Bordeaux 2016: stumbling to the finish line

Three big names have opened what many hope will be the final week of en primeur – Ausone, Léoville Las Cases and l’Eglise-Clinet.

The prices for all three are high, Las Cases saw a rise of 30% above its 2015 release, tough for many buyers to swallow no doubt but, for the most part, reasonably in line with their scores – potential buys for those with the means.

Perhaps the best-judged release is that from Saint Emilion premier cru, Ausone. At €588 a bottle ex-négociant it is the most expensive release of the three but the smallest increase over its 2015, just 8.9%.

Available at £7,260 a case it is one of the more expensive vintages on the market but comfortably below the 2009, 2010 and 2005.

Importantly, its critical evaluation was hugely positive. Its 98-100 point score from The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin is its best score from the journal since the 2005 vintage.

It received a 97-98 point spread from James Suckling, 18+ from Jancis Robinson MW and 96-99 from Antonio Galloni. It was also ranked as one of the top five best wines of the vintage by Liv-ex’s global members –

Judged on its WA scores, the 2016 sits very comfortably on the ‘fair value’ side of the line as plotted by Liv-ex.

Saint-Julien estate Léoville Las Cases now and a release, which treads the line a little finer than most.

As Liv-ex noted, at €180 a bottle (up a mighty 30%), its £2,100 asking price was “somewhat unexpected by the trade”.

Comparing it to its back vintages, it’s roughly the same price as its 2005 and just cheaper than the 2009.

The one thing on its side is its WA score, which 98-100 is its best of the last 10 years at least, while it also received a solid 19 from Robinson (“extraordinary vitality and energy”), 98-99 from Suckling, 95-98 from Galloni and other similarly high scores from other critics.

Based on its score from Martin, the 2016 can be viewed as ‘fair value’ suggests Liv-ex, with co-director James Miles commenting on social media that a later in-bottle score of 100 from Martin would set a seal on that.

But will it? Possibly worth a punt, the quality is certainly there but, a common refrain this campaign, the stock isn’t – with volumes offered down 40% on what they were last year.

And finally, from Pomerol, l’Eglise Clinet which also is very finely balanced. It has slapped on a pretty hefty 25% increase on its 2015 price which raises it to €225 p/b and £2,740 per dozen.

Well below the market price of its 2005, it is very close to its 2009 – which has a better score – and its 2015, while it has a slightly inferior score is below £2,000 a case and might be a more tempting offer.

With a 97-99 spread from Martin Liv-ex places it just on the right side of fair value against other back vintages but it’s a very tight margin.

A few second tranches are also out today – from Montrose and Pape Clément – but the now near-mythical second tranche of Lafite was not among them.

One Response to “Bordeaux 2016: stumbling to the finish line”

  1. Craig says:

    Some big price rises. Disappointing really.

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