Bordeaux 2018: Right Bank bonanza

This morning has seen a flurry of top flight Right Bank releases with Ausone, l’Evangile and l’Eglise Clinet all out.

St Emilion grand cru classé ‘A’ Ausone is an interesting release. The 2018 is out at €565 per bottle ex-négociant (up 17% on the 2017) and so being offered by the trade for £7,000 per dozen (if you’re lucky enough to find a full 12).

Praise was high, Antonio Galloni was all in, scoring it 97-100 and calling it “off the charts”. Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW also gave it a potential 100-points, saying it was a “heart-stopping beauty” and James Suckling likewise called it an “incredible beauty” and gave it 99-100 points.

On those scores therefore, today’s release makes sense if you can afford it and a couple of merchants have already posted ‘sold out’ notes on their websites so their customers clearly agreed although quantities are sure to have been very limited too.

The 2016 is only a little more expensive and has a 99-point score from Neal Martin but the 2015, 2010 and 2009 which will all have slightly inferior scores should the 2018 come good on those three 100-point markers are comfortably more expensive ad while there are plenty of other vintages that cost a lot less, none have quite the same upper quality ceiling.

Pomerol estate Evangile is out at €180 p/b so is being offered at £2,250 p/cs. Perrotti-Brown and Suckling were big fans with scores of 97-99 and 98-99 respectively with notes referencing its “beauty”, “polish” and “seductiveness”.

Galloni, despite saying it was a wine that was “shaping up to be exceptional” scored it a little lower at 94-97 and, as he said with Pavie, mentioned his desire to taste it again in bottle.

The 2018 comes in as one of the most expensive vintages available to buy since 2005. If following Perrotti-Brown or Suckling’s scores then there may be a good reason to buy but the 2010 has a 98 score from Robert Parker and is currently available at just under £2,000 per dozen.

If it’s more in the Galloni ballpark then the 2015 and 2014 come across as potentially very attractive pick-ups to look out for.

Volumes are small however as production was severely affected by mildew and dipped to just 20hl/ha and volumes released are down 60%.

Wine Lister noted that with Saskia de Rothschild making Evangile in particular her own (in addition to being the new head of Domaines Barons de Rothschild), this is an estate potentially on the cusp of big things and suggested the 2018 was thus, “one to get your hands on now”.

And finally Eglise Clinet. Released at €210 p/b (up 25% on 2017) so with a case price of £2,600 per dozen, it comes in as one of the more expensive vintages currently available.

Suckling gave it a 99-100 point score but Perrotti-Brown and Galloni both gave it an initial upper score of 98.

With those scores in mind the 2018 looks a little expensive as the 2016 ad 2015 are rather cheaper and have strong scores from Martin.

Volumes are small, 40% lower than last year, but while this may help it sell through, it doesn’t seem quite as compelling as Ausone or Evangile.

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