M&S releases claret bought en primeur

UK retailer Marks & Spencer is introducing a new, annual en primeur offer this May, and will sell wines it bought during previous campaigns as they become physical with the offer spanning a range of clarets up to first growths.

The 32 wines, all from the 2014 vintage, will be released next week in selected stores and online with buyers able to buy bottles in cases of six or singly.

The range starts with Château Potensac at £26 a bottle and goes all the way up to Château Lafite at £420 a bottle with other estates including Palmer, Léoville Las Cases, Pontet Canet, Poujeaux and Plince in-between.

Speaking to the drinks business at the launch in London last night (24 April), M&S wine buyer Emma Dawson MW said that the retailer had been buying Burgundy en primeur for 10 years now (and at the Hospices de Beaune sale since 2011), “so we wondered, ‘why not do it with Bordeaux?’”

Already working closely with the négociant houses Maison Sichel and JP Moueix, Dawson and fellow buyer Belinda Klenig bought a selection of wines en primeur for the first time in 2015 – an “interesting” and novel experience Dawson recalled with some department heads not realising that morning-long meetings are not conducive to obtaining desired allocations of cru classé claret.

In total, Dawson explained that M&S had secured 3,000 six-bottle cases. Only the wines up to £70 a bottle will be available in 80 selected stores around the country although all the wines will be available to order online. All of the wines will be available by the bottle which Dawson said would allow buyers to mix-and-match cases if they so desired.

She added that M&S had considered offering the wines en primeur to clients in the manner of a traditional campaign but had instead decided to wait until the wines became physical before releasing them.

Dawson continued that the retailer had bought wines en primeur from the 2015 vintage last year and would be buying 2016s as well.

The châteaux chosen will not remain the same very year, Dawson and Klenig picking on what they deem the best from each vintage but she explained they intended to keep the selection to around 30 or so wines each time, with a broad price spectrum from £20-30 a bottle up to first growths and to only offer the wines to customers when they became physical.

“It’s an exciting new chapter for our fine wine range,” said Dawson.

The wines to be sold in-store will go on sale on Tuesday 2 May and those online on Wednesday 3 May.

The wines from the 2014 vintage being offered by M&S are:

Château Potensac
Château Poujeaux
Chasse Spleen
Château Angludet
Connétable de Talbot
Chevalier de Lascombes
Château Plince
Château Chauvin
St Georges Côtes Pavie
Marquis de Calon Ségur
Château Marquis de Terme
Château La Dominique
La Croix de Ducru Beaucaillou
Les Pagodes de Cos
Château Gloria
Château Gruaud-Larose
Château Langoa Barton
Château Croix de Labrie
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste
Château Cos d’Estournel
Château Calon Ségur
Château Lynch-Bages
Château Pontet-Canet
Château Lafleur-Pétrus
Château Bélair-Monange
Château Léoville Las Cases
Château Palmer
Château Lafite

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