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Ausone, Canon, Pichon Comtesse lead en primeur flurry

Many big names have released their wines in the Bordeaux en primeur campaign this week, and we take a look at prices, analyst reaction and scores on some of the highlights.

Bordeaux 2021 en primeur releases really picked up speed this week, and the launch of Ausone, Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Canon, Montrose, Léoville Poyferré, Beychevelle and La Gaffelière in recent days to name just a few has given prospective buyers plenty to look at.

Let’s not forget the debut for Lafite Rothschild 2021, too.

Ausone, Canon and Pichon Comtesse 2021

Ausone is St-Emilion wine royalty, of course, and UK merchant Bordeaux Index quoted a release price of £6,000 (12x75cl in bond) this morning.

It will be heavily allocated, wrote Giles Cooper in a blog post for the merchant. ‘Ausone’s release is always small, and has had a notable reduction in yield in 2021.’

Blue-chip names have generally seen good demand on the market recently, too, although there has been a lot of uncertainty about how Bordeaux’s tricky 2021 vintage will be received particularly following the broadly well-regarded trilogy of 2020, 2019 and 2018.

Decanter’s Georgie Hindle gave Ausone 2021 95 points. ‘Brilliant winemaking for the vintage,’ she wrote.  

Liv-ex, a global marketplace for the trade, quoted an ex-Bordeaux price of €500 per bottle for Ausone 2021, flat versus 2020, and highlighted the relative value offered by Ausone 2019.

Both Chanel-owned Canon and Louis Roederer-owned Pichon Comtesse de Lalande, meanwhile, are among Bordeaux’s historic estates that have a fresh buzz around them on the market in recent years, backed up by critical acclaim following extensive investments in winemaking.

Pichon Comtesse, another estate that saw yields significantly dented by adverse weather, was being offered at £1,608 (12x75cl in bond), according to Liv-ex. A release price of €132 per bottle ex-Bordeaux was unchanged versus 2020.

Separate data from Liv-ex and analyst group Wine Lister showed the 2021 price was significantly under current market price for the top vintages of 2019, 2018 and 2016.

Decanter’s Georgie Hindle rated Pichon Comtesse 2021 at 96 points, level with its 2020 score and two points below 2019 and 2018. 

Hindle said of 2021, ’This is a seriously impressive Comtesse and stands out as one of my favourite wines of the vintage with real promise.’

Given the lower production, ‘anyone looking to add Pichon Comtesse 2021 to their cellar likely needs to buy it now’, said Wine Lister. 

For anyone interested in back-vintages, Liv-ex noted the 2014 vintage looked good value.

Canon had a slightly tougher act to follow after its 2020 vintage was tipped as a potential 100-pointer. Yet the estate also made a success out of the tricky 2021 vintage. ’So elegant and so refined, as well as super stylish,’ wrote Hindle of Canon 2021, giving it 96 points

Canon was offered by UK merchants today at £1,080 (12x75cl in bond), said Liv-ex, quoting an ex-Bordeaux price of €90 per bottle, down 6% on last year. That puts the wine significantly below the current price of Canon 2020, 2019, 2016 and 2015, and slightly below 2018, Liv-ex data showed. 

Wine Lister noted Canon’s ‘good will’ among the trade and said it expected the 2021 vintage to sell quickly.

Beychevelle 2021 worth a look

Château Beychevelle 2021, from St-Julien, could draw interest as the cheapest available vintage of the estate, despite increasing its release price slightly versus last year’s campaign.

Hindle gave 94 points to Beychevelle 2021, traditionally a sweet-spot for Decanter and putting it among the success stories in a challenging, heterogenous vintage.

‘Great potential here,’ Hindle wrote, praising the wine’s density, structure and finesse. 

It was released at €58.8 ex-Bordeaux, up 2% on the 2020-vintage opening price, and offered by UK merchants at £706 (12x75cl in bond), according to Liv-ex

‘Beychevelle is one of the few châteaux that can justifiably raise its price every year as [the] wine always appreciates post-release, and last year was no exception,’ said Wine Lister. ‘The 2020 has risen by around 15% on the secondary market since release en primeur last year, depending on where you look.’

Selected other en primeur releases

Rauzan-Ségla 2021, Canon’s sister estate in Margaux, also received a 96 points Decanter score. ‘Tasted twice and both times I loved it. Pure and precise with everything you want from a 2021,’ Hindle wrote. 

It was released at €60 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, down 9% on 2020 one of the biggest year-on-year discounts so far. UK merchants were offering the wine for £720 (12x75cl in bond), below current prices on the prior three vintages, said Liv-ex.

Château Montrose 2021, rated 95 points by Decanter, was another release with an eye-catching discount versus 2020, down more than 10% at €114 per bottle an ex-Bordeaux basis.

At around £1,360 (12x75cl in bond), it sits ‘comfortably below the market prices for 2019 and 2018’, said Bordeaux Index’s Giles Cooper in a note. 

‘It’s good to see a discount of more than 1% on last year’s release price,’ said Wine Lister.

Over on the Right Bank, the merchant also encouraged clients to ‘step on board’ at Le Dôme, released at £1,380 (12x75cl in bond). Le Dôme now has its own winery, designed by Lord Foster’s architecture group, and has been working with highly regarded consultant Thomas Duclos.

Hindle gave Le Dôme 2021 94 points, albeit lower than the prior three vintages. ‘This has depth and persistence, the creamy chalky tannins making their presence known and balancing the rich, concentrated fruits,’ she wrote. 

Also in St-Emilion, La Gaffelière made its en primeur debut  not long after it emerged the well-regarded estate had become the latest to step aside from the upcoming St-Emilion 2022 Classification.

La Gaffelière 2021 was released at €48 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, flat on last year’s release price, said Liv-ex. At £576 (12x75cl in bond), ‘today’s release represents relative value compared to other recent vintages’, it added.

The wine received a Decanter score of 93 points. As with a number of others, this is below the ratings on 2020, 2019 and 2018, but it’s still early days, of course.

Back on the Left Bank, Léoville Poyferré 2021 was also released, having been rated 95 points by Decanter’s Hindle. ‘Beautifully fragranced on the nose  floral-edged ripe bramble fruits,’ she wrote, praising the wine’s ‘well-worked fruit’ and overall poise in the vintage.

Liv-ex quoted a release price of €72 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, equal to the 2020-vintage debut price, and an initial offer by merchants of £860 (12x75cl in bond). It suggested the 2019 vintage looked better value, however.


Bordeaux 2021 en primeur: See our full verdict on the vintage


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