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Bordeaux 2022: Ausone and Palmer released en primeur

A trend for price rises versus last year's campaign has shown no sign of abating, with big-name releases so far this week including St-Emilion’s Châteaux Ausone and La Gaffelière, as well as Palmer on the Left Bank.

Château Ausone 2022 was released at €565 per bottle ex-négociant, up 13% on the release of the 2021 vintage, with UK merchants offering the new wine at £6,800 per case (12x75cl in bond), according to Liv-ex, a global marketplace for the trade.

Fellow St-Emilion estate La Gaffelière and Margaux appellation third growth Château Palmer also entered the Bordeaux 2022 en primeur campaign this week, with ex-négociant prices up by around 16.7% and nearly 23% on last year.

The 2022-vintage en primeur campaign has set a tone for release price increases to varying degrees. Analyst group Wine Lister said ex-négociant release prices were up by 14% on average in the campaign so far.

It’s important to consider each estate’s release strategy, as well as the price and availability of similarly rated back-vintages.

Ratings have largely been high, and Decanter’s Georgie Hindle wrote in her Bordeaux 2022 verdict that many winemakers dealt well with unprecedented hot and dry conditions during the growing season – even if yields are smaller overall.

Ausone 2022 snapshot

Ausone 2022 was rated 96 points by Hindle. There is concentration and power, with summer heat evident in the 15.4% abv level, ‘but the acidity and soft mineral elements help keep the balance and frame’, she wrote. It’s early days, but Decanter has slightly higher ratings for Ausone 2020, 2019 and 2018, the latter receiving a perfect 100-point score.

At £6,800 (12x75cl in bond), it is in a similar price arena to this lauded St-Emilion estate’s 2020, 2016 and 2015 vintages, but more expensive than 2019 and 2018, according to Liv-ex data.

Current Liv-ex market price for the last four vintages of Ausone:

  • Ausone 2021: £6000 | 95pts Decanter
  • Ausone 2020: £6,701 | 98pts
  • Ausone 2019: £5,871 | 97 pts
  • Ausone 2018: £6,100 | 100pts

Wine Lister said it expected Ausone 2022 to find buyers. The wine falls slightly below the average for price increases in this year’s en primeur campaign, and also has strong quality.

This will encourage demand from fans of the wine, which shouldn’t have any trouble selling through in 2022, as in other years,’ Wine Lister said.

Palmer 2022

Château Palmer 2022 was released at €295 per bottle ex-[Bordeaux] négociant, which has translated to offers of around £3,576, according to Liv-ex.

Château Palmer 2022 was rated 97 points by Hindle, who described it as a ‘big wine delivered with poise’. She wrote, ‘Quite bold and charged, but I love the succulence, the perfumed fruit, chalky sensation and overall sense of confidence.’

Liv-ex data showed the wine was more expensive than many recent Palmer vintages already on the market. ‘Buyers looking for value have several opportunities among back vintages, notably the 2018, 2019 and 2020,’ said Liv-ex.

‘Palmer 2022 enters the market above all previous vintages,’ added Wine Lister.

Biodynamically-farmed Palmer has been on a strong quality run under CEO Thomas Duroux and the estate has gained greater prominence on the market.

‘We have every faith in the direction of the modern Palmer,’ said UK-based merchant Bordeaux Index, following the 2022-vintage release. It said Palmer has invested in vineyards and winemaking, describing this as an ‘unwavering determination to improve the quality of their wines, rather than their [building] facades’.

Back in St-Emilion, Château La Gaffelière 2022 was released this week at €56 per bottle ex-négociant, with UK merchants offering the wine at £684 per case (12x75cl in bond), said Liv-ex.

‘Buyers looking for value have several options among the most recent back vintages,’ Liv-ex added.

Elsewhere, St-Julien’s Château Lagrange 2022 was released at £474 (12x75cl in bond). ‘A clear success in 2022,’ wrote Hindle, who rated the wine 96 points, level with her rating for the St-Julien third growth’s 2019 vintage, tasted earlier this year.

‘This does make the 2019 look like a bit of a no-brainer at £380 (12x75cl in bond),’ said Farr Vintners in a note on the 2022-vintage release price.

However, en primeur buying decisions are about more than sheer numbers. Campaigns can represent a good opportunity to buy wines direct from the producer, sometimes in varying formats. Certain wines have a reputation for price increases on the secondary market following release, too.

At the same time, though, Bordeaux’s class of 2022 is coming into a fine wine market that has been marked be a greater sense of buyer caution overall in the early months of 2023.


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