En Primeur

Palmer facadeMight be French for “how to get the good wines cheap!” Buying Bordeaux on the futures market is not at the top of every wine lover’s list. Most, in fact, don’t even know what that means. Those that do think only of the blue chip Bordeaux that appreciate in value annually; they follow the game and know how to play it. In their minds, there are only one or two reasons to participate. First, is to get the wines that accrue value at the lowest price, assuring the greatest return. The second is to be certain that they actually even get those wines.

Anyone can walk into a shop and snare a bottle of say, Ch. Lafite-Rothschild at current retail price, but the savvy guy has already bought his 24 bottles, probably for much less than retail, and is happily watching the price go up!

So what about the everyday Joe, someone who actually DRINKS the wines… what’s in it for him? Well, at the stratospheric level of the 1st Growths and Super Eight, nothing. But hidden in the reviews (as opposed to the ratings) are words these smart consumers search out. They look for words like ‘Sleeper’, or maybe ‘Best wine from this estate yet’ rather than the 95+ point scores.

They seek out these deals, and buying them ‘en primeur’ or as a wine future might be foreign to them, but it shouldn’t be. In every vintage (notice I didn’t say in every GREAT vintage) there are wines that over deliver QPR, regardless of vintage, appellation, rating or price.  Can I tell you how I know this? Because I am one of those consumers.

I love Bordeaux, so much in fact, that I cannot afford to drink it as often as I wish, which forces me to find the best bang for the buck. 2010 was a vintage deep in QPR gems. Ch. Lilian Ladouys, Ch. St. Paul and others that drank early and like a wine twice their price. And while we Americans turned our noses up at vintages like 2011, 2012 and 2013, we may have missed dozens of great wines for a song guiraud

So watch out for the 2014 Bordeaux en Primeur. These wines will be available on our website abcfws.com this week. Prices are smart, ratings are very good, and bargains are there. One of my favorites in this vintage is the Ch. Senejac 2014. Scored over 90 by pretty much everyone, and it is under $15 a bottle as a future (order and pay now, wine is delivered in the fall of 2017!)

As they say in Bordeaux, “they don’t drink Ch. Margaux at Ch. Margaux as a house wine!”  And as they say everywhere in the world, Bordeaux is a world class supplier of world class wines; nowhere else on earth is so much great wine made. Just compare a $20 Bordeaux to a $20 Napa Cabernet (if you can find one) and see what all the fuss is about!

Shayne Hebert, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine supervisor

Follow me on Twitter @ABCwineShayne

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