Bordeaux 2016: price rises ‘for the few’?

A celebrated recent vintage in Bordeaux, the 2016s combined both power and grace but as their physical release draws near which have held their value – and which have not?

The campaign, as many will remember, was a slightly mixed affair with some brilliant wines that sold very well, some excellent wines that should and could have sold better and much discussion over the widespread holding back of stock by the châteaux. Good but frustratingly not quite as good as it could have been if there’d been more stock to play with.

Nonetheless, with the wines set for release over the coming months and all the top critics sharpening their quills as they prepare to dig back into the wines and issue new in-bottle scores, how are the wines performing from a price perspective?

Regardless of the habitual quibbles en primeur, the return on some of the wines has been remarkable.

Although widely regarded as a vintage that slightly favours the Left Bank, two of the best performers hail from the Right according to figures from Liv-ex.

Lafleur has seen an 89.9% rise from £5,160 to £9,800 a case. Le Pin, meanwhile, is up 71% to £38,000.

The second labels from the first growths continue their growth spurt as well. Carruades de Lafite has risen 64% and Petit Mouton 40% to £2,630 and £2,250 respectively.

Petrus is up 36% to over £29,000 a dozen, Beychevelle, Ausone, Calon Ségur and Pavillon Rouge are all up varying degrees of 20% and Montrose up 18% to £1,430.

Stellar returns and a positive turn of events for collectors who have seen many of their high priced en primeur purchases tank or simply wobble along post-release in recent years.

Unfortunately, not every label has seen such success. A mix of Left and Right Bank and Sauternes estates have drifted down from their release prices over the last year.

Ducru Beaucaillou, Eglise Clinet, Palmer, Grand Puy Lacoste and Pavie have, for the moment, gone down 12-13% since release.

Coutet (-16%), Yquem (-16.8%) and Suduiraut (-18%) are three sweet wines that have failed to hold their release price, with Suduiraut being the worst performing wine overall from the vintage.

Smith Haut Lafitte has drifted 16.8% and Pontet-Canet – often listed by Liv-ex as one of the most over-priced wines en primeur, is the worst performing red wine, down 16.9%.

That’s where the wines stand for now, but who knows what a positive score may do for some?

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