Right Bank quality shines through in 2015

Geoffrey DeanThe EU referendum and subsequent Brexit vote may well have distracted investors from some 2015 primeur release prices that dribbled out last week, but right now it pays to be alert! Indeed, as a hedge against the inevitable falls in Sterling we are now witnessing putting some money into Bordeaux classed growths might represent a sound idea.

L'Eglise ClientEven better if the said wine is fairly priced, as Eglise-Clinet certainly looks to be. The top Pomerol estate, by all accounts, produced a stunning 2015, with Neal Martin hailing it as ‘quite magical.’ He gave it 96-8 points, while James Suckling went even higher with 97-99. At £1900 per case, it is available at more than a 50% discount to the current 2005 price, which must make it a buy. Peter Shakeshaft and I were left in no doubt after our visit to Bordeaux last September/October that St-Emilion and Pomerol enjoyed the best possible weather conditions during the growing season and harvest. Any portfolio of 2015s should therefore be suitably weighted in favour of the Right Bank.

With this in mind, another Right Bank estate that is screaming out to be bought is Canon. Martin, whose marks have to be heeded as they will have an influence, gave it 98-100, making it one of his wines of the vintage. Canon is proving very difficult to source, as demand is massively outstripping supply, but at £650 per case (exactly 20% less than the current 2005 selling-price), it is superb value. Getting hold of it is the problem, but fill your boots if you can.

The fact that Figeac, just down the road from Canon, is selling at £1,115 when Martin gave it 97-99 only serves to reinforce the point. When you also consider that Figeac 2005 is currently priced at £1,200, Canon looks an even more attractive buy.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild LabelMouton-Rothschild also got 97-99 points from Martin, as well as 19 points from Jancis Robinson, but its release price of £4,260 is only £90 less as the current 2005 cost. “Not as compelling as we hoped” was Corney & Barrow’s somewhat lukewarm reaction to the Mouton offer: merchant-speak for “it’s overpriced.” A better bet might be the venerable first growth’s second wine, Petit Mouton, which has been very strong in the market for some time, only the 2010 in the last decade failing to give a return of at least 50%. 

Fans of Ducru-Beaucaillou, and there are many, might be tempted by the 2015 release price of £1,272. That is around a 20% a discount to the current 2005 cost (£1550), but 30% is the ideal figure, and is Martin’s mark of 94-6 fractionally too low? It looks to be when Canon is half the price and on the point of raising its bat to acknowledge a century. Interestingly, Ducru-Beaucaillou’s 2014 got exactly the same mark from Martin, and is available for a mere £750. Drinkers, as opposed to investors, might want to take note.