Bordeaux 2018 In-Bottle critics’ scores revealed – which En Primeur purchases delivered top returns?

The international critics have published their Bordeaux 2018 In-Bottle scores with The Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown commenting latest on the challenging vintage for winemakers and the price rises that some of the wines have achieved, delivering significant returns to fine wine investors, since en primeur releases in 2019:

some legendary wines were made this year, some that I firmly believe avid Bordeaux collectors will not want to miss, even if the prices are daunting.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Advocate, 31 March 2021

 Top 2018 price rises in barrel enjoyed by en primeur investors:

  • Chateau Lafleur 2018 soared 141.4% from release at £5,800 to £14,000
  • Chateau Petrus 2018 has seen its price rise 95% from £23,000 to £44,840
  • Le Pin 2018 notched up 38.4% from £22,000 to £30,872
  • Chateau Palmer 2018 rises a remarkable 31.1% released at £2,892, now £3,790
  • First Growths Lafite Rothschild 2018 has risen 21.7% to £7,300 and Mouton Rothschild up 15.8% to £5,920

Source: Liv-ex.com 31.03.2021, all prices quoted for 12 x 75cl.

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Bordeaux growers had a tough year with significant climate challenges in 2018, recognised by Perrotti-Brown as  “a vintage that took vines and winemakers to the very limits of what they could produce.” Antonio Galloni commented that these conditions had generally created richness in the wines and a higher alcohol content but that “they were also remarkably well balanced”. On a note of caution he also recognised that there was a limit to the level of richness that would appeal. With climate change here to stay managing drought and the effect on the vines is now a perennial challenge.

Perfection has been achieved by a small number of the Bordeaux 2018s and the top wines of the vintage as quality scored by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Neal Martin and Antonio Galloni are set out in the table.

Bordeaux 2018 In-Bottle scores – Critics Top Wines:

L. Perrotti-Brown MW L. Perrotti-Brown MW N. Martin N. Martin A. Galloni A. Galloni
2018 WINE SCORE 2018 WINE SCORE 2018 WINE SCORE
Ausone 100 Palmer 100 Lafleur 100
Margaux 100 Petrus 98 Palmer 100
Haut-Brion 100 Trotanoy 98 Petrus 100
Lafite Rothschild 100 Ausone 97 Ausone 99
Latour 100 Figeac 97 La Gaffeliere 99
Petrus 100 L’Eglise-Clinet 97 Mouton Rothschild 99
Vieux Ch. Certan 99+ La Conseillante 97 Trotanoy 99
La Mission Haut Brion 99 La Mission Haut Brion 97 Cheval Blanc 98+
Leoville Las  Cases 99 Lafleur 97 Le Pin 98+
Mouton Rothschild 99 Mouton Rothschild 97 Margaux 98+
Pavie 99

 

Le Pin 97    
Trotanoy 99

 

Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 97    

Source: Liv-ex.com, March 2021

Perrotti-Brown awarded the perfect 100-point scores to First Growths Haut-Brion, Lafite Rothschild, Latour and Margaux, and to the Right Bank’s Ausone and Petrus. Haut-Brion made the largest leap from its original en primeur score of 97-99+ from the tasting which took place in 2019 to achieve perfection in bottle this Spring.

The Wine Advocate’s Bordeaux specialist awarded a further six wines 99 points and she observes that a significant number of chateaux struggled with the conditions. The 2018 wines could be “extreme, but not as extreme as I had initially feared and at their very best the 2018s are mind-blowingly incredible” and “can expect to have long lives and drinking windows.”

“Head-turning freak” – price jumps 20% on Neal Martin’s 100 score

Neal Martin and his Vinous colleague, Antonio Galloni both rated Chateau Palmer 2018 100 points with Galloni referring to it as “a freak of nature”, a”real head turner” and “truly sublime”. As Martin’s only 100-point wine of the vintage, with the exceptional accolade of “there will never be another Palmer like this” the market price rose 20% from £2,800 to £3,260. With extremely small yields this is going to be a very rare wine to get hold of and certainly one for collectors and fine wine investors to consider.

Meanwhile, Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2018 is the 150th vintage produced by the estate under the Rothschild banner and will have appeal for loyal followers as such, it recently traded on Liv-ex at £7,000 (12 x 75cl).

The 2018 wines now in bottle are being shipped to owners and the region is preparing for the global launch of the new vintage. With the 2020 en primeur tastings in just two weeks it’s useful to be reminded of the potential returns from investing at release – as long as the price offers the scope for growth. Global merchants are waiting to see what pricing strategy Bordeaux will adopt in the second en primeur campaign to take place during the pandemic. The 2019 vintage release in 2020 was the most exciting in over a decade as value was brought back into the process with some chateaux discounting their prices on the previous 2018 release by up to 30%.

Read our recent blog on the pros and cons of investing en primeur and register your interest in the 2020 allocations here. For more information call the Vin-X team on 0203 384 2262.