Bordeaux 2018: ‘Unforgettable’ wine – forgettable prices?

The 2018 wines from Chanel-owned Rauzan-Ségla and Canon came through this morning, the price increases on the 2017 were hefty but will their brand appeal and limited allocations see them through?

The Margaux and St Emilion properties are owned by fashion house Chanel and have become firm favourites in recent years not just for the quality of their output but also for their ‘fair’ prices.

There may be question marks around at least one of the duo today however – Rauzan-Ségla.

Out at €72 per bottle ex-négociant, up 36% on the 2017 release price – it has an ex-London case price of £900 per dozen, putting it at the same level as its 2015 which was a famously good vintage in Margaux.

The 2018 has received high praise and for those who follow the scores of Antonio Galloni, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW or James Suckling who have all scored it in the 97-100 point bracket then it will surely be of interest.

As Liv-ex’s members voted it the third best value wine of the vintage with an expected release price of under £600 a case however, it may look a little toppy.

There are some tempting-looking back vintages such as the 2012 that might pique buyers’ interest if they know of any available but this a ‘brand on the move’ with a potential 100-points from Galloni and allocations are tight this year (there was significant mildew damage) which will probably drive sales regardless.

Rauzan’s cousin Canon meanwhile is on slightly surer footing with a release price of £1,044 per dozen.

It’s a fairly substantial increase on the 2017 release but the scores are very good: 94-97 from Galloni; 97-99 from Perrotti-Brown and 17.5 from Julia Harding MW.

It’s a wine that “bristles with energy and tension” remarked Galloni.

Despite the opening gambit it sits at a discount to the 2015 and 2016. The 2014 and 2011 vintages at under £800 might be worth seeking out but Liv-ex judged the 2018 a ‘fair’ release price and, like Rauzan, it is being offered on allocation and is a brand of the moment so it should sell.

Gruaud Larose was also out this morning at £684 a case which is definitely ambitious and going more off the positive reviews from Suckling and Perrotti-Brown than Galloni’s rather more stoic appraisal (“inky and jammy”).

This is probably one of the bigger missteps of the day if not the campaign so far and it’s hard to see it shifting any major volumes.

Talbot released late yesterday afternoon at £518 a case was also rather eyebrow raising but the scores put it as one of the better if not even ‘the best’ the estate has produced. Buyers may start asking if there’s any 2016 available however at under £500 a case and a 92-point score from Neal Martin.

And finally, Château du Tertre was out at a fairly pricey £360 per dozen. Again, Suckling’s 94-95 point bracket may have been used to justify that but Perrotti-Brown and Galloni were more in the 89-91/2 point area and at that level the 2017, 2016 and 2012 might be rather more interesting for buyers to consider.

Wine Lister did not think there was a particularly strong case for buying either du Tertre or Gruaud Larose at this point. Part of the problem is that both properties have chosen to release at the same price as their 2016s when both of those wines have declined since offered in 2017.

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