Bordeaux 2009 - where to buy in the UK

16 Apr 2010 by Jancis Robinson

The following list may be useful for those of you currently considering making 2009 bordeaux primeur purchases in the UK when the serious prices eventually come out, probably next month or possibly even later - although see Bordeaux 2009 - don't part with a penny! for why you should not part with any money yet. Remember that the wine is well over two years away from being in the state depicted in this image.

Whether or not you are based in the UK, it is worth remembering that there is some very high quality wine storage in the UK, and that you can buy in bond so that if you eventually sell the wine, or ship it to where you wish to drink it, you don't have to get involved in paying UK wine duty or VAT. A substantial proportion of the world's fine wine rests undisturbed for years or even decades in damp cellars and warehouses around the UK, even though its ownership may have changed several times during its stint there. You might also think of storing your Bordeaux purchases in one of the new purpose-built warehouses around Bordeaux such as Bordeaux City Bond or Grand Cru Storage, but of course they tend to use a little more energy to keep the wine at the right temperature than is needed by an underground warehouse.

These are some of Britain's most prominent specialist fine wine traders with links to their websites if they exist (see the directory for their other contact details). I may well have overlooked someone blindingly obvious so please let me know via the Add a comment box at the bottom of the page if you think some other outfit deserves inclusion, but be very wary of new companies, however plausible their names:

Many of the more traditional UK wine merchants also have fine-wine trading and broking arms, often selling the wines they originally sold to one customer, and warehoused for them, to another. They operate in direct competition with the specialist fine-wine traders (who also broke, ie sell, wine on behalf of their customers). Most obvious examples include:

A look at any, or preferably several, of the printed lists and/or websites of these operators will give you a good feel for current market prices. In my experience some traders overprice some items and underprice others (a bit like antique dealers really). The more work you do, the better the deal you're likely to get. Good luck!

And, it hardly needs stating to anyone who knows me, this list is of course compiled completely independently. I know some of the people who work for many of these companies but have no commercial connections with any of them.


BWI (aka Bordeaux wine investments), also mentioned in your directory, is missing here. BWI have built a strong reputation as specialists in Bordeaux and offer excellent Bordeaux En Primeur. Not limited to Bordeaux, also other regions of France, Europe and New World. Based in Sevenoaks Kent.  

13 May 2010 09:43 by Robert Lench

Many thanks for all these comments.  I'm sure Christopher Piper deserves mention - and I'm sure that the owners of Averys, Direct Wines/Laithwaites, would not let them go under.  So I will add both and thank you.

I will be publicising The Sampler's tasting opportunities later this week.  Thanks for the reminder...


19 Apr 2010 22:34 by Jancis Robinson

Mr. Douglas, thank you for mentioning the fact that Christopher Piper Wines have been trading in en primeur Bordeaux since 1983 (we missed the 1982's!).

16 Apr 2010 17:25 by Christopher Piper

missing from your list jancis is christopher piper wines of Devon.they have an excellent web site,are very reliable and their claret prices very on2009 clarets is fairly detailed.

16 Apr 2010 14:59 by david douglas

Jancis never seems to mention Averys anymore. Is there any reason for this? I buy and store most of my en primeur wine from them. If anyone is interested they have already released pricing on the first tranche of what they call 'Petit Chateau'. I have bought Chateau Beaumont.

16 Apr 2010 14:13

Does The Sampler ( on Upper Street, London N1 merit a mention?  They are completely open about the fact that they have never sold en primeur before, but they have also received praise on this site for their "sampling".  In addition they are advertising the fact they will have barrel samples of 30 wines for sampling in the shop for two weeks from 24 April.  I have no connection with them, but having never tasted a wine en primeur I'm very tempted to go along.  PPers might be interested in publicising other tasting opportunities - I'm only really aware of the regular Bibendum tasting, which I see from the link in your article is on 21 April.

16 Apr 2010 13:12 by Mark Gallagher

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