Vintage 2017 and 2016 En Primeur(Part 1)


Considering the recent disastrous spring frost in France, the extraordinary and outstanding 2016 En Primeurs is definitely be something in exceptional good value.

That spring frost was exhausting and terrible because particularly in the nights of 26 to 27th of April. April weather had been beautiful with hot and warm weather that the nature was about 10 days ahead of regular schedule. So the -2 to -4 degrees Celcius less than 'normalcy' during those 2 nights had a terrible negative impact on the vines: some vineyards totally or partially destroyed all over Bordeaux wine region.

That devastating impact is serious in particular for Saint-Emilion, Pessac-Leognan, Blaye, Entre-deux-Mers, but also Medoc.

Indeed Vintage 2017 is probably the worst frost since 1991 in Bordeaux region. Many other wine regions in France and in Europe have been affected. For sure, the year 2017 is bad enough for European vineyards.

On the brighter side, the sad 2017 will definitely have some influence on the current 2016 EP campaign especially for those estates who are afraid of almost losing their entire 2017 harvest but it is at present too fresh to give a final statement … and of course the situation is very different from one Chateau to another.

Back to 2016 En Primeur in Hong Kong which started well as we do not expect much, the past weeks were busy enough… not because of too many releases, the campaign is indeed starting slowly. Livrex sent out its valuation on 2016 wines 2 weeks ago; James Suckling has come out with some thrilling scores and reviews; Wine Advocate's will soon to follow; we will soon be getting into the thick of the releases. Local merchants with UK connections started with Cos(and its second wine) as well as Lynch Moussas. Drumming on a different beat, we included lots of wines of lesser fame with no less in quality and performance.

Keep an eye out for your favourites over the next few weeks, but there are already releases worth getting excited about. Chateau La Bridane( a humble St Julien) is a JS93, is releasing at $1760/12.

Some wine merchants will preach on the achievements on the First Growths. Some's strategy will be centering on some of the best values Super Second, with 3rd to 5th Growth. Taking the stance of drinking the best and best valued, we would suggest a road less travelled. Our great value favourites such as Lanessan(JS93), La Tour de By(JS90), Charmail(JS92), Bolaire(JS93) and Lynch Moussas(JS94) have emerged alongside with some of the Sauternes with highest cost performance. Please read Part 2 and the later suggestions.

Reasons to Buy 2016. We found 6 this time. And we will have more offer in Part 2 and offers that follow.

  1. The best vintage since 2010, with some claiming it to be the best since 1982

  2. Quality at par with 2015, 2010, 2009, 2005.

  3. Unique stylistically, as 2016 tastes smart with lower alcohol, even more elegance and fruit.

  4. Many estates produced their best wines ever

  5. A great year for the Left Bank, with Saint Estephe at its very best

  6. Alcohol levels are down almost a full 1%, making for a fresher overall style

  7. Great structure and concentration for extended ageing

  8. Despite the rise in prices, there are plenty of great value wines to stock up on

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