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Wine Advocate - En Primeur 2022 Vintage

Wine Advocate has just recently published the scores on the 2022 vintage.

The two reviewers, William Kelley and Yohan Castaing, awarded three wines the top score of 99-100 points. 2022 strikes by its ‘potential greatness’ but also by its heterogeneity, according to Kelley.

As the trade returns from En Primeur tastings, the Wine Advocate has published its Bordeaux 2022 scores. This year, William Kelley was joined by Yohan Castaing in order to offer ‘deeper, better-researched and a more timely vision of contemporary Bordeaux’, according to the former.

For Kelley, the 2022 wines were ‘a surprise’. Following a growing season characterised by intense heat and drought, the critic was impressed by the wines’ ‘aromatic range and freshness’, their ‘textural refinement and charm’.

The quality of the wines produced are being coined heterogeneous. It is worth noting the quality of the second wines produced are of very high quality and that the very best are exhibiting similar structure to the Grand Vin counterparts. Prices are expected to be high, and concerns are evident for negociants buying allocations where they may not sell through to the end consumer. The interest rate rises over the last year have obviously caused mixed feelings. We will look at this in more detail shortly, however, lets look at some of the scores posted by the Wine Advocate so far;

Canon 2022 99-100 Wine Advocate
Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2022 99-100 Wine Advocate
Montrose 2022 99-100 Wine Advocate
Figeac 2022 98-100 Wine Advocate
Leoville Las Cases 2022 98-100 Wine Advocate
Troplong Mondot 2022 98-100 Wine Advocate
La Conseillante 2022 97-100 Wine Advocate
Latour 2022 97-100 Wine Advocate

When we look back at the Bordeaux 2021 vintage for the En Primeur, we note that it has been one that has not been very successful over the last few years. Here are some bullet points taken from the 2021 vintage;

- The 2021 vintage was the coolest and second wettest Bordeaux vintage of the last decade.
- Market conditions have been very favourable over the past two years, but storm clouds are gathering.
- The French and UK trade are seeing slower stock turn.
- Competition from other regions continues to impact Bordeaux’s share of secondary market trade.
- Producers are making conscious efforts to reverse the trend, but pricing will be the key determinant to the success of the forthcoming campaign.

The opportunity to price the 2021 vintage accordingly to stimulate the en primeur market was a miss. Whilst not a great vintage there was good potential for certain wines. Merchants sold less 2021's than they had for the 2020 vintage. Some sales were reported to have dropped by 60%. Yes the 2021 was a small vintage for volumes produced, and the dry and sweet wines were particularly affected here.

The overall trend resulted in the chateau releasing their 2021's at the same price as the 2020. Very little relative value was on offer.

Many found better opportunities among back vintages accordingly to a Liv-ex report. Another point worth noting here is that stock being released is restricted for the 2021, with some estates being down 20, 30% if not more on the previous years vintage stock. Yes it was a small vintage and a lot of estates lost a large proportion of their crop as a result of frost and mildew that damaged yields significantly.

Here is a conclusion provided by Liv-Ex for the 2021 campaign, will this resonate in to the 2022?

The 2021 campaign has done little to address the identity crisis of En Primeur – indeed it might possibly have worsened it.

This is a vintage that was destined for the dining tables, not decades in cellars. Now it is destined for discounts. Even before the end of the campaign, offers were appearing on the market up to 15% cheaper than their opening price. It would not be surprising to see higher discounts over the coming months and years.

While the châteaux suffered the triple whammy of lower yields, higher costs of production and a darkening economic outlook, they cannot continue to offer middle-of-the-road vintages at prices scarcely distinguishable from those they declare great and expect the international trade and their collectors to buy. Maintaining pricing levels and restricting stock may be regarded as part of a process of preserving brand equity for those on the inside looking out. But for those on the outside looking in, it appears nonsensical, self-defeating and, ultimately, a reason to stay away.

In the same week that the Bordeaux campaign wound up, with releases from Margaux, Mouton, Haut-Brion, Figeac, Calon-Ségur, Clos Fourtet and Cos d’Estournel – Burgundy had its highest ever share of weekly trade in the secondary market.

The 2019 campaign demonstrated that there was a willingness to cut prices in a period of great economic uncertainty. The economic circumstances during this campaign were arguably worse and the vintage nowhere near as good yet prices were kept at last year’s elevated level. It is confounding but the results were indeed predictable.

Liv-ex analysis is drawn from the world’s most comprehensive database of fine wine prices. The data reflects the real time activity of Liv-ex’s 580+ merchant members from across the globe. Together they represent the largest pool of liquidity in the world – currently £100m of bids and offers across 16,000 wines. Independent data, direct from the market.

Wine Advocate - En Primeur 2022 Vintage

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