Bordeaux can be a rather confusing and confounding market and never more so than at 'primeur' time. It is very easy to switch off, and many of us do, with just some of the big names and wild prices making the headlines.
In what promises to be a busy day on Bordeaux's 'place', things have started briskly. The biggest name so far is CHÂTEAU COS D'ESTOURNEL 2ème Cru Classé Saint Estèphe (£1250). This is quite toppy and it's hard not to see Pichon Baron as a more compelling buy if it was a choice of 'one or the other' at this level.
With Pomerol and Margaux as two of the most successful appellations of 2015, we have two releases of note this morning, but the big one is probably Palmer, second only to Margaux itself in Margaux, and indeed to the other firsts in the Médoc.
"This Haut Bailly is up there with the 2009 and 2010 - a bravura Pessac-Léognan" (Neal Martin in the Wine Advocate) Pessac-Léognan performed well in 2015, and 2015 CHÂTEAU HAUT BAILLY at £720 has the most amazing set of consistently high scores from the critics.
Out this morning is en primeur classic 2015 CHÂTEAU LYNCH BAGES 5ème Cru Classé Pauillac at £890 per case of 12 bottles. Creamy-rich, lovely top-note of fine red fruit. The density is all here, and this very much does what Lynch bages does. Big tannins, but all nicely wrapped in fruit and smooth body.
This week will almost certainly see the final wines released from the 2015 Bordeaux primeurs, so likely to be a busy one. Kicking off with one of the wines of the vintage 2015 CHÂTEAU PICHON LONGUEVILLE BARON at the fairly feisty price of £995 per case IB.
Out this afternoon is the hugely impressive CHÂTEAU LARCIS DUCASSE (£480). Antonio Galloni declared it 'One of the stars of the vintage - 94-97 points' and we loved it. For those who missed out on the (very) popular Château Canon, this wine from Nicolas Thienpont is one to consider.
This afternoon has brought the releases of our perennial favourite in the sheer deliciousness stakes, 2015 CHÂTEAU HAUT BATAILLEY as well as its senior stablemate 2015 CHÂTEAU GRAND PUY LACOSTE . Both these were showing well and confirming their places as some of Pauillac's most gorgeous wines.
Yesterday was the opening of the new tourist attraction in Bordeaux, the Cité du Vin, so nothing happened in the way of releases until late in the day when the two hugely rated wines from the Chanel group, Canon and Rauzan Ségla (£570) were released.
Bank Holiday Monday saw just one release, with the Pomerol Château Rouget coming out at £330. Given Neal Martin's 92-94 note in the Wine Advocate, this might not seem dotty, but the 2010 (RP 93) is available for the same price. All the same we liked it enough for it to rate a in the vintage.
'This is a dream vintage for sweet wines' Tim Atkin MW Lea & Sandeman offers the opportunity to buy a mixed case of 2015 Sauternes en primeur, as this is enough for many people and allows a bit of variety, and to make it easy to buy a selection of these gloriously fine wines.