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Bordeaux 2022: Pichon Baron released en primeur

Château Pichon Baron has become one of the latest big names to release its 2022 vintage en primeur, in a campaign where year-on-year price increases are as much of a talking point as the high quality of the wines.

Château Pichon Baron 2022 was released en primeur at €134.4 per bottle ex-négociant this morning (12 June), which is up 21.7% on its 2021-vintage release price, said Liv-ex, a global marketplace for the trade. It was being offered in the UK at £1,620 (12x75cl in bond).

‘A sublime wine in the making,’ wrote Decanter’s Georgie Hindle, rating Pichon Baron 2022 at 97 points after tasting it en primeur.

Liv-ex data showed the wine was more expensive on release than other recent Pichon Baron vintages, and analyst group Wine Lister said the wine ‘may not fly with the price-sensitive, but may work with fans of the estate and buyers excited by the quality of the vintage’.

Relatively ambitious pricing has been a theme of the Bordeaux 2022 en primeur campaign so far.

Rauzan-Ségla 2022 emerged at €84 per bottle ex-négociant on Friday (9 June), up 40% on last year’s release. At £1,010 (12x75cl in bond), ‘the new wines comes at a premium to other vintages on the market’, said Liv-ex.

Strong ratings on many Bordeaux 2022 wines have invited comparisons with some of the best years in Bordeaux’s recent back catalogue, and there is also added fascination in the way winemakers dealt with hot, dry conditions of the 2022 growing season.

Liv-ex warned last week of ‘unease’ in the trade as the Bordeaux en primeur campaign enters a crucial period, however.

Prior to the Pichon Baron and Rauzan-Ségla releases, it said ex-négociant prices were up 14% on average year-on-year in the campaign so far, coming into a fine wine market that has struggled for momentum in 2023.

Some collectors have still swooped on top wines. Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2022 was ‘massively oversubscribed’, said Farr Vintners.

‘Les Carmes Haut-Brion has been released today with a big reduction on last year’s quantity,’ said the UK merchant. ‘We have allocated it as fairly as possibly with last year’s buyers at the front of the queue and this is now sold out.’

Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2022 was released at €108 per bottle ex-négociant, up 34.3% on the 2021-vintage release price, and offered in the UK at £1,320 (12x75cl in bond), according to Liv-ex.

Hindle gave the wine 98 points but said it has the potential to hit the full 100. ‘A standout success’ in the 2022 vintage,’ she said.

Wine Lister highlighted some market context. ‘Les Carmes Haut-Brion has shown strong price performance post-release over the past five years,’ it said. When this is blended with critical acclaim, the 2022 vintage becomes an ‘obvious buy’, it added.

Matthew O’Connell, CEO of the LiveTrade trading platform at Bordeaux Index, said there has been ‘healthy enough’ buyer interest in several top Bordeaux 2022 wines released so far, including Cheval Blanc, Palmer and Pichon Comtesse.

‘Demand has not been off the charts, [but] it’s been a bit healthier than one might imagine just looking at the prices.’

Rather than compare prices to 2021-vintage releases, he said he preferred to look at how an estate’s 2022 vintage compares to 2020, 2019 and 2016.

Prices have been at the upper end of the merchant’s expectations, yet some collectors have decided they want to own these ‘interesting and very high quality examples of Bordeaux’, he said.

Farr Vintners said much of the Pichon Comtesse 2022 released last week sold to pre-orders. It was offered by UK merchants at £2,046 (12x75cl in bond), said Liv-ex, which added the wine debuted ex-négociant at €170 per bottle, up 28.8% on the 2021-vintage release price.

Pichon Comtesse 2022 is a contender for wine of the vintage, and Hindle pinpointed the Pauillac second growth as another prospective 100-pointer.

She gave it 98 points at en primeur, adding, ‘One of my favourite wines from 2022, utterly seductive from the first sip, this is a stunning effort that shows the power of Pauillac in 2022 delivered with elegance and class.’

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