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Bordeaux wines: 2014 vintage reviews and second wines in the spotlight

27th October 2016


Yesterday, UK wine traders enjoyed a tasting of Bordeaux 2014 at a Union of Bordeaux Grand Crus (UGC) event in London. All in all it was described as a “good” vintage that has yet to reach its maximum potential.

“It’s not quite up there in the rarefied heights of say, the 2001 or 2009, but it is what we call in the trade, ‘the business’.” said Neal Martin.

Top wines of the vintage are already showing 13.4% gains on average since En Primeur release – and prices are still rising. Despite talks of a less than adequate vintage year, it seems there is money to be made in the 2014s.

Top Bordeaux wines of 2014

The top movers are Petit Mouton, Carruades Lafite and Le Pin, rising 91.8%, 90.2% and 62.5% respectively. Pavillon Rouge and Clerc Milon follow with 55.4% and 54.3% growth.

Mouton Rothschild is the only First Growth among the top ten, gaining 41.1% since En Primeur release. Meanwhile, three second wines feature – including the top two.

Second wines of Bordeaux still climbing

The Second Wines 50 index has risen exponentially this year, gaining 28.5% to date, compared to 21.3% for the Fine Wine 50. The broader Bordeaux 500 index is up 17.7% over the same period.

As Jane Anson recalls, “ten years ago, nearly all second wines were available for between £15 and £30, a fraction of the first wine costs.” In July 2007, it was possible to buy 6.6 bottles of second wines – more than a six pack – for every bottle of the Grand Vin on average.

But the Bordelais’ “relentless search for quality” has made these figures a thing of the past. Liv-ex’s latest calculations make the present figure half of that – 3.3 bottles.

Take Carruades de Lafite as an example. In 2011, Chateau Lafite used only 38% of the estate’s overall harvest for its First Wine, Lafite Rothschild – 50% went to its second wine and 12% was declassified into its generic wine, Légende. Even in 2010, a great year for quality, a full 55% of the grapes went into Carruades. This has the effect of not only leaving the best grapes for its First Wine, Lafite Rothschild, but also of pushing the price of second wines higher and higher, as quality in these also rises.

The market’s recent boom is attributed to a frenzy of Asian brand buying as a result of the ever-weakening Sterling. With the Second Wines 50 still rising, anyone holding a six pack of Carruades de Lafite should be very happy indeed.

Second wines at Capital Vintners

It is uncertain how long the upward trend will last, but with second wines in increasing demand it is never too late to buy a bottle. Get in touch with one of our sales representatives for a confidential discussion of your requirements.

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