Quite a topical post this one, as I’m just on the train back into London on my way back from Bordeaux. I’ve been out there for three days travelling round with JB and a couple of others tasting the 2014 vintages from the great and the good of Bordeaux. And yes, before you ask, it is a tough life!
For anyone who doesn’t know what Primeurs are, they’re an early release of a portion of each Château’s yearly stock before they’ve been matured in barrels pre-bottling. So this week we were tasting the 2014 vintage, that’ll be put into barrels in 2015 and not released until 2016/17. Make sense?
The Châteaux get cash flow out of it. If they get money upfront for, say, 25%+ of their stock for the year, it helps with paying for the rather expensive process of buying all those new oak barrels that they age the wines in.
What do we get out of it as Billy Consumer? Well these days it’s all about access! Mere mortals like ourselves can get our hands on a few cases of pretty much whatever wine we want. You want a case of Château Latour? I’ll get you one. Angelus? No problem. The prices are set, and the trading is happening.
There used to be a guaranteed discount too, but since wine investors lost the plot in 2009/10, the prices set tend to be the RRPs on release in two years time. You might get lucky, but don’t count on it!
I’ve tasted about 200 wines in the past 72 hours. My mouth is dead. My taste buds have nothing left to give. The purple stains on my teeth are likely to be with me for some time. But it’s been a great trip, lots of promise for the vintage, and lots of new friends met along the way.
I’ll be spending next week writing up my notes for a 20h33 client release before trading opens in a couple of weeks. For anyone in the UK the (free) sign up is on www.20h33.co.uk. I’ll stick a highlights post on Please Bring Me My Wine at some point soon too.
For now though, I’m off to charge the toothbrush!