Bordeaux 2018: Super Second madness

After a headline release from Léoville Las Cases this morning, two more highly anticipated ‘super seconds’ were released in its wake but their prices have left some feeling rather deflated.

Ducru Beaucaillou and Pichon Comtesse were the wines in question but while critical appraisal was extremely high in both cases and many were anticipating their release, the opening prices appear to have softened that enthusiasm somewhat.

Ducru was out at €139 per bottle, up 16% on the 2017 release (and equal to the 2016) which means an ex-London case price of £1,728.

James Suckling and Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW’s scores were among the highest, both with upper-end scores of 99 points.

Antonio Galloni, as he often is, was a little bit more cautious with an upper score of 98 but lower end of 95.

As usual, if going by Suckling and Perrotti-Brown’s uppermost scores then there’s some justification of the price but rather less so if Galloni’s scores are considered.

It’s certainly one of the better rated wines the property has produced in recent years but the very highly rated 2016 and 2010 wines sit at a discount and Wine Lister thought that the decision to release at the same price as the 2016 was “ambitious”.

Pauillac estate Pichon Comtesse has been gaining a reputation for seriously outstanding wines over the past few vintages and 2018 did not disappoint.

Rated 95-98 by Galloni, 97-99 by Perrotti-Brown and 98-99 by Suckling it has identical scores to the Ducru.

It’s also a mite cheaper at £1,656 per dozen…the only kicker is it’s also coming into the market as the most expensive wine the estate has ever offered.

So, swings and roundabouts.

If the wine comes good on the more effusive praise sent its way (a “highwater mark of the vintage,” thought Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth) then collector’s may be inclined to buy and Wine Lister suggested that good feeling towards the brand “may just carry this release through”.

Corney & Barrow in its message to clients said it had been strongly anticipating both releases but “our enthusiasm has weakened given their price,” and while loyal followers may be interested, “overall they are not very compelling”.

Smith Haut-Lafitte’s red and white were also released this afternoon at £81.50 per bottle and £85 p/b respectively. Volumes for both are down are nearly 50% on last year.

READ MORE: Las Cases poses nuclear option

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