It's been the biggest week so far of the Bordeaux 2016 en primeur campaign, with Left Bank stalwart Lynch-Bages joining Right Bank big guns Pavie and Angélus on merchant lists.
A rash of price rises continue to be the signature of the Bordeaux 2016 en primeur campaign.
Today (24 May) has seen Château Lynch-Bages, rated 95 points by Decanter, at €96 ex-Bordeaux, a rise of 14.3% from last year, expected to go on the market in the UK at around £1,150 per case of 12.
That would put it in-line with market value and expected to sell well.
Yesterday, Châteaux Angélus and Pavie continued their policy of releasing at the same price, something that they have followed since both being promoted to Premier Grand Cru Classé A in 2012.
They came out at €294 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, a 16.7% increase on the 2015 opening price. In the UK, this translated to a price of £3,576, where sterling different since last year translates to a 33% rise.
Other releases this week include Château Carbonnieux at €25.20 ex-Bordeaux, up from €23.40 with the 2015 vintage.
Château Saint Pierre came out at €45.60 ex-Bordeaux (£548 in UK), Château Petit Village at €54 ex-Bordeaux (up 12.5%), Château Gloria at €30 ex-Bordeaux or £360 per case of 12 in the UK, Château Sociando Mallet at €26.40 ex-Bordeaux (up 18.9% on last year and around £315 per case of 12 in the UK), Château Langoa Barton at €36.60 ex-Bordeaux (up 14.4%) and La Lagune at €35.40.
First Growths have also begun to show their hand – Château Quintus from Haut-Brion held its 2015 price of €96 ex-Bordeaux translating to £586 per case of 12 in UK.
Carruades de Lafite came out at €135 ex-Bordeaux, and the main Lafite-Rothschild 2016 – one of the wines of the vintage for many – released its first tranche at €455 ex-Bordeaux, just 8.3% up on last year but at volumes that were 50% down, meaning that a second more expensive tranche is expected. Negociants are almost entirely holding on to stock to release at an average price between the two tranches.
‘With more questions than answers, it’s a non-event,’ said Shaun Bishop, CEO of JJ Buckley Fine Wines in California.
‘So far, the wines with the briskest pace of sales on the first day of the release are Pavie, Palmer, Montrose, Labegorce, Branaire Ducru, Beychevelle, and Pape Clement,’ he told Decanter.com.
In the UK, several merchants have reported a steady pace of sales, though not at levels seen for top vintages of the past.
But there is talk, too, of how the en primeur environment has changed. Paul Marus of Corney and Barrow told Decanter.com, ‘As each campaign passes, it becomes more evident that many properties no longer want to sell en primeur. They want to finance the stock themselves and sell bottled wines at a later date, at a higher price. It will be a whole new world, that could easily all end in tears.’
Editing and extra reporting by Chris Mercer.