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2020 releases: Alter Ego de Palmer and Grand-Puy-Ducasse prices

A tantalisingly priced Alter Ego de Palmer and a ‘compelling’ Grand-Puy-Ducasse are among a clutch of 2020 Bordeaux en primeur releases to emerge either side of the weekend.

The 2020 vintage of Château Palmer’s second wine, Alter Ego de Palmer, is being offered by the trade at £606 per 12-bottle case in bond, according to Liv-ex, 16.5% higher than the current market price of the 2019 release.

Decanter’s Jane Anson awarded the 2020 wine from the Margaux property 93 points, praising its purity of fruit and ‘the gourmet touch you want in Alter Ego’, adding: ‘It’s a vintage where you can’t get away from the tannins, but here they have sinew and juice.’

Liv-ex noted that Alter Ego de Palmer 2019 – given 94 points by Anson – is selling at a 12% discount to the 2020, making it appear more favourable in price terms. ‘That said, production was hit again in 2020 by mildew pressure and the drought,’ it added. ‘Stock released is low and this is a wine which sees high demand.’

Pauillac’s Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse has released its 2020 wine at €24 ex-négociant, up 8.1% on the 2019 opening price, with the trade offering it at £300 per case, 8.7% ahead of the 2019 release’s current market price.

For Liv-ex, this makes both vintages ‘compelling’, while also highlighting the Pauillac domaine’s 2015 wine, available at a similar price.

Anson awarded the 2020 release 90 points, calling it ‘carefully made, with promise’, but adding: ‘This is extremely tight in its tannins, pretty austere and you need to take a beat to allow this to settle.’

In Pessac-Léognan, Château Malartic-Lagravière’s 2020 red and white releases are also being offered for less than 10% more than the current market price of the 2019s, with merchants pricing the red at £347/case – 5.5% up on 2019 – and the white at £432, 8% higher.

For Anson, Malartic-Lagravière’s 2020 red, scored at 94 points, is ‘one of the successes of the appellation’, thanks to its ‘silky texture and a finessed, fresh core that holds interest from beginning to end’.

She awarded the white 93 points, praising it as ‘measured and deft, and extremely easy to recommend’.

Liv-ex highlighted the red as offering particularly good value, noting that, while slightly more expensive than the 2019, it is priced at an 11% discount to the 2016, and 29% less than the 2010.

Among other new 2020 en primeur releases, Clos du Marquis has come out at €37.20 per bottle ex-négociant, almost 15% higher than 2019, and is being offered by merchants at £450 per case, 10% higher than the current market value of the 2019 – which makes the latter look like ‘good value’, according to Liv-ex.

Château Haut-Bages Libéral is being offered at £311/case, 9% higher than the 2019 release, while its €26.40 per bottle ex-négociant release price is nearly 16% up on 2019. Jane Anson gave the 2020 wine a score of 91 points.

Finally, tiny Margaux domaine Château Ferrière has released its 2020 wine at €27.60 ex-négociant, up 15% on 2019, with the trade offering the wine at £317 per 12-bottle case in bond.

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