May 26, 2016

Bordeaux 2015 En Primeur – The State Of Play

Chateau Pape Clement

Château Pape Clement © Bordeaux Tourism

With the Bordeaux trade decamped to Hong Kong this week for Vinexpo, the annual trade fair, we thought this would be a good time for a stock take.

What has gone already?

Since the first wines appeared at the end of April, we have counted 38 releases of ‘interest’. The following have sold out: Tertre Roteboeuf, Pontet Canet, Pape Clement, Leoville Barton and Malescot St Exupery. The common theme running through these five wines is not only high quality, but pricing which makes sense.

So what have they done right?

As expected, prices in euros have on average been 15-25% up on last year, which is exacerbated by this year’s less favourable sterling exchange rate. However, the important question is whether comparable mature vintages can be bought at a similar or cheaper price. As you may have seen in our release mailings, we have been using 2010, 2009 and 2005 as the yardsticks against which to measure 2015.

Happily, a number of wines, including those mentioned above which have sold out, have fulfilled our criteria of being significantly cheaper than the market prices of all three of these vintages. Taking Pape Clement as an example, a château which is well attuned to market perceptions, a release price of £625 per dozen for a wine of equivalent quality to the likes of 2009 provides a real impetus to buy.


François Mitjavile of Tertre Roteboeuf told us “even one more case would not be possible”. This is not due to holding stock back, but because it has all gone! (We do still have some of his Roc de Cambes, which is frankly unmissable…)

Playing hard to get?

Elsewhere however, the proportion of production being released en primeur is dwindling. Pontet Canet won praise with a release price below the level of 2005, 2009 and 2010, but appears to have released around half the number of cases it did last year. As we noted in our previous report, Château Palmer has stated it only intends to release 50% of production en primeur. The four first growths with a hand still in en primeur tend to release their wines in so-called tranches, at ratcheting prices. If this approach is taken up by others, speed will be of the essence to secure the best prices.

A word to the wise…

Pomerol is seriously good this year, arguably the commune of the vintage. You don’t need to trust us (although we very much hope you do), you can hear it from the man who literally wrote the book, Neal Martin…

“The simple fact is that Pomerol boasts a clutch of potentially astonishing wines that play an important role fueling positive sentiment towards this vintage. A mere cursory look at the growing season indicates there was little chance that Pomerol could have walked away from 2015 without bearing a handful of barrel samples that were in my mind, to my senses, breathtaking.”

Thanks to our friends the Moueix, we are uniquely placed to offer some of the most wonderful 2015 Pomerols, from honest drinkers to the lofty heights. If you haven’t done so already, do have a read of our Moueix 2015 offer. If you’re looking for what is still available, you can see everything here.

What’s next?

The releases will continue apace so to make sure you’re up to date by signing up to our mailing list.

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