Bordeaux 2016: Margaux begins the week 6th June, 2017 by Rupert MillarDespite the abysmal London weather, Château Margaux has kicked off the week with a price that should take buyers’ minds off the pouring rain.
As expected, the first growth has decided to match both Haut-Brion and Mouton Rothschild in price and released at €420 per bottle ex-négociant, a 9.4% increase on the 2015.
Costing roughly £5,184 a case, there are numerous back vintages costing a good deal less but against its qualitative peers, that is to say the 2015, 2010, 2009 and 2005 vintages, it stacks up rather well being at a good discount to them all.
Many have said that the 2016 vintage in Margaux wasn’t as good as the 2015 was and this broadly holds true in the critical scores it receives, although as Neal Martin said in his report for The Wine Advocate, “to be truthful, there’s a hair’s breadth between them.”
That said, although it has received a couple of potential 100-point scores from Antonio Galloni and Jean-Marc Quarin, the majority of scores are in the high 902, with Martin scoring it 97-99 and Jancis Robinson MW giving it a 17.5 rating.
Liv-ex’s members meanwhile voted it the fourth best wine of the vintage behind the other firsts.
The price, not of course one in the means of every buyer, is nonetheless below the curve Liv-ex has plotted using its fair value method. As such, it can be considered a well-judged, well-priced belief for those looking at such things in an analytical way.
Furthermore, Margaux has followed the example of Mouton and released in one tranche and at the same volumes as last year. By giving merchants stock to sell to their customers one might argue that Margaux and Mouton have stolen a march on their fellow firsts, especially Lafite which fumbled its opening bid by pricing correctly but releasing tiny volumes which prompted négoce to hold the stock back and wait for a second tranche.
Rumours of this second round of releases has been on the cards for some time but Lafite has presumably had to keep holding back as big name châteaux pip it to the post with their own releases.
Then again, as one merchant recently told the drinks business, this campaign is very “wait and see”, with customers not always buying instantaneously, knowing there’s unlikely any rush to jump in at every offer.
It would be wrong to say wines are not selling, they are and sometimes very well but there’s certainly a lack of urgency and tempo about the campaign that’s hard to ignore.
Also out today was Margaux’s second wine, Pavillion Rouge, at €114 p/b, an 11.7% rise on 2015.
Technically first out of the blocks this morning but then overshadowed by the mighty Margaux, was Léoville Barton at €63.60 a bottle (up 17.7%).
The wine was critically well-received although Martin gave it a lower score than he did the 2015.
Liv-ex described the opening price of £744 a case as “delicately balanced”, below the 2010, 2009 and 2005 in price but above the better-scored 2015 and 31% above the 2014 – which has the same score.