Bordeaux Futures 2021: Highlight Releases from Week#1 (Plus Barton Releases!)
Posted on: 05/25/22 3:50 PM
The 2021 Bordeaux futures campaign has jumped into life over the past week or so. There hasn’t been an enormous amount of media hype this year, I think partly after the exhaustion of three star vintages 2018/2019/2020 in a row. However, I’m genuinely excited by the wines, they are balanced, restrained, and of an ‘old school’ low alcohol style with delightful freshness. If, like me, you prefer a more classical style of Bordeaux, these could well be right up your street. If you haven’t seen it yet, my full vintage report is on our website here.
It’s a happy accident but the other big thing in our favor this year is the current strength of the dollar. In general these are being released at prices that make them the cheapest vintage on the market in dollars.
The wines I’m highlighting are the ones that I’ve picked out as compelling buys among many more that have been released. If you care about the future value of an en primeur purchase, there is no better buy than Carruades de Lafite. This is as close as it gets to a guarantee that a wine will end up being worth a lot more than its release price. Demand for the wine is always incredibly strong, and not nearly enough is made to satisfy it. It takes a while to happen as the wine often ends up heading to Asia, but eventually every vintage of Carruades is a winner financially speaking. We sold the 2018 at $249.99 and it has an average price today of $437, and that’s very typical. 2017 would be the worst return of the past five years and it’s still gone from $200 to $300.
Cheval Blanc and Leoville Las Cases are probably the releases that have received the most global buzz so far, and both seem to have totally sold out in Bordeaux and in London. People are fighting for allocations of them there, we are lucky enough to have a few cases still available of each. These will not be easy wines to find in future. We also have a very small quantity remaining of its fellow St Emilion superstar, Château Pavie.
Alongside these heavyweights, we also have a couple of Gordon’s store favourites. Tour St Christophe, and Potensac. To me these represent Bordeaux value at its very best on the right and left banks respectively. I tasted Potensac alongside Leoville Las Cases, a wine ten times its price, and it held its own incredibly well. At this price, it is a steal. Tour St Christophe is a winner in every single vintage, and this is no exception. As Antonio Galloni puts it, “Once again, Tour Saint Christophe is a star in the appellation for its quality and value”.
***Please order 2021 Bordeaux futures through the below links to our website. Wines offered on a futures basis, with payment taken at the time of the order, and delivery expected in 2024***
2021 Château Leoville Barton, St Julien, $473.94 NET per six bottle wooden case
A terrific success, the 2021 Léoville Barton unwinds in the glass with aromas of blackcurrant, wild berries and plums mingled with hints of pencil shavings, loamy soil and cigar wrapper. Medium to full-bodied, deep and seamless, it’s concentrated and tensile, with beautifully refined tannins, lively acids and all the class that an elevated percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon growing in deep gravel can provide. It’s the first vintage vinified in the Barton family’s new winery, and I suspect that contributes to the ultra-refined quality of tannin this year. The blend is 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Tasted three times. 93-95pts., William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
2021 Château Langoa Barton, St Julien, $263.94 NET per six bottle wooden case
The first vintage vinified in the Barton family’s new winery, the 2021 Langoa Barton is immensely promising, offering up aromas of cassis, cigar wrapper, loamy soil and black truffle, followed by a medium to full-bodied, velvety and seamless palate that’s deep and complete, its vibrant core of fruit framed by ripe tannins and lively acids. It’s a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Tasted three times. 92-94pts., William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
2021 Château Mauvesin Barton, Moulis, $227.88 NET per twelve bottle wooden case
The 2021 Mauvesin Barton was picked from 30 September until 11 October and aged in one-third new oak. There is more Cabernet this year (52%) due to frost damage. It has a vibrant nose with black cherries, bilberry and perhaps more floral scents than I have encountered apropos previous vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grain tannins, not a deep or powerful Moulis, yet well-balanced and surfeit with freshness, a pleasant bitter swerve on the finish. 89-91pts., Neal Martin, Vinous
2021 Château Angelus, St Emilion, $1,064.97 NET per three bottle wooden case
A brilliant wine that signposts this estate’s evolution under Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal, the 2021 Angélus is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot, with fully half of the old-vine Cabernet Franc maturing in foudres rather than 225-liter barriques. The result is a wine of unprecedented purity and finesse, unwinding in the glass with compelling aromas of plums, raspberries, rose petals, vine smoke, blood orange and warm spices, followed by a medium to full-bodied, deep and layered palate with a rich and fleshy core that entirely conceals its structuring chassis of ultra-refined tannins. Bright and sapid, it’s striking for its integration and elegance at this early stage, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it upstage a number of more touted vintages once it’s in bottle. 94-96+pts., William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
Château Potensac, Medoc, $324 NET per Twelve Bottle Wooden Case
The 2021 Potensac is beguiling. Perhaps it is the high amount of Cabernet Franc (23%) in the blend this year. The 2021 exudes refinement from the very first taste. Rose petal, spice, crushed red berry fruit and sweet pipe tobacco all open effortlessly. Readers will find a Haut-Médoc endowed with compelling aromatic presence and exceptional balance. The purity of the flavors is striking. 90-92pts., Antonio Galloni, Vinous
2021 Léoville Las Cases, St Julien, $681 per three bottle wooden caseOne of the wines of the vintage, the 2021 Léoville Las Cases is reminiscent of a hypothetical blend of the 1999 and 1996—only better. Offering up incipiently complex aromas of cassis, plums and dark berries mingled with loamy soil, cigar wrapper and exotic spices, it’s full-bodied, layered and multidimensional, with superb amplitude and concentration, velvety tannins, lively acids and a long, penetrating finish. Uniting classicism and charm, it exemplifies how a great terroir, exigent agronomy and meticulous winemaking can deliver greatness even in a less propitious vintage. It’s a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and a mere 5% Merlot this year, checking in at 13.2% alcohol. 95-97pts., William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
2021 Carruades de Lafite 2021, $1301.94 NET per Six Bottle Wooden CaseThe 2021 Carruades de Lafite is a dark, brooding wine. Dense and plush, with quite a bit of tannin presence, Carruades is quite distinctive in 2021. Blue/purplish fruit and floral notes show tremendous primary intensity. Bright acids on the finish add an attractive sense of freshness that is quite appealing. The 2021 is a serious Carruades. 91-93 pts., Antonio Galloni, Vinous
2021 Chateau Cheval Blanc, St Emilion, $1,560 NET per Three Bottle Wooden CaseThe 2021 Cheval Blanc is one of the wines of the vintage. Vertical and aristocratic in bearing, Cheval is just stunning. Time in the glass brings out compelling inner sweetness and perfume to play off a core of rich dark fruit, gravel, spice, menthol and dried flowers. I also tasted the final three blending components, none of which hints at the magnificence of the Grand Vin. Stunning. 96-98pts., Antonio Galloni, Vinous
2021 Chateau Pavie, St Emilion, $936 NET per Three Bottle Wooden CaseThe 2021 Pavie is a wine of tremendous potential. Naturally, it shows the more mid-weight style of the year and yet there is plenty of depth as well as energy that starts to emerge with a bit of time in the glass. Bright saline notes shape the wine while extending the finish and adding so much drive. The 2021 is shaping up to be a very special wine. All it needs is time. This is a gorgeous set of wines from the Perse family. The 2021s marry the textural richness that is such a signature here with the bright acids and overall energy of the year. It’s a combination that works so well. 95-97pts., Antonio Galloni, Vinous
2021 Chateau Tour St Christophe, St Emilion, $197.94 per Six Bottle Wooden CaseThe 2021 Tour Saint Christophe is terrific. Naturally, the 2021 doesn’t have the breadth of previous vintages. Instead, there is a sense of energy running through the 2021 that is compelling. Dark fruit, leather, gravel, incense and mocha all meld together nicely. Once again, Tour Saint Christophe is a star in the appellation for its quality and value. Tasted two times 91-93pts., Antonio Galloni, Vinous
2021 Chateau Duhart Milon 2021, $467.94 NET per Six Bottle Wooden CaseIncorporating fully 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2021 Duhart-Milon unwinds in the glass with aromas of sweet berries, cigar wrapper and pencil shavings. Medium to full-bodied, lively and persuasively concentrated, with beautifully refined tannins and a long, penetrating finish, it’s a classy, serious wine that reflects all the progress this estate has been making over the last decade. 91 – 93+pts., William Kelly, The Wine Advocate
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