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Bordeaux En Primeur

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En Primeur
  • Bordeaux

    2014 Vintage Report

    After the more complex 2013 and its challenging conditions, this vintage was a refreshing comeback, even though much of the growing year saw equally difficult weather patterns. Although by no means a great vintage in the realms of 2005 or 2000, it is still being seen as the best since 2010. Nature's timing was kinder this year and provided fine weather for flowering, which ensured a good-sized Merlot crop and a glorious Indian summer which countered the cool and damp weather of late spring and summer.

    Described as "miraculous" by Tristan Kressman of Château Latour-Martillac, it was this sunny

    autumn that saved the vintage, and although it may have come just a little too late for some of the fast–ripening Merlot plots, it brought the Cabernets around for some exceptional ripe fruit. It was a vintage full of extremes and unexpected turns which made planning ahead a challenge. As always, it is those who took risks, banked on a little luck and made the most of the weather that produced the most interesting wines.

    The winter was mild and gave way to an unseasonably warm and wet spring and early summer which caused headaches trying to keep the vines healthy against increasing

  • Bordeaux 1

    disease pressure. Budburst was a little early and there was a fine spell of weather for a text-book flowering in June before it reverted to months of cool, grey days with rain and mist. On return from the summer break at the end of August, there was a distinct lack of optimism as the cold rain drenched and sunlight was in scarce supply. The grapes began to swell with little sign of ripening.

    Finally summer arrived at the beginning of September and a brisk wind dried all in its path as warm weather finally prompted a long, slow ripening period. This continued through the month and on into October to benefit the brave players of the waiting game.

    Overall harvest took around five weeks

    from 8th September for the whites through into early October. This long ripening period was possibly better suited to the long-haul Cabernets rather than the sprinter Merlots, thus potentially favouring the Left Bank over the Right, although Merlots grown on clay and gravel seemed to do very well. It appears to have been a year for the Cabernet Francs in particular and the Cabernet Sauvignons look to be rich, concentrated and deep.

    We tasted extensively from all appellations to establish our overall view of the vintage and to determine our offer this year. There are some wonderful and some outstanding wines from the classed growths, but once again we felt that there is some real quality and value to be found

  • En Primeur 2015

    among the "Petits Châteaux".

    On the Left Bank, we felt the northern appellations benefitted more than those further south as they were a little drier for longer. Tannins are silky and there is a wonderful richness and complexity from the Cabernets that offer precision and elegance. Nicolas Glumineau of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande described it as "a very Pauillac vintage, very civilised and true".

    Although many of the wines are showing very well in their youth, 2014 is about longevity, power and finesse. Alcohol levels are good and there is a freshness to the acidity that hints at a long future.

    Dry whites from Bordeaux are an often under-rated style, but there are plenty that deserve to be discovered by a wider audience. From 100% Sauvignon Blancs with pure lime fruit and grassy, herbal aromas, to richer, barrel-aged wines that combine the racy aromatics of Sauvignon Blanc with weightier, fleshier Semillon, Bordeaux whites can adapt to almost any drinking occasion. 2014 was another good vintage for Bordeaux white.

    The Sauvignon Blancs are pure, poised and elegant in style, with enough charming fruit for early drinking and the fresh acidity that will allow graceful ageing.

  • En Primeur 2015

    Semillon is particularly ripe and rich in 2014, with real weight and power. Barrel aged whites from this vintage should, therefore, have all the ingredients to ensure really good development in bottle.

    The good weather at flowering came a little too late for Semillon, so Sauternes and Barsac yields are very low indeed this year. It was touch and go at harvest whether Botrytis ('noble rot') would kick in or not and finally in early October it ran rife through the vines.

    "Quantities are as low as the quality is great" notes Aline Baly of Château Coutet. Very fresh, very intense and beautifully balanced. The long dry spell allowed for a degree of drying of the

    grapes before botrytis struck, thus increasing concentration and richness.

    Although this is a year that is encouraging in its above quality impression but we have again shown a caution in the depth of our range as we understand the importance of offering you wines that are both good in quality and in value. We were very pleased with what we found and we have considered carefully what to include in our offer.

    Xenia Irwin MW - 15 April 2015
  • Bordeaux

    A glimpse at the 2014 vintage

    Read our short notes below for a snippet on what is promised to be a better year for Bordeaux. Check back, we have a more detailed vintage analysis in the making. Xenia Irwin MW, Wine Buyer at Waitrose Cellar. 31st March 2015

    Buyers comments from Château Mouton Rothschild 31st March 2015
    The first tasting of the first growths this year and it is looking good. Plenty of weight and good to see ripe Cabernet this year.

    Buyers comments from Pessac Léognan 31st March 2015
    Looking very elegant with pretty fruit. Pessac Léognan is much more structured with some tough tannins. 2014 is a definite treat after last year, though not a "great".

    Buyers comments from Château Pontet Canet 31st March 2015
    Best of the day, showing an absolute treat. All silk and elegance. One of our favourites and showing its pedigree yet again.

  • Bordeaux 1

    Buyers comments from Ducru Beaucaillou
    1st April 2015
    The fresh bright style seems to be a bit of a theme of 2014, and Ducru is doing it nicely. Ripe, fine texture and daisy fresh.

    Buyers comments from Château Lynch Bages
    1st April 2015
    Cabernet showing its strength again with perfume and power.

    Buyers comments from Château Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac 1st April 2015
    Lovely people and lovely wines. Good to see a bit more tightly coiled tannins with an eye to the future.

    Buyers comments from Château Margaux
    1st April 2015
    The reds were excellent as expected, all harmony and pretty tannins. However the great surprise was their white wine which was seriously exceptional. It is such a shame they make such a tiny amount!

  • En Primeur 2015

    Buyers comments from Château Haut Brion
    2nd April 2015
    Some of the more serious and future-proof wines we have seen. Showing very well indeed.

    Buyers comments from Château Ausone
    2nd April 2015
    This wine seems to have overcome the problems seen by many on the Right Bank with some very lovely fruit and great style.

    Buyers comments from Château Jean Faure
    2nd April 2015
    A bit of an unknown from Saint Emilion. We heard a tip off and tasted. Seems be something rather special....

How to buy En Primeur?

Stefan Sanchez

1. Place your order with our Cellar Specialists or online.
(All orders exclude duty and VAT)

Wine certificates

2. You will receive a certificate to confirm your payment and orders.

En Primeur Chateau

3. Once the Chateau has released your wine, it will then be shipped to the UK in Autumn 2017 (approximately)

Wine warehouse

4. Your case will be delivered to you or we can help you arrange storage. (Payment of VAT and duty are now due)

NEW to En Primeur?

  • En Primeur house

    What is En Primeur?
En primeur is the term used across the industry for buying wine before it has been bottled.  Think of it as “wine futures”.

    Why should I buy En Primeur?
    If you’re thinking of starting a cellar collection or are looking to put some wine away to drink in several (2-5) or many (5+) years time En Primeur is a great way to buy wine.  Theoretically, En Primeur prices are the cheapest you will be able to ever buy the wine.

    How does the Bordeaux system work? 
Each year in the spring following the previous harvest chateaux produce samples for the trade to taste.  These wines are then made available to merchants to buy to then be sold on to customers.

    How much can I buy?

    In theory, as much as you like.  However, because of the popularity of certain wines we may only be allowed to purchase a small number of cases from the chateau.  If this is the case, we will put a message on the product page informing you if there is a maximum case per customer limit.

    I’d like to start a wine collection, what do you suggest? Much of this will be governed by your budget and/or storage limitations not to mention when you'd like to start drinking the wines.  Our Cellar Specialists are the best people to discuss this with and they would be happy to guide you through the process.

  • Are there any hidden costs?
Not hidden, but when the wine is bought the price paid is known as “In Bond” which means without duty or VAT.

    Consequently, when the wine is shipped, and if you wish to have your wine delivered to your house, you will have to pay the prevailing duty and VAT rates before you can take delivery. Duty is currently roughly £12.50 per case of 6 and VAT 20%.

    On a case of 6 bottles purchased for £100 - the "release" fee would be approximately £35 to pay. (£100+£12.50+20%=£135) - Duty is added before VAT - the government don't miss a trick!

    What’s storage and how does this work?
    We have a relationship in place with Vinotheque in Burton-upon-Trent to offer a storage service to our customers.  If you wish to store your wines for several years prior to popping the cork and aren’t lucky enough to own a house with a Cellar or a custom built wine storage system then this is the best option for you.

    Vinotheque is a temperature controlled storage facility that will keep your wine in optimum cellar conditions and allow the wine to age properly.  The wine is stored “under bond” so the duty and VAT cost  only applies when you wish to have the wine delivered to you when you wish to drink it.  There is an annual storage charge of approximately £12 per case of 12 wines.

    How do you guarantee the quality of the wine I buy?

    Waitrose Buyer’s have been tasting the barrel samples for many years and are skilled at picking out the best wines of the vintage.

    They will only buy wines that they are happy with and you can be re-assured that the wine you will be buying represents excellent value for money at all price points.

Why buy from Waitrose Cellar?

En Primeur vineyard
  • Cases of six
    Waitrose is one of few merchants to sell Bordeaux 2014 in cases of six, rather than cases of twelve. This offers a great opportunity to start a collection or sample wines from different producers for half the normal outlay.
  • Professional cellarage
    Professional cellarage can be arranged with our fine wine storage partner Vinotheque; a simple and secure way to store your wines. Call and speak to our wine specialists for more details.
  • A range of price points
    We have no tie-ins to particular Château, ensuring that the range selected truly represents the best wines and greatest value at all prices.
  • No hidden costs
    Waitrose En Primeur prices exclude VAT and Duty but include shipping from Bordeaux straight to your door (within mainland UK).
  • Highly experienced buying team
    We pride ourselves on having some of the best people in the industry buying our wines, including 3 Masters of Wine. Our wealth of experience and expertise in the wine trade shines through in our range.

Register your interest with our wine specialists

Waitrose Cellar wine specialists