Bordeaux 2018: La Mission – should you choose to accept it – is out

The steady tempo of en primeur releases has upped a notch in recent days with Pichon Baron, Cos d’Estournel, Haut-Bailly and now La Mission Haut-Brion all out and indeed sold out already in some instances.

Yesterday (4 June) saw Cos d’Estournel, Pichon Baron and Haut-Bailly release while La Mission Haut-Brion is the headline opener this morning (5 June).

The key scores and prices for each release are as follows (all prices in euros are ex-négociant and per bottle, cases are of 12 bottles):

  • Cos d’Estournel – €144, up 33% on 2017. £1,776 per case ex-London. Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW: 97-100; James Suckling: 98-99; Antonio Galloni: 97-100
  • Pichon Baron – €114, up 18%. £1,404 ex-London. LPB: 97-99; JS:97-98; AG: 94-97
  • Haut-Bailly – €84, up 16%. £1,044 ex-London. LPB: 96-98+; JS: 97-98; AG: 94-97
  • La Mission Haut-Brion – €252, up 5%. £3,000 ex-London. LPB: 98-100; JS: 97-98; AG: 90-93.

As can be seen from the scores, these four wines come with some fairly serious critical approval although the disparity between Perrotti-Brown, Suckling and Galloni on La Mission is intriguing. Galloni seemed to have some reservations and noted it would be “interesting to see what develops with élevage”.

With that note then, with Liv-ex metrics, you might see La Mission as being a little toppy. Taking Perrotti-Brown’s more positive score into account (and the château management clearly did) then this is a must-have.

And some buyers have clearly seen it that way. Farr Vintners is indicating on its website that it has already sold out, but, as director Stephen Browett told db, allocations were very small, particularly for merchants that didn’t take much in 2017 when the wine was widely considered overpriced.

This release will also have been helped by the fact that, at the upper end of its scores, the 2018 has been released at a decent enough discount to the 2016, 2015, 2010, 2009 and 2005 vintages.

As Browett said: “The price of the 2018 is only a fraction up on the 2017 price and significantly down on the 2016 price which makes it look like a very good deal. Especially so with a 98-100 WA score.

“The end result is very small La Mission allocations, big demand and a sold out wine.”

If Galloni’s reservations have some validity however then having a trawl for the sub-£2,000 2014, 2012 and 2008 vintages might not be a bad idea.

Often matching the prices of the first growths, La Mission’s price might be a bell weather for what we can expect from Mouton, Lafite et al. The La Mission Blanc, second label Chapelle and Quintus (the St Emilion wine from the Domaine Dillon stable) are also out.

As for the others, Cos at the same price as its 2016 which has 100 points from Neal Martin, looked a bit tighter though Wine Lister suggested its renown and the strength of its 2018 might carry it through.

Pichon Baron was also very punchy. As Liv-ex said, if you trust Perrotti-Brown’s opinion then it might be worth a punt. Corney & Barrow’s email to customers said it was “disappointed with the price” because the team had liked the wine.

Both Liv-ex and Wine Lister suggested the 2015 at a 25% discount was worth keeping an eye out for.

Haut-Bailly was released at a high price, higher than might have been expected and hoped for, the 2018 being almost as expensive as the current market prices for the 2010 and a little higher than the 2015 and 2016.

On the other hand volumes were 50% lower than in 2017 which partly explains the price.

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