Bordeaux 2018 – proto-prices

20 June 2019, later Miles Davis of Wine Owners comments on the Le Pin release price: 'Amazingly, at something like £2,000 per bottle, Le Pin 2018 looks like good value and is the cheapest vintage of recent releases. 2011, 2012 and 2014 are cheaper but do not carry the impressive scores that the 2018 received' ... This wine is sold by appointment only and if you’re lucky enough to be booked in, do not miss the opportunity!'

20 June 2019 We are republishing this article today in our Throwback Thursday slot because almost all the prices in the table below have been released, after a typically drawn-out campaign that began in mid April. This must be the most convoluted way to sell wine. 

There are just three gaps: L'If, Le Pin and Petrus. While these châteaux have released their ex-château prices this week, the UK merchants have not yet published their offers. We will add them below as soon as we hear more. (The full explanation of the data in the table is given just above it, in roman type. Click here to jump to the explanation and the table.) 

13 June Lots of important prices have now been released including, this afternoon, the wine crowned 'wine of the vintage' (19/20 from Julia), Ch Lafite. At £500 it is 17% higher than the proto-price below but it's certainly likely to hold its value. 

6 June 2019 Jancis writes I was at a tasting of St-Émilions from the 2015 and 2016 vintages in London yesterday which was fascinating, but notable for the absence of members of the fine-wine trade, who were too busy allocating the likes of La Mission red and white, which came out, at last, yesterday. The red was relatively well priced and understandably popular. At least one wine merchant however was shaking his head over the enthusiasm evident on his smartphone for what seemed the much less attractive 2018 La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc. 

5 June 2019 Now that quite a few of the prices have come out – still some big hitters to come, including all the first growths – we have highlighted in bold in the table below those wines that have come out below or very close to our 'worthwhile and attractive' proto-prices. Nick Martin of Wine Owners adds, 'More came in about right than I thought might do. Some of the more expensive ones are selling as well: I’m hearing that Pichon Lalande, Léoville Las Cases, Ducru Beaucaillou to a lesser extent, Lynch Bages have all been selling through.'

4 June 2019 On the day that Cos d'Estournel comes out with a release price of £148 per bottle, Wine Owners Nick Martin provides this analysis and  a warning: 'If you were to judge the 2016 as the benchmark price, this is a big increase of at least 22%. I say at least because in 2016 Cos released very, very early in the campaign, coming out on Monday 24 April 2017 at £110 per bottle, but by the following Friday the price had risen to a typical release price of £116 per bottle.

'Cos 2016 is now trading in the secondary market at £150 per bottle, meaning that however great the 2018 is, it shows no discount to the current market of one of the greatest ever wines from Cos. Whilst there will be plenty of takers given the quality, buyers should factor into their purchasing decision that the 2018 will be available in two years’ time at the same price as today’s release.' (For an explanation of how Nick and his team came up with the prices they consider 'worthwhile and attractive for the consumer', read the original introduction to this article below, dated 23 April.)

24 May 2019  At last, post Vinexpo, there has been a flurry of releases of some of the more significant wines. Here are some comments on the campaign to date from Nick Martin of Wine Owners: 'Amazingly, Pontet Canet has judged the market perfectly this morning, with the unusual wine selling like hot cakes. It’ll be entirely sold out by the end of the day. Released UK retail at £86.50 per bottle versus our proto price of £84.40 – so can’t ask for more than that!

'The trend of the last couple of weeks has been to release very little production. For example, Calon Ségur released a quarter less than of the 2016, which was a quarter less than 2015, which was a quarter less than 2014….at this rate they’ll be releasing Burgundian quantities in order to create an artificial imbalance between demand and supply, try to force up secondary market prices, and mark up the value of their Château stocks to increase the asset value of the property. It all boils down to the value of land and associated edifice on the balance sheet.

'I was really interested to see the narrative around Ch Palmer, which produced similarly low yields to Pontet Canet, yet still managed to produce 6,000 cases of grand vin. I know that’s almost half a regular production, but it’s still an awful lot of wine. I struggle to buy into the notion suggested by some merchants that the scarcity of Palmer 2018 will make it rare and collectible. They release very little en primeur already, preferring to sell back vintages via a well-established network of global sales reps.'

10 May 2019 Philippe Larché of négociant Vintex, whose predictions for the campaign were given in Bordeaux 2018 part 3 – pricing, describes the campaign so far as ‘very heterogeneous’. He added, 'Some brands are selling like crazy (those that are well-priced v their back-vintages and with good ratings), some struggle … Hard to anticipate final result yet!’ His top sellers so far among those already released include Chx Beychevelle, Calon Ségur, Carmes Haut-Brion, Beau-Séjour Bécot, Pape-Clément and Angélus, as well as those from the Denis Durantou stable.

3 May 2019 You may find this wine-lister.com blog about the amount of wine each château chooses to release en primeur of interest. It raises many useful considerations. 

2 May 2019 later Clinet and Lafleur have now come out. As Nick Martin of Wine Owners puts it about Lafleur's price, 'it's 10% above our proto-price but it will sell out with Julia’s big score and is still only half the price of the secondary market average of 09, 10, 15 16. It's the closest thing to a dead cert a wealthy collector can buy this year.' Also Quinault L’Enclos, which is not on our list but Julia loved it. Ex négoce €24, which probably translates into around £26 per bottle, and at that level, according to Nick Martin, it 'delivers a really classy bang for the buck'

2 May 2019 We have now added all of Julia's scores to the table below for ease of reference. Prices of relatively minor châteaux continue to dribble out but see Bordeaux 2018 part 3 – pricing for predictions of likely timing of releases of more major wines.

23 April 2019 Last year we published a summary of what Wine Owners founder Nick Martin and his team dubbed proto-prices for Bordeaux 2017. We repeat this fascinating exercise in hope and expectation for Bordeaux’s 2018 en primeur campaign. For links to all our coverage of this extraordinary vintage, see the guide

First out of the blocks last week was Ch Angélus, which at £255 a bottle is 9% down on the 2017 release, but only fractionally under the average current market pricing for 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2016. (Carillon d'Angélus came out at €78.) So far no other big names have shown their hand. 

Martin defines ‘proto-price’ as 'The price at which Wine Owners believes the châteaux need to release their wines in order to make en primeur (EP) worthwhile and attractive for the consumer'. Wine Owners runs a wine collection management platform and a peer-to-peer trading exchange. The 70 or so wines in the table below are those that are most commonly bought en primeur, according to their data.

The proto-prices take into account the price at which consumers can currently buy back-vintages that Julia considers to be useful relative benchmarks for 2018. Thus in the fourth column of the table below, V-AVG refers to the average current market value of vintages 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2016. (All prices given throughout this article and in the table are for wines  in bond or ib.)

Martin, who has done the number crunching, explains how these proto-prices have been calculated:

  1. For each wine, we averaged current market value for its 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2016 vintages. Why? Because for 2018 to represent value as an en primeur purchase it will need to be released at a discount to current market prices of those other vintages.
  2. We also took each wine's 2017 and 2016 en primeur price (ib, retail, GBP, per bottle) as further specific reference points.
  3. We then ran a relative value algorithm that looked at the scores for 2018s compared with current market price and scores for the back-vintages used as benchmarks. Julia’s scores for the 2018 vintage will be added to the table after all the tasting articles have been published over the course of this week.
  4. Finally we then made manual adjustments to account for things such as new levels at which some châteaux (eg Troplong Mondot, Belair) have placed themselves in terms of quality and price; top successes of the vintage; and adjustments relative to the 2016 en primeur releases.

Based on their calculations, the average increase in price compared with 2017 is 4% and the range of change vs 2017 would need to be +31% to -18% depending on the wine. This extraordinarily wide range reflects wildly differing en primeur pricing strategies pursued by the châteaux for their 2017s.

Martin concludes: 'We will be fascinated to see the main peloton of 2018 prices announced in due course, and the extent to which this incredibly heterogeneous, tricky vintage is reflected in those release prices.’

Note: all prices in the table below are ib per bottle. Prices in the rightmost column are the best offers from UK merchants at the time of release. Those in bold are below or close to the proto-price.

Wine name Julia's 2018 score Estimated 2018 EP proto-price   EP 2017 release price   % change 2018 proto-price vs 2017 Average price 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016 Actual 2018 EP release price  
L'Aile d'Argent Blanc 17 £47.32 £56.00 -15.5% £51.46 £60
Alter Ego de Palmer £48.22 £48.75 -1.1% £56.15 not made
Angélus 17.5 £232.38 £280.00 -17.0% £264.69 £255
Ausone 17.5+ £545.51 £470.00 16.1% £744.27 £558
Beau-Séjour Bécot £50.00 £42.00 19.0% £50.81 £45.83
Beauséjour [Duffau-Lagarrosse] 15.5 £83.05 £77.00 7.9% £174.47 £91.70
Belair-Monange 17.5 £100.07 £93.00 7.6% £98.77 116.70
Beychevelle 16 £60.49 £52.00 16.3% £73.30 £60
Branaire-Ducru 16.5 £44.48 £34.25 29.9% £45.35 £38.50
Calon Ségur 18 £63.57 £61.50 3.4% £76.04 £72
Canon 17.5 £78.04 £67.50 15.6% £114.93 £87
Canon La Gaffelière 16.5 £53.76 £54.00 -0.4% £65.00 £64
Les Carmes Haut-Brion 16.5 £85.54 £56.00 52.75% £87.34 £69
Les Carruades de Lafite 17.5 £142.70 £135.00 5.7% £221.67 £190
La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion 16.5 £51.26 £58.00 -11.6% £58.98 £60
Cheval Blanc 18.5 £490.33 £442.00 10.9% £559.69 £549
Dom de Chevalier 17.5+ £49.20 £43.00 14.4% £51.49 £65
Clerc Milon 17 £49.63 £52.00 -4.6% £61.88 £61.25
Clinet (Pomerol) 16 £62.12 £57.50 8.0% £103.74 £64
Clos Fourtet 16 £83.81 £73.00 14.8% £105.06 £84
La Conseillante
£105.00 £123.00 -14.6% £133.11 £168
Cos d'Estournel 17.5 £112.81 £109.00 3.5% £151.55 £148
Ducru-Beaucaillou 17+ £114.25 £124.00 -7.9% £145.52 £144
Duhart-Milon 17.5 £48.86 £47.00 4.0% £55.42 £54.66
Durfort-Vivens 16.5 £33.12 £38.00 -12.9% £38.53 £51
L'Église-Clinet 16.5 £164.88 £172.00 -4.1% £202.69 £218   
L'Évangile 17 £151.48 £180.00 -15.8% £180.96 £180   
Figeac (St-Émilion) 18 £124.22 £123.00 1.0% £148.13 £181
La Fleur Pétrus 17 £137.00 £149.00 -8.1% £161.85 £165
Gazin 15.5 £54.71 £58.75 -6.9% £62.80 £62
Grand-Puy-Lacoste 17.5 £54.15 £54.00 0.3% £55.08 £56
Gruaud Larose 16 £45.31 £52.00 -12.9% £55.26 £55.83
Haut-Bailly 17.5 £88.95 £74.00 20.2% £104.41 £87
Haut-Brion 18 £380.15 £355.00 7.1% £463.73 £408
Haut-Brion Blanc 17.5 £547.15 £615.00 -11.0% £650.63 £608   
L'If 17 £151.50 £115.00 31.7% £252.50  
Lafite Rothschild 19 £428.32 £415.00 3.2% £531.88 £500   
Lafleur 18.5 £447.72 £445.00 0.6% £894.88 £483
Lagrange 16.5 £31.76 £31.00 2.4% £37.56 £35
Lascombes 15.5 £50.69 £52.00 -2.5% £61.45 £55.50
Léoville Barton 17 £58.51 £54.00 8.3% £70.47 £63.17
Léoville Las Cases 18.5 £148.98 £148.00 0.7% £164.61 £179
Léoville Poyferré 17.5 £61.61 £55.00 11.8% £87.65 £68
Lynch-Bages 17 £79.62 £74.00 7.6% £95.01 £92
Malartic-Lagravière 16 £36.17 £33.30 8.6% £37.51 £34.80
Malartic-Lagraviere Blanc 15.5 £41.05 £42.00 -2.3% £43.96 £38.34   
Margaux 18.5 £386.41 £360.00 7.3% £607.71 £426
La Mission Haut-Brion 17.5+ £260.80 £245.00 6.4% £323.07 £245
La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc 17 £401.70 £490.00 -18.0% £451.24 £480
Monbousquet 15.5 £35.91 £38.00 -5.5% £43.24 £37.50   
La Mondotte 16.5 £154.13 £119.00 29.5% £246.54 £171
Montrose 18+ £102.63 £98.00 4.7% £137.35 £130
Mouton Rothschild 18 £379.66 £360.00 5.5% £443.13 £426
Palmer (Margaux) 18.5 £221.67 £195.75 13.2% £223.26 £241
Pape Clément 16.5 £75.13 £63.30 18.7% £97.40 £66.16
Pape Clément Blanc 16.5 £99.96 £100.45 -0.5% £167.20 £98.66
Pavie Macquin 16.5 £47.36 £52.00 -8.9% £57.28 £52.70
Pavie (St-Émilion) 17 £233.39 £280.00 -16.6% £252.98 £292
Pavillon Blanc de Ch Margaux 17.5 £149.01 £147.00 1.4% £170.07 £161   
Pavillon Rouge de Ch Margaux 17 £136.38 £135.00 1.0% £146.21 £149
Le Petit Mouton Rothschild 16.5 £152.20 £149.00 2.1% £188.03 £177
Petrus 18.5 £1,830.34 £1,467.00 24.8% £3,006.85  
Pichon Baron 18 £97.96 £98.00 0.0% £108.54 £117
Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 17.5 £97.27 £93.00 4.6% £112.73 £138
Le Pin 18.5 £1,821.84 £1,750.00 4.1% £3,088.39 £2,000
Pontet-Canet 16.5 £84.39 £82.00 2.9% £104.80 £86.50
Quinault L'Enclos 17.5 £26.41 £22 20.1% £26
Quintus 16 £76.24 £93.00 -18.0% £88.05 £95
Rauzan-Ségla 16.5+ £63.80 £54.00 18.1% £82.25 £75   
Smith Haut Lafitte 17 £80.10 £69.00 16.1% £100.95 £81.50
Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 17+ £68.73 £83.00 -17.2% £79.13 £85
Talbot 16.5+ £45.66 £39.00 17.1% £43.16
Troplong Mondot 17.5 £82.03 £72.00 13.9% £95.00 £86.80
Trotanoy 17.5 £172.90 £212.00 -18.4% £201.25 £225
Valandraud 16.5+ £116.32 £100.00 16.3% £171.80 £126
Vieux Château Certan 18.5 £181.61 £172.00 5.6% £206.98 £219
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