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Full steam ahead for en primeur releases

More of Bordeaux’ big guns have released their 2023 vintages this week as the campaign gathers steam, with the ‘exceptional’ Château Haut-Brion down a whopping 39.5% on last year’s price. But elsewhere, the big decreases do seem to be drying up.

The week has seen the flow of en primeur releases out of Bordeaux continue this week, led by  Pessac’s 98-100 point scoring “exceptional” Château Haut-Brion 2023 on Tuesday (14 May). This was released at €312 per bottle ex-négociant –  39.5% less than the opening price in 2022 – while it is being offered to the the international trade for £3,780 per case of 12 – a 38.8% decrease.

From Pessac again, Château La Mission Haut-Brion 2023, along with its second wine La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion, has been released. The grand vin opened at €180 per bottle ex-négociant, down 31.8% on the 2022 opening price, while La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion 2023 came out at €42 per bottle ex-négociant (a 36.4% reduction on the 2022 release of €66 per bottle.

Another of the big stars, Château Cheval Blanc in Saint Émilion, was also out yesterday (13 May), but at €384 per bottle ex-négociant, this was only a 18.3% decrease on  the €470 per bottle asked for last year’s opening price. According to Antonio Galloni  of Vinous a ‘silky, elegant and exceptionally polished’ wine, a case of 12 of this vintage is also now available to the international trade at £4,680, comparing to £5,760 per case in 2022. As Liv-ex points out however, there are other vintages available on the market at a lower price, notably the 2020 vintage.

 St Julien‘s Château Léoville Barton 2023 was released at €55.80 per bottle ex-négociant on Monday, again a smaller decrease of the 13.1% of the 2022 vintage.

Others to hit the market include Château Lynch-Bages 2023, released at €72 per bottle ex-négociant, down 31.8% on the 2022 opening price. The international trade is offering it at £840 per case of 12, which is around 34.4% less than the 2022’s opening price of £1,280 a case.  Scoring 93-95 points from Neal Martin this “excellent” wine offers “reasonable value” Liv-ex. said. Meanwhile two other wines from the stable, Blanc de Lynch-Bages 2023, and Echo de Lynch-Bages 2023 have been released for €42 and €25.2 per bottle ex-négociant respectively.

Château Ormes de Pez 2023 also hit the market on Tuesday, out at €16.80 per bottle ex-négociant, a decrease of 20% on the last year’s release.

Today’s releases included Château Grand-Puy Ducasse 2023, released at €23.4 per bottle ex-négociant, which marks a 20.7% decrease on the 2022 release.  It is being offered by the international trade for £288 per case of 12, however Liv-ex noted that the 2020, 2019 and 2018 vintages offered better value.

Meanwhile the “classy” Château Malescot St. Exupéry 2023 – “a more classically hewn” vintage than the 2022, according to Neal Martin – has been released at €32.50 per bottle ex-négociant, down 27.8% on the 2022 opening price of €45. This makes it one of the least expensive vintages of the past decade currently on the market, and it is being offered by the international trade for £390 per case of 12.

Others include Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 2023, released at €120 per bottle ex-négociant, down 33.7% on the 2022 opening price and Château Ausone. This is down 23.5% on last year, at €432 per bottle ex-négociant. Meanwhile the international release price of £5,280 per case of 12 equals the 2019’s opening price.  And while it is one of the more expensive vintages on the market, the fact that Lisa Perrotti Brown MW gave it a 98-100 score amid an impressed critical response, this may help it be more attractive.


In terms of the other whites: Château Haut-Brion Blanc 2023 has been released at €540 per bottle ex-négociant, down 10.0% on the €600 opening price last year. Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc 2023 also hit the campaign trail, released at €432 per bottle ex-négociant, down 10% – but the 2018 and 2019 offered better value, Liv-ex said.

Meanwhile Château Climens in Barsac, which changed ownership in 2022, has been released the 2023 vintage with a RRP of £1,290 per case of 12, making it one of the most expensive vintages available on the market. Given however that the estate didn’t produce any wine in 2017 or 2021 due to frosts and, and the 2018 vintage was affected by mildew, this is hardly surprising!

See here for Colin Hay’s appellation analysis for Margaux, St JulienPauillacSt Estèphe, Saint Émilion, Pomerol and Pessac-Léognan (rouge) and the white wines of Pessac-Léognan, Graves, Barsac and Sauternes.

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