Bordeaux 2018: Fit for a Pape?

An “explosive” Pape Clément and “opulent” d’Armailhac lead this morning’s en primeur releases.

The Pessac-Léognan estate has released its 2018 at €66 a bottle ex-négociant, a 7.8% increase on the 2017 and meaning it costs around £795 per dozen.

Both Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW and James Suckling were strong advocates of the wine, scoring it 96-98 and 97-98 respectively, with Suckling calling it “linear and driven”, while Perrotti-Brown loved its “freshness” and “very long and mineral laced” finish.

While Antonio Galloni thought it exploded with “vertical intensity and lift”, he found it rather “brooding” for a wine known for being very open and inviting en primeur. He was also a touch more conservative with his score; 93-96.

Julia Harding MW likewise was a bit more reserved on 16.5 and commented on its alcohol and “tough finish” (at the moment). “For lovers of power rather than elegance,” she noted.

If going by Suckling or Perrotti-Brown’s scores then today’s release price is fairly sound, with only the 2012 looking like a back vintage contender with a similar rating and slightly cheaper price.

With Galloni and Harding’s scores it’s rather more on the nose but only just, overall Liv-ex judged it a “fair” release.

The estate’s well-respected white wine was also out at £1,185 p/cs, which despite being 1% more than the 2017 was on release is nonetheless 1% less than that wine costs now.

From the Mouton Rothschild stable meanwhile came d’Armailhac at £420 per dozen, 8.2% more than the 2017 was offered for (£388).

Scores have been good but a little broadly spread. Suckling was the most generous with a 93-94 range but Perrotti-Brown, despite calling it “wonderfully opulent”, rated it 91-93 and Galloni was a step further back on 90-92 though he liked its “nuance” and “aromatic depth”.

In back vintages the 2014 at under £400 a case might be worth tracking down with 92 points from Neal Martin but this again looks pretty reasonable.

There were a smattering of other releases this morning as well including St Emilion estate Beau Séjour Bécot.

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