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En primeur see big guns released: Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Ausone and Palmer

The en primeur campaign has picked up pace up with a slew of top estate releasing the 2022 vintage in the last few days, including a punchily-priced Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Château Palmer and Ausone.

Chateau Palmer in the Margaux appellation of Bordeaux

First out of the gate this morning was Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2022 – one of the top ten wines from this year’s vintage, according to a recent en primeur survey of Liv-ex members.

The 2022 vintage has been released at €108 per bottle ex-négociant – a rise of 34.3% on the 2021’s opening price – and is being offered by the international trade for £1,320 per case of 12. This marks a 39.2% on the 2021’s opening price of £948 per case of 12,  however with critics lining up to applaud the wine and this vintage being one of the highest-scoring Carmes Haut Brion on the market, it might “represent an exciting opportunity for those able to secure an allocation” Liv-ex noted.

Yohan Castaing of Wine Advocate called it “one of the most singular, characterful wines being produced in the region today”, while  Neal Martin at Vinous described it as “the best Les Carmes that Guillaume Pouthier has overseen” (while pointing out that he was “not inclined toward hyperbole”).

Other big guns that have been released onto the market include an “astonishing” Château Palmer 2022, at €295 per bottle ex-négociant, marking a 22.9% increase on last year’s opening price of €240 per bottle.  It is available to the international trade for £3,576 per case of 12, making it one of the estate’s most expensive vintages on the secondary market.

However, Antonio Galloni of Vinous called it “a magnificent wine in every way”, and one that was “one of the most surprising wines of the year”, giving it a barrel range of 96-98 points, while Neal Martin advised that it should “gather dust for at least a decade”, before being enjoyed.

db’s Bordeaux correspondent Colin Hay scored it 97-99 calling it “brilliantly dynamic, fresh, vivid and energetic”, and one of the truly great wines of the Margaux appellation.

Château Ausone 2022, now in its second year since withdrawing from the Saint-Émilion classification in 2021,  came out on Friday at a punchy €565 per bottle ex-négociant. This marks  rise of 13% on 2021’s opening price according to Liv-ex, and the vintage is available at £6,800 per case of 12.

Critics scores varied, from William Kelley at the Wine Advocate’s 94-96+ points, Neal Martin of Vinous’s barrel range of 95-97.5, and James Suckling’s 97-98 and Jean-Marc Quarin’s 99 points

db’s Colin Hay named it as one of wines of the appellation, scoring it 98-100, calling it “one of the best ever wines I have ever had the privilege to taste en primeur” and one that “perfectly encapsulates the vintage in St Emilion”, a wine of “incredible potential that will age at a glacial pace”.

Mid-tier wines

Other wines to have been released include another ex-St Emilion estate,  Château Canon la Gaffeliere 2022 yesterday, “a truly excellent wine that works for me on every level”, according to db’s Colin Hay, who awarded it a barrel range 94-96+. It was released at €64.80 per bottle ex-négociant – a rise of 20% on 2021’s opening price, and is available for £684 per case of 12, an 18.8% increase on the 2021’s opening price of £576 a case. This makes it one of the more expenseve la Gaffelier releases, and as Liv-ex points out, there are several options for good value to be found among the most recent back vintages.

Château Clerc Milon 2022 in Pauillac has also been released at €64.80 per bottle ex-négociant, a rise of 14.9% on the 2021 release price. Hay called “more floral than usual and incredibly refined”, “with a striking freshness and a vivid raw energy” awarding it 94-96 points. It is also availabe to the international trade for  £792 per case of 12, an increase of 15.8% on the 2021’s opening price of £684 per 12×75.


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