Majestic has this week announced its re-entry on the Bordeaux en primeur scene, starting with 2021-vintage offers on a range of big names, including First Growths Châteaux Lafite Rothschild, Haut-Brion, Mouton and Margaux.
Its list also includes Cos d’Estournel, Palmer, Calon Ségur, Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Cheval Blanc, Angélus, Canon and La Fleur-Pétrus, among others.
Wines were being offered per single bottle or in six-bottle cases, all in bond, showed the retailer’s brochure.
Fine wine market demand has been particularly strong in the past couple of years, and a Majestic spokesperson said customer feedback informed the retailer’s decision to restart Bordeaux en primeur offerings.
Majestic said it would target ‘a new, wine-engaged audience’. It said it hopes to appeal to both new and existing buyers of en primeur, the term for wines sold while still-in-barrel and also known as ‘futures’ in the US.
The retailer said it ceased offers more than a decade ago, after having bought fine wine merchant Lay & Wheeler, which has its own long-standing en primeur operation. Both businesses subsequently combined with Naked Wines, but all parties went their separate ways in 2019.
Majestic’s chief commercial officer, Robert Cooke, said, ‘Our Bordeaux suppliers have been overwhelmingly positive about us re-entering the market and we’re extremely pleased with the allocations we’ve received.’
Bordeaux 2021 was a challenging vintage, although some excellent wines were still produced, as Decanter’s Georgie Hindle wrote after tasting many barrel samples.
Consumer demand for Bordeaux 2021 en primeur releases in late May and June was mixed, according to merchants. Some wines sold well on debut, but Liv-ex, a global marketplace for the trade, has described the overall campaign as ‘one of the least successful of recent times’.
Jake Biggs, Majestic en primeur buyer, said, ‘Following on from the three warm and sunny vintages of 2018–20 in Bordeaux, the 2021 vintage was always going to have some tough acts to follow. However, with its freshness, precision, drinkability and poise, I truly believe it will find its place.’
The retailer plans to launch Bordeaux en primeur offers annually from now on.
‘What we’ve seen at Majestic over the last couple of years is a real desire for customers to get beneath the skin of wine,’ said Cooke.
‘En primeur takes that a step further – and puts customers right in the heart of the winery itself with the opportunity to buy incredible vintages before they’ve even reached the bottle. It turns buying wine into an experience, which is something we really specialise in at Majestic – whether for an individual or as a beautiful gift to lay down for the future.’
Majestic was acquired by Fortress Investment Group in 2019.