Bordeaux 2017: Beychevelle released

St-Julien estate Beychevelle has released its 2017 price this morning and although the drop was not very big versus 2016, it is still the cheapest vintage on the market.

The wine was released at €52.8 per bottle ex-négociant, a 6.7% drop on the 2016 price, and therefore it is being offered for around £650 per dozen.

Neal Martin rated the wine a respectable 90-92 although his colleague at Vinous, Antonio Galloni thought it was “absolutely gorgeous” and ranked it rather higher at 92-95.

Beychevelle is a strong brand with an extremely loyal following, especially in Asia, and it has consistently been one of the strongest sellers out of La Place de Bordeaux in recent years with excellent secondary market performance.

Even at £650 a dozen, the 2017 is the cheapest vintage on the market right now – and is even at a credible discount to wines such as the 2013 which has a much lower score – and analysis from the likes of Liv-ex and Wine Lister suggests that, at least on paper, this is a well-judged release which could “make today’s offer attractive” (Liv-ex).

Other notable releases from yesterday and this morning included two Sauternes properties, Suduiraut and Rieussec.

The former was released at €45.6 p/b ex-négoce, an 8.7% rise on the 2016, while the latter was released at €42 p/b, a 4.1% increase.

Many critics have noted that the dry and sweet whites of the 2017 vintage are extremely good and have generally rated them very highly.

By all accounts – and this is often the case – the sweet white wines often deserve to raise their prices year after year when taking into account the extra effort and cost involved in making Sauternes but also the quality of the final product.

Looking at it from a purely numbers point of view however, and the situation is less appealing.

Sauternes, with the exception of Yquem, tends not to hold its value very well in the secondary market and in both instances there are physical stock of Rieussec and Suduiraut from vintages with much better scores and at significant discounts – with Suduiraut a marginally better performer than Rieussec.

Both have 2009 vintages for example with scores of around 97-98 from Martin and at discounts of £150-£200.

“This is certainly one of the finest Sauternes of the vintage, but you would have to have your head buried deep in the sand to be unaware that more mature vintages are widely available at lower prices, including the sensational 2009 and 2010,” noted Farr Vintners in its offer.

Sauternes deserves greater attention and respect but it’s currently only a buy that a true lover would consider.

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