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Bordeaux 2021: ‘glorious’ Margaux and ‘white wine of the vintage’ Pavillon Blanc released

The en primeur campaign is off to a swinging start this week, with seven more release in the last 24 hours, including an “utterly captivating” Gruaud Larose, a “glorious” Margaux and the most expensive Pavillon Blanc available on the market. 

Yesterday afternoon saw the release of St Julien estate Gruaud Larose 2021 at €62.40 per bottle ex-négociant, up 8.3% on the 2020’s opening price (€57.60). Awarding it 95-97+ points, Colin Hay called it “fabulously intense, deep dark and utterly captivating”, “staggeringly brilliant and definitely one of the wines of the vintage”. However, Neal Martin was less enamoured, giving it only 90-92 points, less than Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW (91-93 points) who liked the “impressive quiet intensity that really works” and William Kelley of Wine Advocate (94-95+ points) who argued that it would rivalled or surpassed “more propitious vintages such as 2018”. However, potential buyers might like to consider the 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019 vintages, which Liv-ex said offered better value – without the 2021’s 23% premium.

Also released today was St Julien’s Château Gloria 2021 at €26.40 per bottle ex-négociant, unchanged from 2020’s opening price.

Another star of the vintage, Margaux 2021 came out this morning at €420 per bottle ex-négociant, down 2.8% on 2020’s opening price (€432) or  £5,100 per case of 12.  A “glorious and gracious wine of ethereal beauty and elegance characterised by its radiantly bright pure fruit” according to Colin Hay, this edged out the Gruaud Larose with a score of 96-98 points. However, volumes were down by around 20%,  and Liv-ex pointed out that there was better value to be had from past vintages, notably the 2012 and 2017 vintages, which is available for a 16.9% discount, or even the 2016, which comes at at 15.5% premium, “but still offers value”.

Also from Margaux came Pavillon Rouge 2021, released at €138 per bottle ex-négociant, unchanged from 2020’s opening price, along with the “wonderful”  Pavillon Blanc 2021 at €240 per bottle ex-négociant, up 33.3% on 2020’s opening price (€180). This makes it the most expensive vintage of Pavillon Blanc currently available, Liv-ex data noted, with the majority of vintages since 2005 available for under £2,500 per case of 12. This is due to the low yields, which saw only  52% of a harvest rescued by Chateau Margaux’s sprinkler system.  However. as Colin Hay argued, the whites in 2021 are “unique and a truly exceptional vintage” – and this was, for him, “the white wine of the vintage”, giving it a score of 96-98+ points. Antoni Galloni was similarly enthusiastic, calling it was “one of the finest Pavillon Blancs in recent memory”, with a barrel range of 94-96 points (the same as William Kelley) but below that of Jane Anson, who gave it 97 points. 

Similarly, the Saint-Pierre 2021 released this morning “doesn’t disappoint”. The St Emilion estate releasing the 2021 at €38.40 per bottle ex-négociant, unchanged from 2020’s opening price. Hay noted that this wine, which he gave 92-94+ points  was “still somewhat under the radar” and therefore represented “excellent value” – although Liv-ex disagreed, noting that the 2017, and 2012 were available for less.

Meanwhile Saint-Émilion estate Clos Fourtet 2021 has been released at €78 per bottle ex-négociant, unchanged from 2020’s opening price and an “elegant expressions” Haut-Bailly 2021 has been released at €96 per bottle ex-négociant, unchanged from 2020’s opening price. However, with volumes down 60% due to weather-related losses, Liv-ex pointed out that this was in effect was offered with a 40% premium to its ‘fair market value’ compared with others already on the market, noting that the 2014 and 2011 vintages, were available for less, and the higher-scored 2019 also offered “fair value”. 


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