Bordeaux 2020 En Primeurs – where is the best value?

The Bordeaux 2020 campaign is now in its final stages with the First Growths releasing their en primeur allocations this week. The key questions to be answered pre-campaign were – what is the quality of the vintage and how will it be priced? Investors want to know which 2020 wines offer value to buy ‘en primeur’.

The critics answered the question on quality – a great vintage making a rare ‘trilogy’ for collectors with 2018 and 2019. The second – price, this came down to how the Chateaux will price their 2020 vintage following last year’s strategy, which offered 2019 wines at a marked discount to 2018  – some as high as 30%. As we look for the answer we consider where is the value?

Key pointers on Bordeaux 2020 Trade Prices and Quality

  • Trend – ex-negociant prices up on 2019 key investment wines
  • First Growths 2020 releases up 19 – 53% on 2019 wines, building on ground regained from the 2019 vintage
  • St Emilion icons kept release price increases below 19%
  • Pavie the only wine to match 2019 level and a tipped wine of the vintage
  • Quality: Angelus, Cheval Blanc and Pavie 2020 similar quality scores to First Growths
  • Pomerol icons still to release scores and prices at 24th June

Given the quality is there, the other key factors influencing price are supply and demand.

Demand – Over the last 12 months the general demand for key Bordeaux wines has increased. The suspension of the US Tariffs on EU goods in March 2021 by President Biden saw this demand accelerate further in Q1 and Q2. Biden announced five year agreement without Trump’s 25% Tariff in June.

Supply – the 2020 harvest recorded one of the lowest production levels for a number of years, this due to more extreme weather conditions. On top of the ‘raw material’ supply, the Chateaux have also, notably, reduced the volume of wine they now make available for sale at en primeur stage.

The investor has to weigh this all up and, with an eye on the prices of back vintages and what this tells us about value over time,  and consider the benefits of buying en primeur. With all this in mind, we look at the key releases and how prices compare to last year.

  • Chateau Cheval Blanc was the first of the top brands and key investment wines to release their 2020 on the 11thMay – and surprised the market with only a modest 2.7% increase on their 2019 vintage last year. This price announced before a strong 96-98 score by Neal Martin was published.
  • The St Emilion Classe A icons Angelus and Pavie released next on the 18th May; Angelus up on its 2019 by 13%,
  • Pavie, significantly, is the only investment wine so far to stay at 2019 level on price and tipped by Galloni as the possible “wine of the vintage”
  • Ausone released 19th June – up 19% on 2019
  • Second Growths kicked off by Rauzan Segla on the 10th June have all released higher than 2019 with Cos d’Estournel up 36.4% on 2019, Pichon Baron up 16.5% and Leoville Poyferre 46.3%
  • Third Growth Palmer, like the Pomerol icons, has not shipped samples to international critics but Bordeaux based Quarin has scored it 98 points – does this support the 49% uplift from 2019?
  • First Growth second wines are noted for offering value as excellent wines made by brilliant wine- makers with the very best resources. Margaux’s Pavillon Rouge has been released at just 11% increase on 2019 compared to Carruade Lafite’s 17.2%, and Petit Mouton 21.7%. Notably, Carmes Haut Brion achieved higher critical scores than the aforementioned from Lisa Perrotti-Brown (95-97+), Antonio Galloni (94-96) and Neal Martin and as a consequence its 20.4% rise on last year may seem more palateable.
  • Pomerol’s key brands Eglise Clinet, Evangile and Lafleur also upped prices from 2019 – 14.7%, 33.3% and 9% respectively. Petrus and Le Pin are yet to release at the time of writing.
  • Finally, the last of the First Growths released today, apart from Latour who withdrew from the en primeurs in 2012. Lafite released at a 19.9% increase on 2019, Margaux 30%, Haut Brion 53% and Mouton Rothschild 53.2%

Of course, it is not as simple as looking at the price this year compared to last, but perhaps it’s a point to consider. On this basis alone the Right Bank is looking to offer value and Chateau Pavie 2020 is outstanding, closely followed by Cheval Blanc.

For more information on the quality and price comparisons across the 2020 vintage and compared to 2019 along with other important factors to consider when making your wine investment decisions for the 2020 En Primeurs register below or call us on 0203 384 2262.

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