This time of year marks the beginning of Bordeaux en primeur tastings and we are looking forward to spending next week in Bordeaux. However, advanced reports by James Suckling confirm the hyperbole which has been coming from the grapevine for months: 2016 Bordeaux is stellar. Suckling has released a report where he states ’I can confirm that 2016 is an exceptional vintage equal to the exquisite 2015. In some regions like St. Estephe and the Northern Medoc, the wines are even better.’ The extremely warm late summer hugely benefited the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which ripened fully, evenly and brilliantly. Suckling’s score reflects this promise; of the chateau he has tasted thus far, Mouton and Lafite Rothschild have been awarded perfect 100 point scores. Palmer and Conseillante have received 99-100 points, while Lynch bages, Leoville Las Cases, Latour, Margaux, Pontet Canet and Pichon Baron received 98-99 points, as well as Calon Segur and L’Evangile.
As always the pricing dynamic will define the campaign, although the high quality of the vintage which ensure the leading highly allocated wines will be fought over despite price rises. We expect at this stage a 5-10% euro increase, which in pound terms will mean a predicted average increase of 15-20% on the 2015 pound release prices. However, contextually the market for leading Bordeaux wines has risen between 10-15% since the referendum and the end of the campaign, moving inversely to the weakness of the pound vs euro.
As such we have decided to revisit Conseillante and Lynch Bages 2015, which scored very well in 2015 and even better in 2016. Their 2016 demand will be furious and their price will make the stellar 2015s look undervalued. We have a small holding of each which we bought during en primeur which we can release today at the first tranche price.
Conseillante was one of the wines of the vintage in 2015, awarded 96-97 from James Suckling and 95-97 from Neal Martin, which we can offer today for £600 per case of six. This stacks up superbly against the 96 scoring 2009 and 2010 which trade today at £1,550 and £1,590 respectively. However, Suckling’s score of 99-100 for the forthcoming 2016 vintage will drive further demand to this great Pomerol Estate and make it hugely oversubscribed in the coming months.
The 2015 Conseillante is currently undervalued against comparative vintages and therefore set to benefit from the obvious vintage premium. It will benefit from the increased demand that its first 100 point score will add to the global cachet. The 2015 will look further undervalued in the coming months and buying a case today will guarantee you an allocation of the 99-100 point 2016. The Estate’s global cachet has never been higher!
Chateau Conseillante 2015, 6×75 – £600 EP
95-97 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2015 La Conseillante, a blend of 81% Merlot and 19% Cabernet Franc, is extraordinarily pure and elegant on the nose. Here, I find a little more red fruit than black fruit, extremely elegant and articulating the terroir with great clarity. At first, wild strawberry and cranberry, then crushed stone, a touch of black truffle and tobacco. The palate is medium-bodied, fresh and elegant with fine tannin on the entry. This is one of the most approachable La Conseillante wines that I have tasted in barrel, the acidity very well judged, “classic” in style, good backbone here with a structured finish. It does not quite possess the bravura of the 2010 La Conseillante and I would agree with winemaker Marielle Cazaux that it bears more semblances to the 2005 La Conseillante at this stage, and even bore common traits with its neighbour, Vieux Château Certan. This is an intellectual and to put it prosaically, “delicious” La Conseillante.
96-97 Points, James Suckling
This is the most powerful La Conseillante I have tasted with lots of muscle and intensity. Full and savory. Chewy. Agile and formed. Beautiful ripe fruit in the center palate. This is a little pushed to the limit like the great Conseillants of the 1960s and 1970s.
Lynch Bages needs very little introduction, it is one of the most recognisable names the world over. Suckling has just awarded the 2016 98-99 points, likely to be his highest ever score. The 2015 received 95-96 points from James Suckling and 93-95 from the Wine Advocate. This places it among the finest ever vintages so it is extremely appealing. Priced today at £890 per case of 12 or £445 per case of six this looks undervalued compared to the 92 scoring 2005 which trades at £1,250 and the 89 point scoring 2004 which trades at £1,100. The 2009 and 2010 vintages trade above £1,200 a case and even the 2008 with 93 points trades today at £1,000.
Lynch Bages experiences enormous demand from the US, Europe and Asia. It displays one of the strongest vintage premiums and our price today remains very close to release price. The market has already moved to above £950 per case of 12 and the 2015 looks a strong buy. The 2016 will surely be released at a healthy premium and the 2015 will surely be priced even higher once it is in bottle next year.
We have limited quantities of both, two Chateaux which have very strong inertia at present, their 2016 scores will drive this further, along with their price.
Chateau Lynch Bages 2015, 12×75 – £890 EP or 6×75 – £445 EP
93-95 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
They 2015 Lynch Bages is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot that was picked from 23 September until 2 October, matured in 75% new oak. There is an overwhelming sense of purity on the nose: perfumed, almost floral blackberry, wild strawberry, graphite and cedar scents, unmistakably Pauillac in style. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grain tannin, a keen citrus thread that impart tension and ample freshness. Tasting this as the first wine of the day, it instantly refreshes the mouth and leaves it tingling with energy after it has departed. This is an excellent, top-grade Lynch Bages that deserves 8-10 years in bottle and then will offer three decade of pleasure, maybe more.
95-96 Points, James Suckling
Very classic styled Lynch with pretty ripe fruit and tannin balanced. Full body, firm and chewy tannins yet polished and refined. Alcohol and fruit balance are lower than other top years and give this wine freshness and energy.
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