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June 26, 2015

Bordeaux En Primeur 2014 vintage round-up

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There is little question that quality of the 2014 vintage is good, often very good and in a few cases truly exceptional. It is the best vintage since 2010, particularly on the left bank where St. Julien and Pauillac shone. The quality was further backed up by a weak euro, last year the euro to pound in April averaged .80, compared to an average of .73 throughout the campaign, a change of 8.75%. As such we posited before the campaign that a 5% euro price increase would allow for a good campaign and compelling positions. Taken together it meant that collectors could secure an excellent vintage at a good price compared to past vintages, at least in theory. The benchmark for price was that the 2014 releases should be on par or cheaper than equivalent physical vintages. Many pinpointed the current price of the 2008 vintage, the last universally well run campaign and often cheapest physical vintage as the standard.

Now the dust has settled we can report that in 2014, 20% of the chateaux released with a price reduction on 2013, while 20% remained at the same price. This meant that 60% decided to raise their prices on 2013 at an average increase of 10%. Fortunately the weak euro meant that these price increases were not felt as prominently in the US, UK, Switzerland and Asia. Wines that were priced within 5% of last year sold very well. Those that ignored the market’s wishes were largely ignored in the UK. There were bargains to be had and wines that are worth buying this year are featured in our round-up report today, we would like to shine a light on those worth serious consideration.

The wines of the vintage:

Ducru Beaucaillou 2014, 94-96 WA, 96-97 JS,
12×75 – £745 EP or 6×75 – £372.50 EP

The release price signalled a 16% increase on the 2013 and a decrease of 2.5% on 2012. This exceptional Ducru was priced close to that of the 95+ scoring 2008, which trades today at £850. The 2014 is also in touching distance of the 97 point scoring 2005, which trades today at £1,600. Such comparisons tell a compelling story, as does Ducru Beaucaillou’s average case price over the last ten years of £1,051. Ducru 2014 is a truly stunning wine.

Leoville Las Cases 2014, 94-96 Pts WA,
12×75 – £890 or EP, 6×75 – £445 EP

Leoville Las Cases 2014 is a WOW wine, its supreme artistry makes you step back; it is certainly as good as Mouton and Lafite Rothschild, surpassing all other wines of the vintage. Leoville Las Cases 2014 is spectacular and for less than £900 this offers incredible value compared to other great wines of the world. The leading critics are all in unison, with Neal Martin scoring it 94-96, the Wine Spectator 94-97, James Suckling 96-97 and Tim Atkin 96 points. This puts it on par with the epic 2009 and close behind the 2010 and 2005, which have an average price of £1,600. In fact 2014 Leoville Las Cases, while not only being the star of the vintage, could turn out to be an all-time great from this Estate.

Lafite Rothschild 2014, 94-96 pts WA, 94-97 pts WS
12×75 – £2,950 EP or 6×75 – £1,475 EP

Lafite Rothschild tempted the market two weeks into the campaign with a limited first tranche release. Most negociants took the strategic decision to wait until the second release to agree a cost average. The final price was £2,950, a 7.8% decrease on last year and 26% below 2012. The 2008 of Lafite Rothschild currently costs £5,150, therefore, this year’s release price of £2,950 per case of 12 is 42% lower than 2008′s trading price and 37% below the average trading prices of all vintages since 2004, which is £4,730. Lafite Rothschild have made a fabulous wine in 2014, awarded 97-98 points from James Suckling, 94-97 from James Molesworth of the Wine Spectator, 97 from Tim Atkin and 94-96 from the Wine Advocate.

Haut Brion 2014, 95-98 pts WS, 95-96 pts JS, 93-95 WA
12×75 – £2,300 EP or 6×75 – £1,150 EP

Haut Brion released at the ex-London price of £191.66 per bottle, £2,300 per case of 12 bottles which represented a 4.16% reduction on their 2013 release price and the lowest since 2008. The cheapest physical vintage of Haut Brion on the market is currently the mediocre 2007 and slightly better 2008, these trade at £2,500 per case of 12. The average current price of Haut Brion since 2004 is £3,387.50 and as such £2,300, offers a real incentive to buy en primeur. The 2014 Haut Brion scored 95-98 from James Molesworth of the Wine Spectator, one of his wines of the vintage. It received 95-96 from James Suckling, 93-95 from Neal Martin.

La Mission Haut Brion 2014 –  94-95 JS, 93-96 pts, 95-97 WA
12×75 – £1,400 EP or 6×75 – £750 EP 

La Mission Haut Brion - released at £116.66 per bottle ex-London, £1,400 per case of 12 bottles. This represents an increase of 6.87%, which is in contrast to Haut Brion’s 4.16% decrease. The reason for this increase is that Neal Martin of the Wine Advocate has awarded it 95-97 points making it his joint top red wine of the vintage alongside Latour, Vieux Chateau Certan and Cheval Blanc. Neal Martin describes it as ‘…a sophisticated La Mission Haut-Brion in the making, one that may actually surpass Haut-Brion as it is sometimes prone to do’. 

Amazing value vs. quality:

Talbot 2014 - 93-94 pts JS,
12×75 – £290 EP or 6×75 – £145 EP

Chateau Talbot released at £24.16 per bottle ex-London, £290 per case of 12 bottles, the same price as in 2013! The quality of the wines from Saint Julien in the 2014 vintage is superb and Talbot was one of our value picks of the vintage. James Suckling agrees and gives the opinion it is the ‘Best Talbot in years, maybe decades’. Suckling underlined his adulation with a score of 94-95, eclipsing his barrel scores of both the 2009 and 2010 vintage. It also received 90-93 from the Wine Spectator. This gives it a higher potential score from James Suckling and the Wine Spectator than the 2009 and 2010 vintages. Talbot is ranked as the 8th best en primeur wine to buy by Harper’s Magazine in terms of returns. It perennially performs well from barrel to bottle, it has a current average case price since 2004 of £374.

Pape Clement Red 2014, 93-95 Wine Advocate, 
12×75 – £480 EP or 6×75 – £240 EP

Pape Clement released at the same euro price as 2013, a decrease of 12.7% ex-London on last year, at the extremely compelling price of £480 per case of 12 bottles. This also gives Pape Clement 2014 the distinction of being the cheapest vintage on the market, over £100, or 19% cheaper than the 2008 vintage. The average current case price of Pape Clement since 2004 is £752, £625 excluding 2005 and 2010 as outliers. As such the 2014 offers a 36% discount to the average trading price. This really is a must buy wine for £40 per bottle.

Chateau Canon 2014 – 95-96 JS pts, 93-95 NM pts, 91-94+ AG
12×75 – £370 EP or 6×75 – £185 EP

The Wertheimer family, owners of Chanel, brought their prized St Emilion Estate Chateau Canon to market at £370 per case of 12. This is an outstanding price, only £5, ex-London, higher than last year and 57% below the 2009 and 2010 which is instructive, as Neal Martin says This is outstanding for the vintage – a sublime Château Canon that might dare rank alongside the 2009 and 2010.’ This means the 2014 Canon has to be considered as one of the best investment wines of the vintage. In 2014 Neal Martin has given Chateau Canon a higher potential score than the 2009 and 2010, with 93-95 points, offering excellent vintage arbitrage with the 2010 trading at £850 and the 2009 at £890.

Beychevelle 2014 – 93-94 pts JS, 91-94 pts WS,
12×75 – £410 EP  or  6×75 – £205 EP

Beychevelle released their 2014 at £410 per case of 12 bottles. James Suckling has awarded it 93-94 points, the Wine Spectator 91-94, making it in their opinion one of their finest ever vintages. This year the London release price of £34 a bottle makes it extremely compelling. It is well priced against older vintages; it is nearly £200 less than the similar quality 2009 and 2010. Beychevelle 2014 offers an incentive to buy en primeur, the 89+ (WA) scoring 2008 vintage trades comfortably at £640, the 90 scoring 2005 at £750 and the 89 scoring 2004 at £680.

The sweet wine of the vintage

Chateau Coutet 2014 – 95-98 pts WS,
12×75 – £230 EP or 6×75 - £115 EP

There is no question 2014 is a wonderful vintage for the wines of Barsac and Sauternes. Chateau Coutet released at the same price as last year, a generous move considering it is one of the wines of the vintage, receiving 95-98 points from the Wine Spectator. At £19 a bottle this makes Coutet phenomenally priced, particularly when compared to Chateau d’Yquem whose last release was £230 pounds a bottle for the 2011 vintage. It is extremely interesting to view the last seven years of Coutet releases, as the 2014 price is the lowest relative release going back to 2004.

Sold Out

Several wines sold out extremely quickly, these are listed below. If you do have any interest please let us know as we often receive offers later in the year and can express interest.

Mouton Rothschild6×75 – £1,150 or 12×75 – £2,300
Le Petit Mouton de Mouton, 6×75 – £375 or 12×75 – £750
Lynch Bages 2014, 12×75 – £575 or 6×75 – £262.50
Margaux 2014, 12×75 – £2,340 or 6×75 – £1,170
Pichon Lalande 2014, 12×75 – £620 or 6×75 – £310
Calon Segur 2014 12×75 £410 or 6×75 - £205

If there are any other wines you would like information on or buy every year please do let us know.