Rush of releases shows Bordeaux merchants expanding their horizons

Bordeaux négociants have cemented September as a time for releasing a growing number of top wines from outside the region, making it a period to watch for fine wine lovers.

A fresh cache of Latour 2011 was released from the first growth Château’s cellars this week, but it will have to share the limelight with a host of top wines from around the world that are now using Bordeaux’s renowned Place to present their latest vintages.

Wines released via Bordeaux négociants in the last two weeks include the 2016 vintages of California’s Opus One and Verité wines, plus Masseto, Solaia and Nicolás Catena Zapata, as well as the 2017 wines of Almaviva, Seña and Beaucastel’s Hommage à Jacques Perrin.

Opus One signed up to the Place back in 2004, but the trend for Bordeaux merchants to offer wines made beyond its borders in the month of September has become more firmly established in recent years.

It has come amid a broadening of the fine wine market, together with smaller en primeur campaigns in general.

The trend also shows how top producers have placed confidence in the sales networks of Bordeaux négociants.

Gavin Smith, head of fine wine at UK-based Fine & Rare merchant, said in a blog post this month that the Place can save a lot of leg-work, and cost, for wineries.

‘Within hours, the wine would have been offered to thousands of merchants reaching millions of customers almost immediately,’ he said.

Not all estates listed above have released 100% of their production via the Place de Bordeaux.

Catena, for example, first launched its flagship Cabernet Sauvignon-Malbec blend, Nicolás Catena Zapata, via the Place in September 2018, but only to cover markets in Europe and Asia. It has released its Adrianna Vineyard, Mundus Bacillus Terrae Malbec on the same terms.

Latour this week also used the September release period to re-release its 2011 first wine, the final vintage that was offered en primeur by the estate. It was being sold by the UK trade at around £5,460 per 12-bottle case.

‘Today’s release price positions the wine above all other “off-vintages” available on the market such as 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008,’ said Liv-ex.


See also: Vérité – Sonoma micro-lot wines