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Bordeaux 2018: The pace quickens

Calon Segur and Carmes de Haut-Brion headed up a new round of releases this week as the campaign’s gears really begin to turn.

The end of last week and the beginning of this week have seen a number of fairly high profile releases from the

The headline releases and their prices are:

  • Clos du Marquis – from the Léoville Las Cases stable. Up 10% on last year’s release price and offered at £465 per dozen. Stock released is 50% less than last year.
  • Beychevelle – perhaps not realising Monday was a Bank Holiday in the UK the Saint Julien fifth growth was out at £720 p/cs.
  • Carmes de Haut-Brion – a hot ticket label of the moment, one of the 2017 vintage’s star performers. Out at €69 a bottle ex-négociant (up 27% on last year) mean it has an ex-London price of £828 p/cs.
  • Calon Segur – the most expensive wine of the latest releases from a purely price-based metric. Released at €72 p/b ex-négoce, up 20% on last year, so offered ex-London at £864 p/cs.
  • Haut-Batailley – another estate many have their eye on following its acquisition by the Cazes family in 2017. The price of the 2017 vintage was a significant step up from past releases. The 2018 is being offered for £520 p/cs.

Other releases include Cantemerle. Pavie Macquin and Malescot St Exupéry.

It’s a fairly broad church of releases, with prices ranging from £400 to just over £800 per case.

Arguably the prices have, for the most part, been well pitched however.

Clos Marquis has had some very good scores but perhaps is one of the weaker propositions when you compare it to the 2016 vintage for example, a vintage which is a touch cheaper and a better Wine Advocate score than Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW or Antonio Galloni gave the 2018.

Beychevelle looks well judged, being more expensive than the 2017 but costing less than any other vintage back to 2005 and with better scores than many of its pre-2015 wines as well.

Carmes de Haut-Brion likewise is very well positioned. Both James Suckling and Galloni gave its 2018 potentially better scores than its 2016 got from TWA. Only the 2012 looks somewhat attractive if you’re looking at back vintages but this is an estate ‘getting it right’ at the moment and will probably be popular.

Calon Segur is another interesting one. Potentially ‘the best’ wine produced in St Estèphe this vintage and Capbern from its stable was a strong seller last week. Perrotti-Brown and Galloni have lavished some top scores and notes upon its still-maturing head and it was ranked eighth ‘best’ wine of the vintage by Liv-ex’s members. Scores place it as one of the estate’s top vintages and its release price sits very favourably in relation to the 2016 and 2010.

Haut Batailley, as mentioned, saw its prices adjusted last campaign as the Cazes family seek to reposition the Pauillac classed growth. Whether that pays off or not is one to reserve comment on for now. The 2018 price is one of the more expensive out there, though, arguably, £500-odd per case isn’t bank-breaking. Collectors used to the lower pricing of the past may grumble and there are some highly-scored back vintages in 2012, 2014 and 2015 that are under £400 a case which may be worth making enquiries into but the 2018 certainly has scores which seem to reflect the winemaking prowess the Cazes family will bring to the property.

All in all some fairly meaty looking releases – at least on paper.

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