Palmer, Pape Clément and More: 2018 Bordeaux Wine Futures Prices and Analysis

Many of the wines are superb. Will the pricing be tempting enough for consumers?
Palmer, Pape Clément and More: 2018 Bordeaux Wine Futures Prices and Analysis
Deepix Studio Thomas Duroux's Palmer 2018 earned a potential 97-100 points. But will the price attract buyers?
May 14, 2019

Overzealous Bordeaux fans may have been disappointed when, after Château Angélus released its 2018 futures three weeks ago, other top names didn’t follow. Timing for this year’s campaign has been unpredictable. Some future releases have slowly trickled in: Branaire-Ducru of St.-Julien, Sauternes producers such as Filhot, Coutet and Suduiraut, as well as a small handful of others. But it hasn’t been enough to spark consumer and industry interest.

The pace picked up this past week, with a surge of releases from Château Palmer, Beychevelle, Pavie-Macquin, Calon-Ségur, Malescot-St.-Exupéry and Pape Clément. What remains to be seen is if others will follow suit, or wait until after Vinexpo this week, creating another lull in the campaign.

The 2018 futures seem to be priced higher than 2017s so far, but comparable to the high-quality 2016 and 2015 vintages. The current strong dollar compared to the euro is also making prices attractive at leading U.S. retailers that Wine Spectator tracks.

"What is clear is that the wines have everything an American consumer will enjoy: complexity, depth, length and richness," Edouard Moueix, executive vice president at Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix, told Wine Spectator. "So, if the prices remain at the level of or below the prices of 2016 … I think we should be able to get the attention of some Bordeaux lovers and possibly others."

Many 2016s, the last high-quality vintage, are still stuck in the system at their opening price, indicating they were released as futures at too high a price to attract consumers. If châteaus turn a blind eye to the realities of the market and get overzealous with pricing the 2018s, the wines, despite high quality, could be stuck as well.

As for the wines, the 2018 vintage is rife with superb options. Overall, 2018 is better than 2015 and 2016 as it is a more consistent vintage, though there are high points in both of those earlier vintages that sometimes best their 2018 counterparts.

Following a wet and humid spring, mildew pressures resulted in some crushing crop losses at estates in 2018. But the vintage was saved by a warm, dry summer and idyllic harvest conditions that allowed producers who culled their crop well to harvest some spectacular fruit.

Wine Spectator website members can check out James Molesworth's preliminary scores and tasting notes for the top 2018 Bordeauxs; and read his reports on more than a dozen visits to top châteaus.

May 14: Palmer, Pape-Clement and others release at attractive prices

At €240, Château Palmer’s 2018 futures are 25 percent above last year’s ex-négoce price of €192, but identical to the 2016 futures. While retailers are just starting to offer it, as of today the average retail price is $340, or $4,080 a case, up 21.1 percent over the 2017 initial retail price and also higher than the 2016 initial retail price, but lower than current average prices for the 2016, 2015 and 2010 vintages.

In St.-Julien, Branaire-Ducru released its 2018 futures at €38.40 per bottle ex-négoce, up 14.3 percent over 2017. The initial retail price stands at $55, which is a 7.3 percent increase over 2017, but the exact same initial price as the 2016 vintage, which has risen to $67 since.

Beychevelle came out at €60, a 13.6 percent increase over last year. The initial retail average is $86, a 12 percent increase over 2017 and 2016’s initial retail of $77. However, it’s 25 percent less than the current 2016 price and 37 percent less than the 2010 price .

Malescot-St.-Exupéry in Margaux at €40.80 ex-négoce is up 17.2 percent over last vintage, although initial retail is $57, which is only a 6.5 percent increase and a small decrease from the 2016 initial price of $58.

St.-Estèphe’s Calon-Ségur is up a whopping 20 percent, at €72 per bottle ex-négoce. Unlike the other châteaus so far with smaller increases if any, its U.S. initial retail price has increased 23.6 percent, to $108 over 2017’s $88. It is also 13 percent higher than the 2015 current retail price of $96.

Pavie Macquin released at €52.80, a slight increase of 2.3 percent from 2017. As for U.S. retail, the futures are nearly identical to the 2017 price, selling for around $75.

In Pessac-Léognan, Pape Clément released last week at €66 per bottle, which is 7.8 percent higher than last year’s release. But the initial retail price of $92 is only slightly above 2017’s $91 and 2016’s $90. The Pape Clément white also came out, at €98.40, a small increase over last year’s release, and is selling at retail for about $137.

Check out Wine Spectator's "How (and Why) to Buy Wine Futures" for more on the benefits and pitfalls of en primeur purchases.

Below you will find prices and analysis on the campaign, with prices given both ex-négoce, which means before importers and retailers add markup, and average retail price, which is compiled from Wine Spectator's tracking of leading U.S. retailers. It's what you can expect to pay.

For more on the 2018 Bordeaux vintage, watch for James Molesworth's full report in the July 31 issue of Wine Spectator. For all the latest releases, check out our price chart below.

2018 Futures Prices

These estates represent a selection of leading wineries. Our ratings are potential scores based on barrel samples. Retail prices are an average of trusted retailers we follow. Prices for the 2018s are listed alongside the current prevailing retail price for Bordeaux's recent benchmark vintages, so you can measure where the wines are vis-à-vis those currently on retail shelves.

Data compiled by Cassia Schifter.

Château 2018 Score 2018 initial futures offering at U.S. retail 2017 initial futures offering at U.S. retail 2017-2018 retail change Current 2016 price at U.S. retail Current 2015 price at U.S. retail
Angélus 95-98 $352 $392 -10% $430 $429
Beychevelle 94-97 $86 $77 +12% $115 $117
Brainaire-Ducru 94-97 $55 $51 +8% $67 $69
Calon-Segur 96-99 $108 $88 +23% $145 $96
Canon 96-99 $NA $96 -% $218 $347
Canon-La Gaffelière 95-98 $NA $80 -% $109 $118
Cheval-Blanc NYR $NA $600 -% $778 $899
Clos Fourtet 96-99 $NA $104 -% $139 $142
Cos-d'Estournel NYR $NA $152 -% $233 $212
Ducru-Beaucaillou 96-99 $NA $172 -% $226 $202
Figeac 97-100 $NA $172 -% $254 $227
Giscours 93-96 $NA $61 -% $71 $84
Grand Puy Lacoste 95-98 $NA $76 -% $93 $85
Haut-Brion NYR $NA $492 -% $652 $669
Hosanna 95-98 $171 $166 +3% $159 $188
L'Èglise Clinet 95-98 $NA $239 -% $329 $284
La Fleur-Pétrus 96-99 $NA $227 -% $239 $276
La Mission Haut-Brion NYR $NA $332 -% $501 $503
Lafite Rothschild NYR $NA $597 -% $833 $754
Léoville Barton 96-99 $NA $77 -% $109 $112
Léoville Las Cases 97-100 $NA $206 -% $325 $241
Léoville Poyferré 95-98 $NA $79 -% $118 $118
Les Carmes Haut-Brion 95-98 $NA $80 -% $180 $105
Lynch-Bages 96-99 $NA $109 -% $163 $153
Malescot-St.-Exupéry 93-96 $57 $53 +7% $72 $106
Margaux NYR $NA $500 -% $728 $1,856
Mouton-Rothschild NYR $NA $499 -% $722 $643
Palmer 97-100 $340 $281 +21% $365 $377
Pape Clément 95-98 $92 $91 +1% $109 $252
Pavie 96-99 $NA $392 -% $423 $402
Pavie-Macquin 95-98 $75 $75 0% $100 $95
Pétrus NYR $NA $2,950 -% $3,225 $3,689
Pichon Baron 95-98 $NA $134 -% $180 $181
Pichon Lalande 97-100 $NA $127 -% $222 $190
Rauzan-Ségla 96-99 $NA $77 -% $101 $160
Smith-Haut-Lafite 95-98 $NA $99 -% $129 $137
Talbot 93-96 $NA $56 -% $67 $72
Troplong-Mondot 95-98 $NA $103 -% $166 $143
Trotanoy 97-100 $NA $330 -% $379 $265
Valandraud 96-99 $176 $150 +17% $200 $189
Vieux Château Certan NYR $NA $238 -% $356 $359

NYR means a wine has not been submitted for review yet. NA means a wine has not been released or is not sold in sufficient quantities by U.S. retailers yet to determine an average price.

April 23: Angélus rings the opening bell

Heading into this campaign, the current exchange rate of $1.12 to 1 euro has made the dollar 8 percent stronger than during last year's campaign.

Angélus released its 2018 at 252 euros per bottle ex-négoce, a drop of 8.7 percent from the 2017 and identical to its 2015 on release. The U.S. retail price is around $352 per bottle, a drop of 10 percent from 2017 (varying exchange rates are behind the difference in decline). It's a price devised to spark enthusiasm. "It's good that it came out at the 2015 price, which is where the campaign should be pitched ideally as a whole," said one négociant. Today, the 2015s and 2016s are both selling for about $430 per bottle, making the 2018 futures attractive.

More Bordeaux Barrel Tastings 2018

See More

Bordeaux Vintners Excited About 2018 Wines, Uncertain About Futures Campaign

Apr 19, 2019

The 2018 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: A Right Bank Bonanza, Part 2

Apr 5, 2019

The 2018 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: A Right Bank Bonanza, Part 1

Apr 4, 2019

The 2018 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: Two More Firsts, and the 2018 Poster Child

Apr 3, 2019

2018 Bordeaux Barrel Tasting: Red Bordeaux by Appellation

Apr 2, 2019

France Bordeaux News Bordeaux Barrel Tastings 2018 Collecting Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

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