Bordeaux First Growths are poised to release their 2018s – are you ready?

Peter Shakeshaft Wine Investment specialistBordeaux’s First Growths are poised to release their 2018 wines along with St Emilion’s Grand Cru Classe A estates and Pomerol’s iconic Petrus and Le Pin, meaning we are fast approaching the high point of this year’s en primeur campaign for fine wine investors. The super seconds, second wines of the top houses and other ranked growths have released in the last few weeks with only Angelus of the highest echelon to have issued their 2018 allocation so far.

Angelus has played an interesting game – the first out of the block of the St Emilion Grand Cru Classe As or First Growths and at a release price that is totally against the prevailing trend.  Pretty much all of the releases so far have been at an increase on the 2017 release prices. Angelus 2018 was issued at an 8.9% discount to the London Merchants’ release price from the Chateau last year. This is even more noteable in that 2018 is a higher scored vintage, Suckling scored it 99 – 100 points.

It was always a bold move to be the first to launch with no context yet on the overall Bordeaux pricing landscape for 2018. This  is a higher average scored vintage than 2017 and the majority of producers are reflecting that improved quality in their pricing strategy.

Bordeaux 2018 En Primeurs releases of note so far:

The Chateaux of interest to investors so far, excluding Angelus, have consistently released at prices markedly higher than their 2017 wines and a few examples are listed in the table below:

2018 Bordeaux Wine 2017 price

Ex-London

2017 score 2018 price

Ex-London

2018 score % Price increase YoY
Angelus £3,360 94 – 96 NM £3,060 99 – 100 JS

 

-8.9%
Cos d’Estournel £1,308 97– 100 LPB

94 – 96 NM

£1,776 97 – 100 AG / LPB 35.8%
Montrose £1,175 96 – 99 LPB

94 – 96 NM

£1,560 98 – 99 JS

96 – 98 LPB

32.8%
Palmer £2,350 97 – 98 JS £2,892 97 – 99 LPB

95 – 98 AG

23%
Leoville Las Cases £1,776 96 – 98 LPB

93 – 95 NM

£2,172 100 JS

100 LPB

22.3%
Lafleur £5,340 97– 100 LPB

95 – 97 NM

£5,800 100 JS

99–100 LPB

8.6%
Pontet Canet £1,010 92 – 94 NM

96 – 98 LPB

£1,038 97 – 99 LPB

96 – 99 AG

2.8%

Source: Liv-ex.com – prices quoted are ex-London merchant trade prices (12 x 75cl)

AG – Antonio Galloni, LPB – Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, NM – Neal Martin, JS – James Suckling

 Of particular note are Pontet Canet, Palmer and Lafleur. Pauillac’s bio-dynamic Pontet could be seen to be offering value – with only a modest increase on 2017 of 2.8% despite a higher quality score.

Palmer had lower than average yields this year, 2018 was a challenging vintage for a number of estates, and as a consequence there will be no second wine (Alter Ego) for the Chateau this vintage. The 2018 quality is excellent for Palmer, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW scoring it 97 – 99 points, and it is the highest average quality scored vintage for the Margaux estate since before 2005, so it will  be an important wine for Palmer fans with potentially smaller supply.

Lafleur is one of the top wines of the vintage, scored 100 points by both Suckling and The Wine Advocate’s Perrotti-Brown. With 2017 seeing slightly lower quality scores from the key fine wine critics, the 8.6% increase on release price for the 2018 may be seen to be justifiable.

So finally, we are expecting the First Growths, excluding Chateau Latour which no longer partakes in the campaign, St Emilion’s remaining three top classified chateaux and Pomerol’s iconic Petrus and Le Pin, to release in the coming days. We will monitor the detail closely – quality-wise they are all strong – as you would expect:

2018 First Growths & Grand Cru Classe A quality scores

2018 Wine Classification / AOC Critics’ scores
Haut Brion First Growth 98 – 99 Suckling

97 – 99 Perrotti-Brown

Lafite Rothschild First Growth 99 – 100 Suckling

98 – 100 Perrotti-Brown

Margaux First Growth 99 – 100  – Suckling

97 – 100 Perrotti-Brown

Mouton Rothschild First Growth 100 Suckling

97 – 99 Perrotti-Brown

Ausone St Emilion Grand Cru Classe A 99 – 100 Suckling

98 – 100 Perrotti-Brown

Cheval Blanc St Emilion Grand Cru Classe A 97 – 100 Galloni

98 – 99 Suckling

Pavie St Emilion Grand Cru Classe A 97 – 100 Perotti-Brown

98 – 99 Suckling

Pin Pomerol 98 – 99 Suckling

97 – 99 Perrotti-Brown

Petrus Pomerol 100 – Suckling

98 – 100 Perrotti-Brown

Source: Liv-ex.com

We cannot see any adjustment for potential Brexit uncertainty in the pricing to date but currency dynamics are also a key factor to be considered for Sterling buyers in the coming days. As soon as these key Chateaux for fine wine investors release, we will offer the best opportunities, subject to pricing, to our clients immediately. To register interest in top Bordeaux 2018 En Primeurs contact us now on 0203 384 2262or email enquiries@vin-x.com