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Bordeaux 2014: A well-judged release?

Léoville Barton and Pape Clement released this morning, but are they among the campaign’s better-judged releases?

Pape Clement: intriguing?

Saint Julien second growth Léoville Barton came out at €44 per bottle ex-négociant while Pessac-Léognan-based Pape Clement decided to stick to its guns and release at exactly the same price as last year, €49.80 p/b.

Léoville’s price represents a small increase of 3.5% on the 2013 release price and at £430 a case with the estate’s best Wine Advocate score (92-94) since 2010, it may be a wine buyers decide to take a punt on.

Wine Owners hailed it as “well-judged pricing” and added that it “deserves to sell”.  Fine wine merchant Lea & Sandeman added: “If you want a something in your cellar that you will be really happy to find in 15 to 20 years, and which will not have cost the earth, Barton could be it.

“We are not going to tell you you will make a heap of money out of it, but as future drink we know we’d like to have some.”

In the cold, hard glare of Liv-ex’s stats it’s clear that other back vintages present a tempting target for the budget-conscious, the 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 all being cheaper – the ’08 and ’12 perhaps the better of the bunch albeit with, “fractionally lower scores”.

The problem is though, as Charles Lea told the drinks business: “It’s difficult to say whole-heatedly that there’s a need to buy this now.”

He continued that someone else had noted that this price at the beginning of the campaign “might have worked” but the slow pacing and uneven pricing had nullified its impact somewhat.

However, it is Pape Clement’s graph which perhaps prompts the most interest from this morning’s releases.

At £480 p/cs it is slightly more expensive than the 2011 and 2013 though only the former has a better score and it is out at a 15% discount to the current price of the 2008 which is comparably scored (93-95 for the 2014 from Neal Martin compared to the 95 for the 2008 given by Robert Parker).

Then again, it may all be too little too late by this stage.

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