Bordeaux 2018: Mouton, Haut-Brion and Pavie

Mouton Rothschild, Haut-Brion and Pavie have all burst onto the scene today as the campaign heads towards its end game.

Following Margaux yesterday (11 June), fellow first growths Mouton and Haut-Brion have been released alongside Right Bank estate Pavie.

Both Mouton and Haut-Brion followed Margaux and released at €408.00 per bottle ex-négociant, meaning a case price of £5,112 (US$6,840/ HK$51,000) per dozen.

As both were released at the same price last campaign as well, today’s release is likewise a 17% increase on the 2017.

Both have been released with rather limited volumes, Mouton’s production levels were down a reported 30% on 2017 said Liv-ex and allocations were down 35-40% – this will also be partly due to a stated policy of releasing less en primeur.

The 2018 Mouton received a potential 100-points from James Suckling, 97-99+ from Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW and 94-97 from Antonio Galloni who called it “radiant and sensual”.

Its’ a pretty punchy price, cheaper than the market prices for the 2016, 2010 and 2009 though Wine Lister commented the “fly in the ointment” was its premium on the 2015 which was very highly rated.

As one of the most popular first growths however, there’s almost no doubt it will sell strongly.

Second label Petit Mouton was released at €168 p/b, a 17% increase on last year, with volumes down 45%. One of the best-performing second labels in the market only the 2017 and 2011 are cheaper.

Haut-Brion meanwhile (at the same price as Mouton) was well scored although Galloni was (as he was with La Mission from the same stable) less enamoured than some of his fellow critics, scoring it 93-96 while Suckling gave it 98-99 and Perrotti-Brown 97-99+.

More analytically, the 2018 is the most expensive vintage currently available bar the 2009 and 2010 and the 2015 and 2016 which have very strong scores from Neal Martin are currently sitting a shade under £5,000 a case. So the price is perhaps a little steep which may make it a little slower to sell through, thought Wine Lister.

The Haut-Brion Blanc was also released at €600 p/b the same as in 2016 and 2017 and while it may be one of the better whites produced in 2018 there’s unlikely to be a rush.

Second label Le Clarence at €102 p/b is likewise the most expensive vintage on the market bar none and while most of the first growth’s second wines are good performers in the secondary market, Le Clarence is something of an exception, making this price hard to justify.

St Emilion grand cru classé ‘A’, Pavie meanwhile did not release alongside Angelus as has been the pattern of many past campaigns.

Those able to recall the dim, distant past of April will remember Angelus kicking off its campaign early with a release price of €252 p/b.

It was a bold gamble and one that largely paid off with many merchants reporting they have sold out.

Pavie meanwhile looks like less of a sure thing. Released at €282 p/b it’s only 2% up on the 2017 offer which is something of a nod to the market until you see that the 2018 is nonetheless the second-most expensive available vintage behind the 2005 (by a hair) at £3,504 per dozen.

Perrotti-Brown was hugely impressed giving it a 97-100 point score, while Suckling gave it 98-99.

Galloni gave it 94-97 and, has he has with quite a few wines this vintage, praised its potential but seemed to be rather defer his judgement until the time comes to taste the wines in bottle. “Can’t wait,” he wrote though buyers may feel they can.

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