It's been a busy couple of weeks in Bordeaux and pretty much all the properties have now been released.
Unfortunately (and as expected) most of the Bordeaux Chateau decided that it easier to borrow the money rather than to release the wines at the price that would be attractive to us. Essentially, they can borrow at (or close to) 0% and figured out, it would make more sense to keep the wine and finance production by borrowing from the banks. I suppose, now that Draghi has confirmed that the interest rates in Euro zone will stay at these levels for another year (or so) it makes sense. I would probably do the same if I owned a Grand Cru Classe Chateaux. On a positive side, value of any mature Claret you might be holding in your portfolio has just gone up by some 10 - 20 %, so it is not all bad. We will catch those 2017's further down the line.
Subsequently, most wines have been released some 15 - 25% higher than my buy prices, and there is very little that I can recommend on top of previously listed buys, such as Tabot, Armailhac, Daugay and Labegorce.
Just to remind you, the vintage is decent but not great. The quality and ageing potential is below that of 2016, 2015, 2010 and 2009. Stylistically, it has quite unique freshness and elegance and although not as rich and powerful as we have gotten used to in recent years, it will provide some decent drinking, especially for those of you who like red Burgundy. I was actually quite keen on few of them (Figeac, Comtesse, Pontet Canet, Gruaud Larose, Leovile Barton and Poyferre amongst others) but I really cannot see any point in buying them now; we might as well wait till they are bottled and decide.
For the drinkers amongst you, I am still sticking to my guns and claim that these are not only the best deals of the vintage, but great wines in their own right, and priced extremely well:-
Ch Daugay, St Emilion Grand Cru: ZR16, PB 93. £180.00
This is still very much under the radar of the wine writing paternity, so you will have to believe me. We tasted it couple of times during the days in St Emilion, and it ticked all the boxes. This is the future of decent wine drinking on the right bank. Pure, soft Summer fruit dominate all the way, with gentle polished tannins in the back. Not built for a long run but will be great from about 2022 for some 5-6 years. Quite gorgeous, tasted 2nd time straight after the big brother Angelus and it held its corner. If you buy any 2017 this should be the one.
Ch. Fombrauge St Emilion Grand Cru: ZR16, . £210.00
Bigger and richer than other 17's, but still with fine fresh uplifting acidity. Dark, soft summer fruit all the way with soft smooth oak and tannins at finish.
Ch. Labegorce, Margaux: ZR 16; . £215.00
Another decent Labegorce, they are really on the roll under management of capable Delphine Colasa - one of my tips of the vintage (and a value Bordeaux). Not the intensity and power of 2015, but a jolly little wine. More red than black berries, with polished, refined tannins and a clear finish. As Jeb said "This is an estate readers need to have on their radar", but I told you so back in 2011. I would also not be surprised if this improves in value over the coming years. Please register your orders as soon as possible, as the production was reduced by some 30%.
If you fancy something a bit more serious to drink than look no further than these two:
Ch. Talbot: £450.00
This is a no brainer even if the wine was not good, but it is. A classic St Julien dominated by small Autumn black berries on nose and palate with highly polished tannins and great balancing acidity. This will drink beautifully from about 2025, and should provide 1 free case for home drinking in every 4 you buy. Talbot has been undergoing changes and investment in vineyard and winery for the last 4 years and it shows. The only "no brainer" of the vintage so far. Fill your boots!!!
Ch. D' Armailhac: £390.00
Other than Talbot, Armailhac came out bang on my estimate and, considering that this is about the bottom of the Armailhac “brand” value and I did like the wine a lot, it is a very good buy. Perhaps not 4-5 cases punt, but a case for the cellar would be a very decent option even if you do not take into account that it is less than half the price of Lynch Bages. There is more red summer crunchy fruit in Almailhac than the black berries of Talbot, but it is a very well-crafted wine that will provide great drinking for some 10 y from 2025.
Regarding these two, even if I did not like the wines, they would be no brainers at these prices. You will not find a better value Grand cru case on the market and these prices are lowest of any vintage currently available to buy for these chateaux. On top of some seriously good drinking in 5 - 8 y time, I can see some very good growth potential here.
Finally, here are 3 wines released in the last 2 weeks, that caught my attention as being very well priced (unfortunately, I only have a handful of 6 pack, so first come first served):-
Rauzan Ségla, Margaux: ZR 17- £320.00 per 6 bott.
Rauzan Ségla is a second growth chateau in Margaux which has been growing in quality and popularity since being bought by Chanel few years ago. Neal Martin rates it just 1 point less than Palmer and Margaux priced 4 to 8 times higher, Wine advocate's Lisa Perrotti-Brown, rates it 94-96 points. This is higher than Leovilles and on the same level as Pichon Lalande. It is already very tough to get a second growth for less than this, so the only way is up.
Calon Ségur, St Estephe: ZR 17; £375.00 per 6 bott.
Calon Segur is going places! At this price it is the cheapest vintage Calon on the market. The heart on the label seems to have caught the hearts of the Chines collectors, so this is really a bonus buy. Oh, and the wine is decent as well
Canon, St Emilion Grand Cru Casse: ZR 17+ £400.00 per 6 bott.
Canon is also going through renaissance (also owned by Chanel) and with the upper end of the brand value reaching £2000 for 2015 vintage, this is quite a bargain. This has high ratings in the mid 90's from all the critics
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