En Primeur News : Monday, 11th June 2018
This week should see the release of some of Bordeaux's biggest names in the 2017 vintage. We start off with positive news. Léoville Barton is released today at £654 per dozen. This is nearly 20% less than the 2016 and 10% less than the 2015 vintage. The ratings are particularly impressive this year with the same Neal Martin score as other (much more expensive) super-seconds such as Palmer, La Mission Haut Brion, Ducru Beaucaillou, both Pichons and Léoville Lascases!
French critic Michel Bettane says that it equals some of the First Growths whilst Antonio Galloni calls it "One of the few truly exceptional left bank wines of the vintage.....simply fabulous". Neal Martin comments "Seriously, this is nudging the 2016 in terms of quality and there are just a handful of properties where I can state that this year."
Not surprisingly it features in our list of the top wines of the vintage and we can be absolutely confident that it will be (along with Rauzan Ségla) the Médoc's top value in 2017. For those customers who plan to only buy a few cases en primeur this year, Léoville Barton ticks all the boxes as a "must-purchase" in a short list of clear 2017 good values. After this sensible release, other proprietors should take a serious look at their pricing policies.
After the modest price of Léoville Barton, the next wine to be released was never going to look like good value in comparison. And that is Montrose. This very highly rated Saint Estèphe is offered at £1180 - around 10% cheaper than big rival Cos d'Estournel and about the same price as Pichon Baron. "One of the greatest Montroses I have tasted" says the Wine Advocate's new Bordeaux critic Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW. This is priced at 20% less than the 2016, but the 2015 and the (outstanding for the vintage) 2014 are available in the market for slightly less.
Montrose's second label - La Dame de Montrose is offered at £324 per dozen.
After a trip up to Saint Estèphe it's swiftly back to Saint Julien with the release of Barton's neighbour Leoville Poyferré. £666 is the number of this particular beast. At only a fraction more money than Barton and Rauzan Segla this, likewise, has to be considered as one of the best value Second Growths of the vintage and it has good, if not ecstatic, ratings from all the critics.
Over the river in Saint Emilion we have a wine that is over-priced, over-extracted and over-oaked. If figs and prunes are the flavours that you look for in Bordeaux then you might consider Peby-Faugères at £1170, but this is not the style of wine that we enjoy at Farr Vintners.