numbers. We suspect looking at the numbers alone to decide perfect phenolic maturity this year will not have worked as well as trusting in human judgement based on daily tasting of berries from across the myriad plots that make up a typical Château’s vineyard holdings.

Tea bags

In 2016 Figeac’s stunning success was in part down to an ultra-gentle infusion to minimise extraction. It was a year, like 2018, where polyphenals (tannins and colorants referred to as 'IPT' for short) were huge and needed gentle handling. Combine high IPT numbers with high alcohols and the potential to create an out-of-balance wine increases.

Stuck fermentation

High sugar levels in super-ripe fruit can be a worry in a vintage like 2018. Fermentations are prone to stall where high sugar levels feed rapidly rising alcohol levels. In many instances stuck fermentations can be kick-started by tipping in musts from other vats where the fermentation has already successfully completed. But there’s no getting away from the atypical character of the resulting wine. Of course extra sweetness can be offset with acidification in the cellar - permitted in Bordeaux as elsewhere.

To the manor born

It’s a year where terroir appears to have played a significant part in cutting the grade. However unfair this may seem, the best soils and expositions tended to deliver the best wines. A bit like a heat sink regulates and dissipates excessive temperatures, somehow so do the greatest vineyards.

As reported by Jane Anson in Decanter, Eric Kohler put it like this: 'even after 25 years of working at Lafite I continue to be full of admiration for this terroir. Other plots that we own reacted to the heat at times, but Lafite just kept sailing on as usual'.

One lump please

Away from top terroir, there were a lot of sugary mid-palates in 2018. You either enjoy the extra sweetness or you don’t. We’ll be avoiding the wines with more than one lump.


Vine and winemaking, Bordeaux 2018



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