2013 Bordeaux 24/4 – Haut Brion, La Mission, & Co

Today sees the release of the Haut Brion stable, including the highly prized whites of both la Mission and Haut Brion which, if they are of interest to you, need snapping up.

Haut Brion itself is the same price (£2470) as Margaux and Mouton, but is the closest to other vintages available in the market. La Mission has come down a long way from the prices of the last four vintages, but then the market has regarded the prices of the last four vintages with increasing disbelief, so it rather needed to. Clarence is the cheapest second wine of a First Growth available in the market, but it is also the one with little following in the market that is crucial for these wines: China. La Chapelle de la Mission and Haut Brion’s Saint Emilion Quintus and its second wine Dragon are also available, but again have yet really to develop a following.

2013 CHÂTEAU HAUT BRION Blanc Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan (£3300 per six bottles)

2013 CHÂTEAU LA MISSION HAUT BRION BLANC Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan (£2650 per six bottles)

2013 LA CLARTÉ DE HAUT BRION Graves (£660 per doz)

2013 CHÂTEAU HAUT BRION 1er Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan (£2470 doz / £1235/6)

2013 CHÂTEAU LA MISSION HAUT BRION Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan (£1320 doz)

2013 LE CLARENCE DE HAUT BRION Pessac-Léognan (£550 doz)

2013 LA CHAPELLE DE LA MISSION Pessac-Léognan (£330 doz)

2013 CHÂTEAU QUINTUS Grand Cru Saint Emilion (£660 doz)

2013 LE DRAGON DE QUINTUS Grand Cru Saint Emilion (£170 doz)

All prices are quoted in bond and offered subject to the TERMS of our 2013 primeur offer

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2013 Bordeaux 23/04 – Grand Puy Lacoste, Haut Batailley, Canon la Gaffelière, Malartic-Lagravière

2013 Grand Puy Lacoste (£340) was voted one of the best value wines in a poll around the wine trade before the campaign began this year, but at around this price there are several mature and drinkable vintages around the market so this seems to have been a bit premature. Even so, in terms of bang for buck this remains one of the solid values of the Bordeaux scene, as does its stablemate Haut Batailley (£235), and its second wine Lacoste Borie (£155), so well done to Xavier Borie and his team for the wines even if we don’t love the pricing relative to mature vintages.

other wines out today include:-

2013 CHÂTEAU MALARTIC LAGRAVIÈRE Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan (£240)

2013 CHÂTEAU MARQUIS DE TERME 4ème Cru Classé Margaux (£235)

2013 CHÂTEAU LAFON ROCHET 4ème Cru Classé Saint Estèphe (£235)

2013 CHÂTEAU CANON LA GAFFELIÈRE Grand Cru Classé Saint Emilion (£410)

2013 CLOS FOURTET 1er Grand Cru Classé Saint Emilion (£480)

2013 CHÂTEAU LA MONDOTTE Saint Emilion (£1090)

2013 CLOS DE L’ORATOIRE Grand Cru Classé Saint Emilion (£215)

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2013 Bordeaux 22/4 – Margaux, Meyney, d’Issan, Brane Cantenac, Troplong Mondot

Today’s releases include Château Margaux (£2400) which we tasted well, and like Mouton Rothschild it sits comfortably in the market below any available vintage. Its second wine Pavillon Rouge is also out at £795, while we have a very very small volume of Pavillon Blanc (£540 per six bottles).

The other releases include Troplong Mondot (£570), d’Issan (£290), Corbin (£185) – an attractive Saint Emilion to have in the cellar, but not a compelling buy this year.

One we do lightly recommend having tasted it several times with similar notes, is Château Meyney (£185). Meyney has a great terroir, the continuation of the gravel and sand bank of the Gironde north of Château Montrose, and this northerly area had significantly less rain and none of the rot problems that affected so many Médoc properties in 2013. Whether drafting in Hubert de Bouard (of Château Angélus) as consultant late last year can really have made that significant a difference is hard to fathom, but there is no doubt that the wine that Meyney showed at the primeur tastings makes it one of their real successes.

Meyney’s neighbour Phélan Ségur (£230) is also out today, but failed to excite in the same way at the tastings. As Neal Martin says, “I will seek to re-taste this after bottling because it does often improve. Fingers crossed!”.

Finally this afternoon brings us Brane-Cantenac (£295), a wine which again we tasted several times and always quite well.

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2013 Bordeaux Releases – 17/04 – Mouton Rothschild & Co. Palmer, Angelus & Pavie

It is business as usual in Bordeaux today as the French don’t take tomorrow off – and the primeur releases have continued in the same vein; today there is again very little to get too excited about sadly and further evidence of the ‘disconnect’ between the Chateaux and the consumer when it comes to pricing.  There have been some big names like Mouton-RothschildAngelus and Chateau Palmer out today and some of our old favourites like Chateau Talbot or Clerc Milon, but it is hard to get overly excited.

Mouton is priced at a relatively interesting level and it sits well in the market, well below any other available vintage. It has to be said that we tasted it quite badly as you will see from our note – others reviewed it better, so it is important to see their notes here Mouton-Rothschild.

Chateau Talbot is usually a banker for us, we enjoy recommending it as a sensible buy en primeur, but sadly we did not taste it brilliantly and cannot shout too loudly this year.

Chateau Palmer out today for £1650 is really pretty good this year and is in a tiny quantity but they told us when we tasted that having made only 3,500 cases of it they were not about to drop their price – and if no one wanted to buy it now, so be it – they would keep it. “We view it more as an Alter Ego campaign”. Alter Ego was very pretty, but at £395 they may need to campaign quite hard.

Angelus and Pavie - with their new status have had another rush of blood to the head, both out at £1790. This is £181.50 per bottle incl. VAT a bottle, a price which would make me think twice were they 15 years old and in one of our shops. Actually it would make me think something like ‘golly, are there really that many very rich people in the world who are also prepared to pay this much for these now? I think I’ll have a Burgundy, or something Italian’.

You can find the full list of available wines so far here – Recent Releases.

We still feel that only a few have got it right this year and we continue to recommend  Calon-Segur, Capbern-Gasqueton, Lynch Bages and even Lafite in the reds – which we feel stand up better than the rest in terms of value.

And let’s not forget the really very good wines from Sauternes & Barsac, we particularly liked the Barsac wines this year and Climens stands out as a grand wine at a sensible price, while the two Doisys offer remarkable value - but these are all well worth considering if you’re a fan of stickies.

It seems clear that this is not going to be the year to put ‘en primeur’ Bordeaux back on track as an exciting opportunity for buyers, but who knows what will happen the other side of Easter.

We all wish you a very happy, long weekend!

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