We started beating the Chateau Berliquet drum during this year’s En Primeur campaign, for it is one of the rising stars of Bordeaux that all collectors should take notice off. The 2016, which we release today, costs £27 per bottle and scores 93 points from The Wine Advocate. It has one of the lowest Price Over Points Ratios (POP) of any wine in 2016. Berliquet has long been regarded as boasting some of the finest terroir in St. Emilion and in 2017 was bought by the Wertheimer brothers of the Chanel Group, who returned Chateau Canon and Rauzan Segla back to previous glories. Chateau Berliquet has been set on this trajectory and it is a strong buy recommendation. A rising star in much the same way that we promoted Chateau Canon back in 2014 as a must buy Estate.
The Estate is one of the oldest in Bordeaux, founded in 1768, when it had the honour of being one of the first named Estates in St. Emilion. Indeed as a Chateau of renown in local and foreign markets, it was sold as Chateau Berliquet when other Estates were just sold as St. Emilion, or too nascent to be an Estate. This speaks of the terroir and how highly its vineyards were rated. Its nine hectares are sited on the St. Emilion limestone Plateau contiguous with Chateau Canon and Château Belair-Monange. Furthermore, Chateau Angelus is found immediately to its North West and Chateau Ausone to its East, with the vines of Berliquet pointing South, South-West.
Given that Chateau Berliquet’s pedigree and terroir were among the highest of any right bank wine 260 years ago, why has it not remained among the finest? Until 1978 Chateau Berliquet was made by a local cooperative, resulting in solid yet not exciting wine. After 1978 the wines moved to being vinified and aged at the Chateau, experiencing an exponential improvement in quality. In 1996 Patrick de Lesquen and his team took over winemaking, reducing the production of each vine and focusing on viticulture. In 2008 Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derenoncourt were brought in to achieve the next level of evolution, improving precision in the vineyards and deriving the maximum quality from the illustrious terroir. With large investments in the winery and the vineyards the rise in quality again was instant, the 2008 vintage is drinking beautifully today.
This continued investment culminated in the 2016 vintage, their greatest modern wine, which we are thrilled to offer today. By 2016, Chateau Berliquet returned to its former greatness and was awarded 93 points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate, 92 points from Neal Martin of Vinous and 93 points from James Suckling. The price today is £325 per case of 12, or £27 a bottle, offering staggering value for money. The price versus quality provides a brilliant (POP) of 25, among the lowest we have seen in 2016. It is a wine for those in the know to buy now, before global demand drives the price higher.
The cherry on top is that the Estate’s fate and rise back to the top tier of Bordeaux wine was achieved in July 2017, off the back of the 2016 vintage, when the Wertheimer brothers of the Chanel Group bought the Estate from Patrick Lesquin and Jerome de Lesquen. The stars aligned and all modern vintages will now follow the rise to greatness of its neighbour Chateau Canon and the brilliant Rauzan Segla. The Wertheimer brothers and their team are magnificent at turning legendary terroir back to grand status. If the price today of Berliquet gives one deja vu, it is because Chateau Canon 2012 and 2014 were released at £410 and £370 per case of 12 respectively. Today, both are priced at £720, and Canon 2018 was released at £1,044 per case of 12.
The great 2016 vintage is one to buy and secure now, one day to have mythical status of the 1982. The 2016 is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. The vines have an average age of 40 years, with the vineyard being one large block of vines. Vinification begins with whole berry fermentation, in a combination of temperature controlled stainless steel vats and cement tanks, with 30 days of maceration. The wine is then aged for 15 months in 50% new French oak, with the first six month with the wine on its lees.
Berliquet is positioned perfectly and has already begun its rise. Following the stunning 2016, the 2018 was awarded 93-95+ from The Wine Advocate and 94-95 points from James Suckling, selling out immediately at £396 per case of 12. The 2016 has already risen 15% since release and is trading on the secondary market. This is the beginning of an exciting journey. Indeed, Berliquet produce around 3,500 cases a year, compared to Chateau Canons’ 6,000. It is a wine to get an allocation of on release and to stock up on its greatest physical vintage, the 2016.
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