CHÂTEAU L'IF

2020 Grand Cru Saint Emilion

EN PRIMEUR

Market Insight: L'If has seen enormous and deserved price appreciation since it was purchased by Jacques Thienpont in 2010. With its small production, cult following and their aim to increase the % of Cabernet Franc in the blend (which seems to be dealing well with warmer vintages) it is entirely possible that the price of L'If will continue to rise.

Tasting note: Very dark purple, almost inky in the way it coats the glass. A real heady nose of dark fruits (cassis, plum, black cherry), sweet spice, fruitcake & cedar. This is a big wine, with bags of structure on the palate. The ripe tannins dominate at the moment but you can still get that richness of fruit coming through. Needs at least 10-15 years in the cellar but that patience should be well rewarded.
L&S (May 2021)

In Bond

75cl bottles (wood case of 6)

* This is a pre-shipment/primeur offer. All orders are accepted under the TERMS of this offer which differ from the terms of the rest of the site.

The 2020 L'If is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine. In most vintages so far, L'If has been a dense, textured Saint-Émilion. In 2020, all of that energy seems directed toward extreme verticality rather than heft. I have to say, it’s a style I like a lot. Bright acids and persistent tannins drive a core of red/purplish fruit, while floral, spice and mineral-drenched accents linger. The 2020 is a blend of 84% Merlot and 16% Cabernet Franc, picked on 9/16, 9/24 and 9/26 for the Merlot and 10/1 for the Franc. This is the first vintage that includes fruit from a new parcel in the Saint-Étienne-de-Lisse district. A statuesque, captivating beauty, L'If is loaded with potential. I loved it. Drinking range: 2030 - 2055 Rating: 95-97 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Jun 2021)

The 2020 L’If is the first to include the Cabernet Franc that Jacques Thienpont planted four years ago, representing 16% of the blend this year, the remainder is Merlot. It has a more open nose than the Le Pin tasted alongside, a mélange of red berry fruit, mint, iodine and a dab of liquorice. That Cabernet Franc lends a little pepperiness. The palate is very well balanced with seamlessly integrated new oak, plush and rounded. A more sensual wine than Le Pin this year, forward and generous with a ripe and very pure, mineral-driven finish. This will be difficult to resist, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. Drinking range: 2026 - 2045 Rating: 93-95 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2021)

Austere on the opening beats, then a ton of enjoyable berry fruits. As it settles in, it delivers fine tannins with intense and sappy hawthorn, crushed stone and tobacco leaf character backing them up. Great balance, some austerity, and a tiptoeing through the palate that speaks of its clay-limestone soils. Fiona and Jacques Thienpont are the owners here, with winemaking from their nephew Cyrille Thienpont. 50% new oak. A yield of 34hl/ha. Drinking range: 2025 - 2042 Rating: 92 Jane Anson, Decanter (May 2021)

Please make sure that you have read the terms of this offer which are different from those on the main website. If you are unclear as to what is involved in primeur purchases please do contact our private client team via email or on 0207 221 1982.

Ordering

Prices are all in bond by the case size stated.

Pre-Orders are a firm commitment to buy wines on release, as long as the release price sits within the upper and lower price bands set by you on the pre-order form. Pre-orders will be fulfilled subject to availability but providing this firm commitment to buy effectively gives you priority and is a good idea for the most desirable wines.

Wines listed on the website can be ordered in the usual way via the website wishlist order form. You can also send orders directly to our private client team via email. Please note that, for the most sought after wines, priority will be given to those who ordered the same wines last year and to those that have pre-ordered.

Confirmation

All orders will be confirmed by email and are binding unless written cancellation is received within seven days of email confirmation. Pre-orders are not binding if the release price is above your upper price band.

Invoices are all raised at the in bond price (excluding any duty and VAT) which will become payable at the prevailing rates when the wines arrive in the UK, should you wish to take duty paid delivery.

Payment is required on sight of invoice, by cash, cheque, debit card or bank transfer. We regret we cannot accept credit cards for en primeur orders. We reserve the right to apply a dunning charge of 2% per month on invoices unpaid after 30 days.

Delivery

  • Shipment to our bond (at LCB Creek Road) and insurance are included in the in bond price.
  • Delivery is free to Lea and Sandeman / Elephant storage accounts, both duty paid and in bond.
  • Other deliveries (In Bond and Duty Paid) are also free subject to a minimum order from the offer of £500. Orders below this total will be charged an administration and handling fee of £16.50+ VAT when invoices are issued. We will group deliveries and this is a charge for your entire purchases, not a per-case charge.
  • Delivery of 2020 Bordeaux bought en primeur is expected during 2023. Delivery dates may vary as wines are shipped from Bordeaux at different times.
  • We do not anticipate any problems but please be aware that delays to delivery may occur should Britain's possible departure from the European Union result in additional border customs checks or other regulatory requirements. Any additional or unforeseen duties, tariffs, charges or other financial liabilities relating to 'Brexit' must be due to the customer and will be invoiced as required.

Practical notes - how it works

We start a sale in each customer's name and add all their primeur orders to one sale which is invoiced at the end of the campaign (or when the customer wishes). Immediate payment of invoices is then required by cash, cheque, debit card or bank transfer. We and our customers find that having a single invoice for the vintage is the simpler option but please note that confirmed orders are still binding even if the final invoice has not yet been issued.

Please specify on your wishlist order form where you would like the wines shipped on arrival in the UK. If this is to a third-party bonded warehouse, please specify the relevant account details. If the wines are required duty-paid we will issue a second invoice for duty and VAT at the prevailing rate when the wines are available for delivery.

Half-bottles, Magnums and larger bottles.

One of the additional advantages of buying en primeur is being able to order the wine in the format you want. While most of our listings are for 75cl bottles, we can source wines in any format if offered by the Château. Please note that format requests cannot be changed once wines have been invoiced. Additional charges for special formats do apply and are as follows:-

  • +£20 per case of 24 half-bottles
  • +£10 per case of 6 Magnums (2 bottles equivalent, 1.5 litres each)
  • +£35 per individually boxed Double Magnum (4 bottles equivalent, 3 litres)
  • +£50 per individually boxed Imperial (8 bottles equivalent, 6 litres) for Salmanazars, Balthazars, Nebuchadnezzars and Melchiors please enquire for availability and price.

Storage Options:

Wines bought en primeur won't arrive in the UK until 2023. If you do not wish to take home delivery at that point, you may wish to consider where you would like the wines shipped. Lea & Sandeman offers duty paid and in bond storage through a dedicated storage company called Elephant Storage. For more details on the terms and fees associated with storage please go to our Storage Homepage or contact our private client team for more information.