The Bordeaux 2018 En Primeur, which started early in April this year, has just ended. It was an unusual campaign this time around, not only because of its length, but also because so many wines sold out.

Our negociants were given small allocations from the estates. For example, if our previous allocations of Château Lafite Rothschild, were 12 cases of 12 bottles, this year it was 8 cases. For wineries like Palmer or Pontet Canet, who suffered with production shortages because of the excessive rain in the spring, offerings were minuscule — less that 3 cases to many importers.

So the bad news is that the wines were scarce. The good news is that if you were able to buy, you now own something very valuable. There is no doubt that the top sellers such as Châteaux Canon, Rauzan-Ségla, Palmer, Calon Ségur, Carmes Haut-Brion, Léoville-Las Cases, Pichon Lalande, Montrose, Canon-la-Gaffelière, etc. will gain in value, since they’re no longer available from the estates. A second tranche may be released next January, but those prices will hurt. Speaking of pricing, it’s important to note that the 2018 wines are actually much less expensive than the 2010s were when offered En Primeur. For instance, most First Growths in 2010 were priced from $650-$800, while this year, the 2018s go from $520-$650. (Wine Spectator)

Of course, the same situation exists for the First Growths. Châteaux Mouton Rothschild, Angélus, Lafite, Margaux and Haut-Brion sold out quickly. (We may still own a bottle or two but six-packs or case lots have disappeared.)

Sign of a healthy economy? Sign of more investors in the game? Not sure, but the strong dollar to euro ratio, coupled with huge interest from Asia and obviously, a smaller release, have succeeded in making the Futures campaign a …success!

Why a success? Because in fact, that is what Futures are all about. The ability to purchase a wine which won’t be available when it is released in bottles, at a price that won’t be seen again.

Additionally, and most importantly, the 2018 vintage is fabulous! True, some properties missed the mark, were overly concentrated, high in alcohol, not true to their terroir. But most producers were able to make rich, beautiful wines that showed freshness throughout.

Just check out the ratings. In past years, James Suckling has been accused of being overly generous, but this year, he is one of several to award very high ratings. Pavie-Macquin for instance, received 97-99 Jeb Dunnuck, 97-98 James Suckling, 95-97 Wine Advocate, 94-96 Wine Enthusiast and 92-95 Galloni. Some scores are a little high, others are a little low, but there is a clear consensus.You do get the sense that you have a great wine in hand, right?

So, here is a recap of where we are and what we can still offer from the 2018 Bordeaux En Primeur:

First Growths
Châteaux Angélus, Margaux, Mouton Rothschild and Ausone sold out.
Château Haut-Brion. $519.99. 3 bottles left
Château Lafite Rothschild. $599.99. 3 bottles
Château Pavie. $342.99. 1 bottle
Château Cheval Blanc. $633.99. 7 bottles

Château Cheval Blanc, one of the top releases of the 2018 vintage. Photo by Marla Norman.

Please note that most of the First Growth estates received 97-100 pts in barrel sampling reviews. Additionally, Latour is no longer offered En Primeur.

Highly Rated (all 95+ pts) & Still Available
Château Smith Haut Lafitte. $103.99. 46 bottles
Château Clinet. $88.99. 19 bottles
Château Pape Clément. $88.99, 41 bottles
Château Malartic Lagravière Rouge. $48.99. 60 bottles
Domaine de Chevalier Rouge. $70.99. 14 bottles
Château Haut-Bailly. $109.99. 25 bottles
Château Magrez Fombrauge. $112.99. 10 bottles
Château Tertre Rôteboeuf. $157.99. 24 bottles
Château Pavie-Macquin. $69.99. 48 bottles
Château Clos Fourtet. $112.99. 42 bottles
Château Troplong Mondot. $103.99. 56 bottles

Aymeric de Gironde, Director of Château Troplong Mondot. Photos by Marla Norman

Daniel Cathiard, owner of Château Smith Haut Lafitte.

Château Pavie Decesse. $189.99. 24 bottles
Château Figeac. $223.99. 13 bottles
Château Pichon-Baron. $149.99. 37 bottles
Château Lynch-Bages. $120.99. 19 bottles
Château La Gaffelière. $67.99. 30 bottles
Château Canon La Gaffelière. $82.99. 47 bottles
Château Bellevue Mondotte. $134.99. 24 bottles
Château Valandraud. $167.99. 33 bottles
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou. $179.99. 48 bottles
Château Beychevelle. $81.99. 10 bottles
Château Cos d’Estournel. $185.99. 28 bottles
Château Montrose. $169.99. 12 bottles
Château La Conseillante. $209.99. 27 bottles

At Château La Conseillante, winemaker Marielle Cazaux generously tasted our group, from left to right: Stephen Marlette, Harriett Crommelin, Beth Coppedge, Marla, Bob Cavallo, Marielle, Michel, Mary Ann Cavallo, Dana & Tom Saffel and Bob Coppedge.

Great Values & Still Available
Château Tour Saint-Christophe. $27.99. 59 bottles
Château Clos de l’Oratoire. $39.99. 24 bottles
Château Duhart-Milon-Rothschild. $73.99. 60 bottles
Château Giscours. $61.49. 12 bottles
Château Saint-Pierre. $57.99. 48 bottles
Château Leoville-Barton. $84.99. 8 bottles
Château Gruaud Larose. $72.99. 24 bottles
Château Beausejour Becot. $61.99. 18 bottles
Château d’Issan. $61.99. 48 bottles.

At Château d’Issan, Clarisse Branche, Public Relations Manager, tours our group: Mandy & Robert Hamilton, Jason & Keri Echols, Clarisse, Amanda & Heath Owens. Photo by Marla Norman.


Henri Lurton, owner of Château Brane Cantenac, shows off his 2018 vintage. Photo by Marla Norman.

How could you miss buying these?!? Also mid-90s ratings!
Château Poesia. $33.99. 55 bottles
Château Capbern. $23.99. 48 bottles
Château Les Gravieres. $21.99. 24 bottles
Château Gloria. $39.99. 72 bottles
Château le Bon Pasteur. $73.99. 12 bottles
Château Berliquet. $44.99. 36 bottles
Château Marquis d’Alesme-Becker. $39.99. 34 bottles
Château Brane-Cantenac. $67.99. 36 bottles

Only 6 Bottles or Less Remaining!
Château Prieure Lichine. $40.99. 6 bottles
Pavillon Rouge de Château Margaux. $194.99. 6 bottles
Château Léoville-Poyferré. $86.99. 2 bottles
Château La Mission Haut-Brion. $322.99. 2 bottles
Château La Mondotte. $219.49. 5 bottles