Bordeaux Big Guns Come Out Firing
The Bordeaux 2015 en primeur campaign, now in its endgame, should turn out to be the most exciting and profitable for many years. It is certainly the most talked-about – and the most divisive.
Last week saw a flurry of major releases: Cos d’Estournel ($135 per bottle ex-negoce), Margaux ($432), Angelus ($284), Pavie ($284), Haut-Brion ($433), Mouton ($432), Ducru Beaucaillou ($135), Vieux Château Certan ($169). Almost all the major 2015s are under the current market price of the 2009s and 2010s.
While some wine merchants, both in the US and the UK, are gloomy about sales, there is no doubt that 2015 has galvanized interest in Bordeaux – although no one is pretending sales will ever get back to the heady heights of the 2009 and 2010 vintages.
What is most apparent is that this has been a vintage of communes. The en primeur tastings of April were barely over before Margaux, Pessac-Léognan and the Right Bank were being talked up as the star appellations of the vintage. And it satisfies one of the key criteria for greatness: it’s good at all levels. Everyone agrees the Cru Bourgeois 2015 is excellent, well-priced, and will be wonderful in bottle. “I have bought lots because I know I’ll be needing it in the future,” said Mathieu Chadronnier, managing director of the huge Bordeaux negociant CVBG Grands Crus.
For some, the success of Margaux, the Graves and Saint-Émilion and Pomerol has been borne out in sales. “These regions did well,” Max Lalondrelle of Berry Bros told Wine-Searcher. “In other regions we sold much less than last year. Giscours and Brane Cantenac are perfect examples of a great success in 2015 – mainly to do with the fact that they are Margaux properties.”
Lalondrelle said he has sold five times as much 2015 Giscours as the previous vintage (15,186 bottles compared with 2982), and three times as much Brane Cantenac (3894 compared with 1300).
“When you take the equivalent properties outside Margaux, the opposite happens; 2800 bottles of Leoville Poyferré in 2014 but 1812 in 2015. Nearly 7776 bottles of Talbot 2014 against 1500 this year.”
Berry Bros is one of the only wine merchants prepared to give sales figures, and again, they are illustrative of the gap between the perception of 2015 as a great vintage, and the reality of how much people are buying. “This is going to be a quiet vintage for us,” Lalondrelle says. “We’ll sell between £12m ($17.1m) and £15m ($21.4m) when it’s over. We sold £16m ($22.8m) of 2011, and £15m of 2012.”
Read more at Bordeaux Big Guns Come Out Firing