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Bordeaux 2021: Château Angélus, Cheval Blanc and Pontet-Canet release 2021 vintage

After a slow start, a slew of Bordeaux most famous estates have released their 2021 vintage first and second labels, including Angélus, Cheval Blanc and Pontet-Canet. 

As widely expected, the releases that started to trickle through before Prowein, are becoming something of a flood now the Dusseldorf wine show is over. The last week has seen a number of estates debut the 2021 vintage, and as anticipated by the trade, pricing has been firm, broadly in line with last year, although some chateaux have felt confident in raising their prices, while others are not in a position to do so.

Among the chateaux launching at a premium to the 2020 opening price is Cheval Blanc, which has released its 2021 at €390 per bottle ex-négociant, – a 2.6% rise on 2020’s opening price of €380 – while the international trade if offering it at £4,740 per 12×75 SEP. According to Liv-ex, this compares favourably with the current market prices of the 2018, 2019 and 2020, with the leading critics awarding strong scores for ‘one of the leading wines of the Right Bank in this vintage”, as Neal Martin of Vinous commented

db‘s Bordeaux correspondent Colin Hay awarded it 96-98 pointsnoting that the blend was “close to the historical blend of the grand vin” a culmination of a decade-long project, which he described as vibrant, bright, dynamic and “almost explosive in the mid-palate – with a lift, energy and dynamism that can only come from the natural vibrancy of the vineyard and the way it is managed”.

St Emilion heavy hitter Angélus 2021 has also been released up on last year’s opening price, at €265 per bottle ex-négociant, up 1.9% on the 2020’s opening price of €260. It is also being offered by the international trade for £3,120 per 12×75. Hay called it an “incredibly impressive, archetypally Angélus and, certainly at the time I tasted it, by far the best wine of the appellation” and awarded it 94-96+ points.  However, Liv-ex pointed out that the Angélus 2014, 2015 and 2016 vintages had several years in bottle and are currently available in the market for less than the 2021. 

La Lagune 2021 has been released at €27 per bottle ex-négociant, up 2.6% from the 2020’s opening price (€26.40), with the international trade offering it for £320 per 12×75. Hay scored it 91-93+points, describing it as “a very good showing from La Lagune, continuing on from the fabulous 2020″. However, Liv-ex argued that the 2019 and 2017 vintages look better value in relation to today’s release.

Meanwhile Langoa Barton 2021 in St Julien released the 2021 vintage at €29.40 per bottle ex-négociant, unchanged from the 2020’s opening price.  Hay said it had ” good depth and density” to the pure fruit, although the mid-palate was “a little less defined and precise than with the leading handful of wines of the appellation”, hence its lower score 93-95 points. The 2021 however is 4.1% more expensive than the 2020 vintage’s current market price,s currently available for £340 (and which Neal Martin scored higher than the 2021, with a score of 92-94 points versus xxx). 

Following the trend established by the early chateaux to release, Pontet-Canet 2021 in Pauillac has been released unchanged from 2020’s opening price at €74.40 per bottle ex-négociant. Giving it a score of 92-94, Hay described its “impressive breadth here and a nice gently outlined structure”.  Similiarly Haut-Bages Libéral 2021 has been released at €26.40 per bottle ex-négociant, unchanged from 2020’s opening price, along with Cru Bourgeois property Sociando Mallet 2021 in Haut-Médoc, which has been released at €22.20 per bottle ex-négociant, down 2.6% on the 2020’s opening price (€22.80).

However both Leoville Barton 2021 and Leoville Las Cases have been released down on last year’s opening price.  The “truly great” Leoville Barton 2021 was released 7% down on last year’s opening price, at €55.80 per bottle ex-négociant, (compared to €60 in 2020.. Offered by the international trade for £669 per 12×75 – less than the 2018, 2019 and 2020 vintages but slightly more than some physical vintages with similar scores (such as the 2014 and 2017) – while Leoville Las Cases 2021 was released 14% below last year’s opening price, at €169 per bottle ex-négociant, compared to €198 in 2020. It is offered by the international trade for £1,950 per 12×75. Colin Hay described this as his ‘wine of the appellation”, applauding the team for working with the characteristics of the vintage – it has only 5% Merlot in the blend – resulting in a “cool, precise, elegant, suave and sophisticated” wine that he said merited 96-98 points.

Read more:

See here for db’s en primeur vintage report, with appellation-by-appellation reviews on MargauxSt JulienPessac-Leognan & Graves, St Estephe & Haut-Medoc, Pauillac, Pomerol, St Emilion and Sauternes.

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