Bordeaux 2017: steady tempo of releases continues

After a relatively quiet week in which standout Pomerol, Lafleur, was released, the steady tempo of releases picked up again this morning.

©Chateau Cantemerle – Photo

Chasse Spleen, Gazin and Cantemerle spearheaded the releases this morning (14 May), a clutch of usually ‘solid’ labels but arguably with no great ‘compelling reasons to buy’ this time around.

Out of frost-struck Haut-Médoc, Cantemerle picked up an 88-90 spread from Neal Martin in his recent report, and other critics were also reasonably impressed.

Released at €19.70 a bottle ex-négociant, an 11% decrease on the 2016, it is being offered in London for around £246 a case which is on a par with the 2008 and a little more expensive (today) than the current price of the slightly better-scored 2016.

Given the position of other recent vintages from the same label in the market today, a marginally larger drop might have been hoped for.

Gazin is perhaps the most marquee name out today its ex-négociant price of €57.6 a bottle being 4% down on the 2016.

Offered at £710 per 12 it may have been described by Martin as a “classic” but arguably there are both qualitatively stronger and comparable vintages with much better scores at quite significant discounts.

Rated 91-93 by Martin, the 94-96 rated 2015 and 2016 – both better vintages – are available for less and the similarly rated 2014 is around £200 a case less expensive.

Another wine from a heavily-frosted AOC, this time Moulis-en-Médoc, Chasse Spleen reduced its price by 3% with an ex-négoce release of €21 a bottle.

The wine is being offered for around £260 a dozen and has had rather mixed reviews, with Martin calling it “compromised” by the vintage conditions although Chris Kissack called it a relative success.

Again, a vintage of comparable quality such as the 2014 has a higher score from Martin (91 points versus 86-88) and is cheaper by a small margin and the 88-point 2012 is some £50 cheaper.

Following Château Palmer’s surprise early appearance, then some fairly high profile releases from Haut-Batailley and Pape Clément, the only other big name launch of late was Lafleur last week.

At £5,340 a case it was actually up 3.5% on the opening price of the 2016 but, crucially, at a significant discount to where the 2016 and 2015 vintages sit now in the market.

Furthermore, nearly every major critic has ranked the Pomerol estate as one of their top-rated wines of the vintage – making it one of estates where a clear consensus exists as to its quality.

Furthermore, while some of the other releases have attracted mixed reports on how they have sold, in the case of Lafleur it seems clear that there has been high demand, with Justerini & Brooks in particular reporting a high sell-rate.

If anything, it goes to show that the appetite for certain wines is there this campaign.

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