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Top 10 wines of Bordeaux 2016

Lafite heads the pack as the ‘best’ wine of the 2016 vintage according to Liv-ex’s international members but which other labels have excelled in 2016?

There is still some debate on whether a vintage like 2016 can be considered a ‘Left Bank’ or a ‘Right Bank’ year.

The broad consensus is that there is a very slight advantage to the Cabernet-dominated Left Bank and perhaps the hot summer has not done Merlot many favours which gives a slight handicap to the Libourne communes.

On the other hand, there are clearly some stellar Right Bank wines, with Neal Martin noting in his report that if Pomerol excelled in 2015 then it is perhaps St Emilion’s turn to shine this time around.

Click through to see the 10 ‘best wines’ of the vintage according to Liv-ex’s members.

READ MORE: Merchant survey crowns Lafite ‘wine of the 2016 vintage’

10. Cos d’Estournel

2015 release price: €120 p/b ex-négoce
Neal Martin: 98-100
Jancis Robinson MW: 18
James Suckling: 97-98

The only wine on this list that has been released so far. The Saint Estèphe second growth not only released surprisingly early but at the same price as its 2015 vintage was.

Of course, the exchange rate means it was 10% more expensive off the bat but that is likely within the grounds of reason for both merchants and collectors.

Furthermore, given a stellar score by Martin and high scores by other major critics and its inclusion in this list, on balance it will likely be viewed as a price that was more than justified.

9. Montrose

2015 release price: €102 p/b
Neal Martin: 97-99
Jancis Robinson MW: 18
James Suckling: 97-98

Montrose was considered one of the best wines of the 2014 vintage and although bad weather held Saint Estèphe back somewhat in 2015, both Montrose and Cos were felt to have pulled through.

However, 2016 has seen Saint Estèphe rebound with a bang and with some excellent scores to back it up, this could be one of the more hotly tipped wines on merchant lists once it emerges.

8. Latour

2015 release price: n/a
Neal Martin: 98-100
Jancis Robinson MW: 19
James Suckling: 98-99

Something of a non-starter here as Latour no longer plays the en primeur game. The scores alone show the team has clearly done an exemplary job (“running like clockwork” said Martin) but as it is unlikely to be released for another decade in all likelihood, there’s really no point discussing it any further.

Perhaps start saving the pennies for when it does eventually get released ex-château though.

7. Cheval Blanc

Château Cheval Blanc

2015 release price: €540 p/b
Neal Martin: 97-99
Jancis Robinson MW: 16.5
James Suckling: 98-99

Always highly-rated, always expensive Cheval Blanc has a tendency to split opinion somewhat on release – usually with regards its pricing policy rather than the quality of the wine.

Historically its performance post-primeur leaves much to be desired – in Liv-ex’s Spring Report on Bordeaux it was shown that on average between the 2005 and 2014 vintages prices have declined 17%.

Clearly a top wine, buyers will no doubt vote with their feet one way or another when its price is announced.

6. Vieux Château Certan

2015 release price: €150 p/b
Neal Martin: 95-97
Jancis Robinson MW: 19
James Suckling: 98-99

Consistently turning out Pomerol thoroughbreds (it was voted the ‘best’ wine of the 2014 vintage in a past version of this survey), VCC has beaten the likes of Petrus and Le Pin to the punch in this round-up.

Of the three Right Bank wines in this list, it is also by far the most affordable and should be a hot ticket on release.

5. Ausone

2015 release price: €540
Neal Martin: 98-100
Jancis Robinson MW: 18+
James Suckling: 97-98

A grand old domaine of the Right Bank and one usually somewhat overlooked by flashier, more headline grabbing estates (and their prices).

Martin almost said as much in his notes in which he constantly calls the 2016 wines “stately”, “correct”, “intellectual” and “sophisticated”.

This is one of the few wines were quibbles about the price are not much in evidence.

4. Margaux

Château Margaux

2015 release price: €384 p/b
Neal Martin: 97-99
Jancis Robinson MW: 17.5
James Suckling: 98-99

The ‘best’ wine of the 2015 vintage thanks to what was a superb year for the Margaux appellation in general and what was a fitting send off for the late Paul Pontallier – whose last vintage it was.

Margaux – like Saint Estèphe in 2015 – did not quite reach the same heights in 2016 although there’s no doubt there’s hardly been a collapse in quality either.

Dedicated Margaux buyers will of course pick it up but it wouldn’t be surprising if buyers keep their powder dry for the undoubtedly excellent first growths (and other cru classé) from Pauillac this year.

3. Haut-Brion

2015 release price: €385 p/b
Neal Martin: 97-99
Jancis Robinson MW: 19
James Suckling: 100

That said, if more partisan buyers are looking around for a first growth to sink some money into then Haut-Brion will likely prove tempting.

Qualitatively, the Pessac-located first growth has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years and this has been reflected in a surge of interest among buyers on the secondary market.

It is currently one of the best-performing first growths and has well and truly risen out of the shadow of its fellow firsts where, perhaps, it previously had dwelt for a little too long.

2. Mouton Rothschild

2015 release price: €384 p/b
Neal Martin: 98-100
Jancis Robinson MW: 18.5+
James Suckling: 100

On the scores of the three critics above, it’s clear that the title of ‘best’ wine of the vintage is very much between the two Rothschild properties and Lafite only just edges it.

How this plays out in terms of prices is probably moot but Mouton, like Haut-Brion, has been stunningly successful on the secondary market of late and in August last year was the most-searched for wine on Liv-ex.

Will it have done better than its Pauillac cousin by the campaign’s end though?

1. Lafite Rothschild

2015 release price: €420 p/b
Neal Martin: 96-98
Jancis Robinson MW: 18
James Suckling: 100

Lafite’s return to fame and acclaim is something of a parable for Bordeaux overall in many ways.

Driven to unrivalled peaks by a thirsty Asian market, Lafite suffered more than most in the collapse that followed.

Ridden over roughshod in the secondary market by Burgundy and then Mouton and Haut-Brion, Lafite has spent its time in the wilderness and as its premium versus its fellow firsts has weakened (and continues to weaken) and vintages continue to sink in price so, slowly but surely, buyers have returned.

Lafite’s position has strengthened, some vintage’s have returned to higher trading prices and it was ranked as the most powerful fine wine brand for the first time since 2010 in Liv-ex’s Power 100 index last year.

Could this be the campaign that sees Lafite crown its return to form?

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