“Incredibly impressive” Ausone leads the exit of big names

Thursday and Friday saw some of Bordeaux’s big guns release their 2021 releases, led by St Emilion’s “incredibly impressive and opulent” Ausone “who seems to have transcended the difficulties of the vintage,” said one reviewer.

Roofs of Saint-Emilion, Aquitaine, France

Eight estates unveiled the 2021 vintage on Thursday June 9, including Brane-Cantenac, Léoville Poyferré, Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Chasse-Spleen, Beychevelle, Phélan-Ségur and Issan, followed by another installment on Friday, including Pichon-Longueville Baron , Lafon Rochet, Giscours and Lascombes.

Ausone – which announced its withdrawal from the St Emilion classification last August, making this vintage its last as a Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘A’ – was one of the highlights of the critics. Although the volumes offered are down 40% compared to last year, its quality does not disappoint. Colin Hay gave it a score of 96-98+, calling it “the best in the appellation”, while William Kelley of the Wine Advocate agreed, giving it a score of 97-100. Neal Martin called it “compelling”, but without the dynamism of the 2001, 2010, 2016 or 2019 vintages, earning a more conservative score of 93-95 points, below Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW’s 95-97 score.

Also released on Thursday was the 2021 Château d’Issan from Margaux, released at €42 a bottle ex-negociant, unchanged from the 2020 opening price. Colin Hay noted it as one of his top picks – with Brane Cantenac, “one of the new stars of the appellation” – who epitomizes the leaner new classicism of the 2021 vintage. However Galloni thought that while “quite attractive” it “lacks both depth and nuance” .

For its part, the Brane-Cantenac 2021, another “really great” cru from Margaux according to Colin Hay, was released at €47 a bottle ex-negociant, down 2.1% compared to the opening price of 2020. (€48). He described it as a more conventional crowd pleaser than Isaan, a very fine, classic and authentic expression of its terroir and of the appellation” giving it 93-95+ points.

Phélan-Ségur 2021 retails at £30.60 a bottle ex-negotiator, unchanged from the 2020 opening price. Released at £372 per 12×75, the wine was scored 92-94 points by Neal Martin and Colin Hay, both agreeing he potentially offered good value for money at St Emilion, with the latter calling him ‘hugely impressive’. ex noted that the 2019 and 2020 vintages offered better value for money, given their higher scores. The 2019, for example, had 95 points from Martin, but is available for a 15.1% discount on the 2021 version.

Also unchanged from the 2020 opening price, Léoville Poyferré 2021, released at €72 a bottle ex-trader, Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2021, €132 a bottle ex-trader, unchanged from the 2020 opening price ( €57.60).

Chasse-Spleen 2021 (€21.95 a bottle ex-trader, up 9.7% on the 2020 opening price) as well as Beychevelle 2021 (at €58.80 a bottle ex-trader, up 2.1% compared to the 2020 opening price of €57.60). In a recent poll by Liv-ex members, it was voted one of the top ten wines with the most value, garnering 94-96 points from Colin Hay and Neal Martin – and indeed the Data suggests it’s potentially “the best value wine on the market today” as the estate tends to increase in value with age. It’s on offer internationally for £706 per case of 12.

Canon 2021 was released at €90 a bottle ex-trader, down 6.3% from the 2020 opening price (€96).

On Friday, the opening prices of Pichon-Longueville Baron 2021 (€110.40 a bottle ex-trader), Lafon Rochet (€25.50 a bottle ex-trader) fell by 1.9% compared to the price of 2020 opening at €26, Giscours (€40.80 a bottle ex-trader). trader) and Lascombes (€49.20 a bottle ex-trader), both unchanged from the 2020 opening price.

The Pichon-Longueville Baron de Pauillac release at €110.40 a bottle ex-trader, was also offered for international trade at £1,320 a case of 12. It scored 90-92 points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW (The Wine Independent), 93 -95 points from Neal Martin, 94 from Jane Anson, 94-96+ from William Kelley (The Wine Advocate), 95-97 from Galloni, while our Bordeaux correspondent Colin Hay gave it 94-96, describing “lots of depth, concentration and density. However, according to Liv-ex, the 2012, 2015 and 2020 vintages offer better value for money than the 2021 version.

Lafon Rochet (€25.50 a bottle ex-negociant) down 1.9% from the 2020 opening price of €26, The 2017 and 2014 vintages offer value among older vintages. This wine seemed to divide critics, with Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW giving a score of 77-79 points, commenting on its “hollow” middle and “harsh herbaceous finish”, compared to William Kelley of Wine Advocate’s 89-91 points or Colin Hay’s 90-92, noting that it lacked “a bit of interest and complexity”.

Finally, Giscours and Lascombes came out, at €40.80 and (€49.20 a bottle ex-trader respectively.

See db’s en primeur vintage report here, with appellation-by-appellation reviews of Margaux, St Julien, Pessac-Léognan & Graves red and white, St Estephe & Haut-Médoc, Pauillac, Pomerol, St Emilion and Sauternes.

About Michael Brafford

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