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2017 Bordeaux Wine Futures Prices and Analysis: Lafite and Haut-Brion Pack a Punch

First-growth wineries are starting to release futures; Will the price entice?
Photo by: Courtesy of Domaine Clarence Dillon
Château Haut-Brion joined its fellow first-growths in releasing 2017 futures.

James Molesworth
Posted: May 9, 2018

Updated June 15.

Will Bordeaux's top wineries cut prices significantly, in a bid to interest consumers in a vintage that is not as eagerly anticipated as the previous two? Or will they keep prices high, assuming that even if consumers decline to buy the wines now, they'll buy them later on release?

The 2017 vintage should yield many excellent wines, but it is by no means in the league of 2015 and 2016. Conspiring against prices are the fact that volumes are low: Following a devastating April frost, Bordeaux's 2017 crop is 40 percent smaller than 2016's. To make things worse for American consumers, the current exchange rate ($1:€1.17, as of June 5) is less attractive than during last year's campaign.

My report on the vintage includes ratings for over 250 wines, all based on blind tastings. (Learn more about Wine Spectator's tasting methodology.) Overall, the reds are fresh and pure, built on bright acidity rather than tannins, providing charming wines that will drink well in the near to mid-term. Dry whites are superb, and the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac are outstanding. But consumers will need to pick carefully, as a gray and dry summer resulted in a heterogeneous collection of wines that lack the punch and drive of great years.

Below you'll find regular updates 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. Prices for the 2017s are listed besides the current prevailing retail price for 2015s, so you can gauge where the wines are vis-à-vis the most recently bottled vintage now on retail shelves.

For more on the 2017 Bordeaux vintage, watch for my full report in the July 31 issue of Wine Spectator.

First-growths galore

Mouton-Rothschild opened the gates—since it released its first tranche of futures on June 12, its fellow first-growths—Margaux, Haut-Brion and Lafite Rothschild—have all followed suit. (Château Latour no longer participates in en primeurs.) Margaux released its 2017 on June 13 at 348 euros per bottle ex-négociant, down 17 percent on the 2016 release price. It is being sold at leading U.S. retailers for an average of $505 a bottle, or $6,060 per case, a 10 percent decrease on the 2016. It’s also far cheaper than the 2015, currently on sale for $1,700. That wine was the wine of the 2015 vintage. The 2017 offers the first-growth’s usual, exemplary quality.

Haut-Brion started June 14 off by releasing its 2017 futures for 348 euros per bottle ex-négociant, down 17 percent on the 2016 release. (The estate also released its white wine, at 600 euros per bottle, unchanged from 2016.) The red is selling for $495 at U.S. retail, $5,940 per case, down 10 percent on the 2016. Tasting all five first-growths in barrel, I gave the preliminary edge to Haut-Brion and Lafite Rothschild.

Lafite released its first tranche the same day, pricing the wine at a price of 420 euros per bottle ex-négociant, down 8 percent on the 2016 release. It is selling for about $600 per bottle, $7,200 per case, at U.S. retail, down 9 percent on the 2016.

The first-growths play by their own rules in any campaign, and they all chose to drop prices roughly 10 percent from last year. Many of the region’s other top wineries aimed for 15 to 20 percent. La Mission Haut-Brion released its futures at 240 euros per bottle ex-négociant, 28.6 percent lower than the opening price of the 2016. It’s selling at retail for about $330, a 24 percent reduction. The white wine was released at 480 euros, identical to both 2015 and 2016.

Ducru Beaucaillou released its 2017 at 120 euros per bottle ex-négociant, the same price as the 2015 release and down 13.8 percent on the 2016 release. It’s selling for $172 per bottle, down 9 percent from last year. The wine earned a preliminary 93 to 96 points based on its barrel tasting. Fans of the property can buy the 97-point 2015 today for $190.

Moving to the Right Bank, Angélus released its 2017 at 276 euros per bottle ex-négociant, down just 6 percent on the 2016 price. With the current exchange rate, the wine is at retail for $392 per bottle, up 3 percent from the 2016. Frost reduced volumes by about 20 percent in 2017, but the owners have also decided to reduce the amount of wine being sold as futures. Angélus 2017 earned a preliminary 93 to 96 points based on its barrel tasting. Pavie released its 2017 at 276 euros per bottle ex-négociant, down 6.1 percent on the release price of the 2016. It’s available at U.S. retail for an average price of $392, also up 3 percent on the 2016. The wine earned a preliminary 93 to 96 points based on its barrel tasting.

Château Figeac released its 2017 at 120 euros per bottle ex-négociant, down 20 percent on the 2016 release. Leading U.S. retailers are offering the wine, which earned a preliminary 92 to 95 points based on its barrel tasting, for $172, down 15 percent from the 2016.

For all the latest releases, check out our price chart below.

Additional updates and analysis after the chart. The accompanying 2017 price chart for top châteaus will be updated as new releases are announced.

2017 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. To provide a comparison, we're showing prices for 2015 futures and current prices for the 2010 vintage, a classic year that is currently available.

Data compiled by Cassia Schifter.

Château 2017 Score 2017 initial futures offering at U.S. retail 2016 initial futures offering at U.S. retail 2016-2017 retail change Current 2015 price at U.S. retail
Angélus 93-96 $392 $380 +3% $384
Beychevelle 90-93 $77 $77 0% $101
Calon-Segur 91-94 $88 $91 -3% $85
Canon 93-96 $96 $100 -4% $350
Canon-La Gaffelière 90-93 $80 $90 -11% $99
Cheval-Blanc NYR $NA $690 - $808
Clinet 92-95 $84 $102 -18% $157
Clos Fourtet 93-96 $104 $115 -10% $129
Cos-d'Estournel NYR $152 $163 -7% $188
Ducru-Beaucaillou 93-96 $172 $189 -9% $193
Figeac 92-95 $172 $202 -15% $216
Giscours 89-92 $61 $62 -2% $78
Gruaud-Larose 91-94 $75 $73 +3% $77
Haut-Bailly NYR $104 $117 -14% $142
Haut-Brion NYR $495 $551 -10% $647
Hosanna 91-94 $166 $160 +4% $160
La Conseillante NYR $172 $201 -14% $185
La Fleur-Pétrus 93-96 $NA $234 - $239
La Mission Haut-Brion NYR $331 $433 -24% $465
Lafite Rothschild NYR $597 $657 -9% $628
Léoville Barton 93-96 $77 $87 -11% $106
Léoville Las Cases 93-96 $206 $242 -15% $224
Léoville Poyferré 92-95 $79 $91 -13% $97
Lynch-Bages 92-95 $109 $131 -17% $142
Malescot-St.-Exupéry 90-93 $53 $58 -9% $98
Margaux NYR $505 $559 -10% $1,706
Montrose 91-94 $137 $149 -8% $159
Mouton-Rothschild NYR $499 $549 -9% $600
Palmer 92-95 $281 $314 -11% $353
Pape Clément 91-94 $91 $90 +1% $121
Pavie 93-96 $392 $379 +3% $394
Pavie-Macquin 92-95 $75 $80 -6% $90
Pichon Baron 92-95 $134 $155 -14% $167
Pichon Lalande 92-95 $127 $162 -22% $159
Pontet-Canet 90-93 $115 $144 -20% $129
Rauzan-Ségla 91-94 $77 $83 -7% $151
Smith-Haut-Lafite 91-94 $99 $106 -7% $115
Valandraud 93-96 $150 $172 -13% $204
Vieux Château Certan NYR $NA $262 - $357

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.

June 12: Mouton-Rothschild leads a bevy of new releases

The 2017 futures campaign has hit the gas pedal this week. Château Mouton-Rothschild released its 2017 futures today at 348 euros per bottle ex-négociant, a 17.1 percent decrease on the 2016 release price. It is selling at leading U.S. retailers for $504 a bottle, or $6,048 per case, an 8 percent decrease on the 2016 and nearly $100 less than the 2015. While the 2017 has not been formally rated yet, a barrel tasting at the château revealed a promising wine.

Several other top names released today at more attractive prices. Léoville Las Cases released its first tranche of 2017 at 144 euros per bottle ex-négociant, down 20 percent on the 2016 release. Leading U.S. retailers are offering it for about $208 per bottle, $2,496 per case, a 14 percent dip from 2016. The wine earned a preliminary 93 to 96 points based on a blind tasting of a barrel sample, down from the 2016’s 97- to 100-point preliminary score. The 2014, a similar quality wine, is on sale currently for about $160.

Pontet-Canet released its 2017 at 80 euros per bottle ex-négociant, down 26 percent on the 2016 release. With the current exchange rate, the average U.S. retail price is $116 per bottle, $1,392 per case, 14 percent less than the 2016 release price and attractive to fans of this estate, which employs biodynamic farming methods. The wine earned a preliminary 90 to 93 points based on its barrel tasting. The 2014, rated 93 points, is on sale at retail for about $95.

June 5: Can Pichon Lalande’s impressive price wake up consumers?

The trickle of big-name releases in the 2017 en primeur campaign has failed to spark impressive sales so far. But a top name in Pauillac released its first tranche today and made a significant price cut. It's an eye-opening drop, but will it be enough to spark interest in the vintage with buyers?

Pauillac second-growth Château Pichon Longueville Lalande released its 2017 grand vin at 90 euros ex-négoce. Leading U.S. retailers are offering it at a price of approximately $129 per bottle, or $1,548 a case, a 20 percent decrease from the 2016. The wine earned a preliminary 92 to 95 points based on its barrel tasting, showing the sleek tannins and fresh acidity that mark the vintage in general. General director Nicolas Glumineau has helped raise the bar at this historic property in recent years, and the 2017 price falls squarely on the sane side of the price ledger, with most wines released so far coming out with drops of around 15 percent versus the 2016s.

On the other side of the page is Château Gruaud-Larose (91-94), which released its first tranche yesterday at 51.75 euros per bottle ex-négoce, down just 2 percent on the 2016 release price. At the current exchange rate, that means an average U.S. retail price of $77 a bottle, $924 per case, an increase of 5 percent from 2016. The 2014 can be bought today for slightly less.

Other wines releasing this week so far include St.-Estèphe's Lafon-Rochet (87-90) at an average of $42 U.S. retail and Pomerol's Petit-Village (91-94) at $75 per bottle.

May 22: Lynch-Bages offers an attractive price

The 2017 en primeur campaign continues to churn forward, gaining some momentum this week with the release of Château Lynch-Bages. The château is a familiar name to American consumers, many of whom are likely to be cheered by the release at 75 euros ex-négoce, which translates to a U.S. retail offering of about $107, or $1,284 per case. It's down 18 percent from the 2016's release price and well below the 2015's current average retail price of $142 at leading U.S. retailers.

Pauillac was one of the few Bordeaux appellations in '17 to be spared the frost damage that ravaged other areas—Pauillac's '17 crop is the same size as in '16. And along with St.-Julien, Pauillac offers some of the vintage's best wines. Lynch-Bages earned 92 to 95 points for its '17 barrel sample. For a blue-chip, ageworthy estate, this is a very square price and another good harbinger for the '17 futures market in general.

May 17: Clinet, Beycheville and Malescot St.-Exupéry—the campaign picks up

Bordeaux came back from a week off, but no tidal wave of futures releases hit the market. Some notable châteaus did announce prices, offering hints about what consumers can expect this year.

Most wineries have been reducing prices, with decreases ranging from 6 to 22 percent. But because of the weak dollar ($1:1.23 euros today), the cuts must surpass 10 percent to make a significant impact on U.S. prices. The appeal of the 2017s also depends heavily on the wine: Some producers are offering good value for a less-than-perfect vintage; others are offering slim price cuts on wines that don’t measure up to 2016. Buyer be smart.

Château Clinet released its first tranche today. The 2017 (92-95 points) has been released at 56 euros per bottle, ex-négociant, a 22.2 percent decrease on the 2016 price. It’s at leading retailers for about $80 a bottle, or $960 per case. That’s 20 percent less than the 2016 hit the market at, and well under the current $157 retail price of the 2015. This could be a good value for fans of Pomerol.

Château Beychevelle (90-93) debuted May 16 at 52.80 euros per bottle, ex-négociant, down 6.7 percent on the 2016 price. Thanks to the weak dollar, leading retailers are offering it for $76 a bottle, $912 a case, nearly identical to the 2016 release price of $77. This vintage of Beychevelle is not as promising as the 2016.

Malescot St.-Exupéry (90-93) was released at 34.80 euros and is selling for $53 per bottle, $636 per case, at leading U.S. retailers. The 2016 was released at $58, making this a 9 percent decrease. The 2015 currently sells for $98. The Margaux property continues to offer strong value.

Other prominent names to hit the market this week include Duhart Milon ($70 at retail), Malartic-Lagravière (90-93, $50), Domaine de Chevalier ($60) and Talbot (90-93, $55), as well as sweet wines from Suduiraut (92-95, $65) and Rieussec ($61), a sign that the campaign may hit full speed next week.

May 9: The campaign's cautious start

Châteaus Palmer and Valandraud were the first notable red wines to hit the Place de Bordeaux, and in the weeks since, a few other futures have trickled out. Last week saw Châteaus Pape Clément, Batailley and Langoa Barton join the campaign.

Both Pape Clément (91-94 points based on a blind tasting of its barrel sample) and Valandraud (93-96) showed restraint in their pricing, with Pape Clément at 61.20 euros ex-cellar, a 7 percent decrease from the 2016. But thanks to a weaker dollar, the wine is selling at leading retailers for about $90 a bottle, or $1,080 a case, identical to 2016 futures. It's lower than the 2015, currently selling for $120.

Valandraud released at 100 euros, a 22 percent drop on 2016. It's selling at leading retailers for $150 a bottle, $1,800 a case, less than the 2016s, which debuted at $172, and the current price of $204 for 2015.

Palmer's early and eye-opening release of 192 euros a bottle was a 20 percent drop from 2016. It's selling for $284 a bottle, $3,408 a case, at top U.S. retailers, 10 percent less than the 2016 futures did and a big drop from the 2015, selling for $353 now.

Other notable releases so far include Châteaus Batailley (89-92), Dauzac (90-93, and an up and comer worth your attention), Langoa Barton (90-93) and Ormes de Pez (88-91). Langoa released at 31 euros per bottle ex-négoce, which means U.S. retail offerings are showing up around $47 per bottle (en primeur sales are typically only offered by retailers in lots of 6 or 12 bottles). Dauzac released at 30 euros, resulting in an initial U.S. retail average of $45 per bottle.

Additional reporting by Mitch Frank.


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Todd Wielar
VA —  June 15, 2018 6:03pm ET
Do you realize that the prices you quote are impossible unless you are a retailer in a state that can direct import and self-distribute? The 1st tranche price for Pavie, for example, is 276 Euros per bottle. You quote an exchange rate of 1.17, but that does not count the fees we pay. Realistically, that exchange would be 1.21. So, before the bottle leaves the Chateau, it is $334. $336 once we add shipping and taxes. If the importer works on 5% profit and the distributor works on 10% profit - which most accountants out there would cringe at - that means the bottle comes to me, the retailer, at $399. Even if I add a mere 3% to cover my credit card transaction fees, my price is $411.

Your price of $392 is impossible except for the select few retailers who have the volume and can legally self-import.

I recognize that is not your problem - it is mine. And consumers around the country. However, please do not state that your prices reflect "Leading US Retailers". Be more honest about the system, and explain that your prices are from a select group of retailers. Your blanket statement casts a black cloud over the 99.9% of retailers in this country who do not have the legal ability to offer these prices. You diminish our reputation in the eyes of customers nationwide, and help push the consolidation of wine into a few hands. Articles like this reinforce "wine as a commodity", and further weaken the value of hard-working small businesses in the industry.

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