Bordeaux 2016: a Carruades to root for?

18th May, 2017 by Rupert Millar

The second wine of Château Lafite put in a late appearance yesterday afternoon, was it at a price buyers could get behind?

Carruades de Lafite hit the market at €135 a bottle ex-négociant, a 12.5% increase on the €120 price point the 2015 was released at. At £1,260 a case (approximately) it is 31% more expensive than the 2015.

For another label this pricing might prove to be a problem but the second wines (that is the second wines of the first growths not second growths like Pichon Baron) perform in a very traditional way in the marketplace, their price being largely tied to age rather than critical score. And the second wines have been on a roll of late due to the brand power of their parent labels.

As a result, the 2016 is cheaper than all previous back vintages (see accompanying Liv-ex graph) and has a better score than most of the recent ones as well – for all its greatness Lafite’s critical record post-2010 is pretty patchy.

A score of 89-91 from The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin, 16.5 from Jancis Robinson MW but slightly more generous scores from other critics, many commentators noted a different style to the 2016 Carruades, Martin wrote: ‘They now practice more selection for the Carruades and, in this respect, the great fruit concentration means he has just tweaked the level of new oak upwards.”

“The most tannic and textured Carruades ever,” noted the ever exuberant James Suckling.

It sits very favourably alongside its sister vintages and longstanding Lafite/Carruades buyers will no doubt partake. For that price and that score other buyers may look elsewhere; Montrose would be a good shout – but you probably won’t find any to buy.

Talbot was another much-followed wine released yesterday. At €42 p/b ex-négoce it was just 9.5% above its 2015 release but this was perhaps something of a surprising move for the trade.

Talbot is normally one of those ‘sensible’ estates that everyone concurs ‘gets it’ and is ‘great value’. At nearly £500 a case though (£492) is it something of a misstep? The critical reviews for the 2016 clearly show it’s a better wine than the 2011-2015 stretch and indeed the 2005-2008 wines but for an estate that, like Carruades, is normally nicely in lockstep with prices linked to age rather than score it’s a price that will disappoint many.

Also out yesterday afternoon and this morning is a clutch of wines including: Larrivet Haut-Brion; Quinault l’Enclos; Lalande-Borie and Croizet Bages.

One of the more notable releases this morning has been the Saint Emilion estate La Gaffelière at €47 p/b ex-négoce.

2 Responses to “Bordeaux 2016: a Carruades to root for?”

  1. thomas says:

    La Gaffeliere was indeed released but belongs to Comte Malet Roquefort.
    Canon La Gaffeliere belongs to Stephan Von Neipperg and is not yet on the market

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