The great 2018 vintage has now been tasted and scored in bottle by Neal Martin (Vinous) and Jane Anson (Decanter), both of whom have rated the vintage very highly We are able to offer a number of the highest-scoring wines still at or close to their release prices - please contact us on 01206 713560 to discuss any requirements, whether for modest petit châteaux or a more prestigious cru classé.
Bordeaux 2018En Primeur
Bordeaux Catches Fire
31st May 2019
As we head ever closer to the final straight of Bordeaux 2018, the quality and rarity of releases seems to intensify tenfold with each passing hour. This week has seen a compliment of great Classed Growths from both banks of the Gironde enter the market. Prices remain fair for many, and it is in that vein that we offer access to some of the team’s star wines of the vintage. Whittling down the latest wines available to a mere trio; each Château speaks volumes for modern Bordeaux whilst reflecting renewed focus and attention to detail in both vineyard management and winemaking application. In a great but at times tricky vintage to manage, is a delight to be able to offer a concise selection of wines where everything has fallen into place perfectly. True to their superb terroirs and amongst the finest releases in their respective communes, these are wines which we encourage you to consider for your collection...
A huge week of major releases
24th May 2019
As Bordeaux 2018 really starts to take a hold over the UK Fine Wine market, we write this message at the completion of another huge week of major releases. Amongst a raft of new arrivals, a handful of truly exceptional and highly anticipated releases introduced themselves to the market. The star wines this week included two quintessentially English clarets and a Pessac-Léognan of such high quality that it led to owner Oliver Bernard to announce that 2018 was nothing short of “the vintage of the century”. Praise doesn’t get a great deal higher than that!
2018 Château Gloria
10th May 2019
Today sees the release of another Château that has produced an exciting wine this year, at an eminently affordable price - St Julien’s Gloria. Released at just £174.00 for a case of 6. Antonio Galloni described it best in my opinion “once again fabulous”, “with tremendous energy”. I personally thought that the richness of flavour at the core and, indeed, the drive and energy on the finish were superb, and I have it firmly in my “punching well above its weight” category. If the couple of bottles of 2000 I recently drank are anything to go buy it should also age very well indeed!
2018 Château Siran
2nd May 2019
A 25 hectare Cru Bourgeois property that often seduces, hence its inclusion in the “Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel” classification back in 2003, Château Siran truly produced a masterpiece in 2018 - lifted, perfumed on the nose with some hints of meaty, savoury character already coming through, it is followed on the palate by superb richness of black fruit and polished, velvety texture.
This rich and opulent core opens up on the long finish to reveal floral notes, most notably violets, and a mineral and spicy finish. The structure is perfectly judged, with the delicately grippy, fruit-coated tannins helping achieve superb balance. This will deliver plenty of drinking pleasure and superb value...
Three high-performing 2018 left bank clarets
30th April 2019
The last couple of days have seen the release of some notable Classed Growth Châteaux into the 2018 Bordeaux En Primeur fray.
Always one of the star buys, Château Batailley is quintessential Pauillac, hitting the perfect balance of structured, muscular and age-worthy claret with a ripe and silky texture. When we visited the region early April we were universally enamoured by its performance in 2018, and for a wine scoring up to a potential 95pts from James Suckling and 94pts from The Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown, the 2018 offers stunning value from this hugely successful commune. Batailley’s 2018 may ultimately eclipse their brilliant 2009 offering.
Another outstanding Grand Cru Classé Pauillac to make waves in 2018 is that of Château Haut-Bages Libéral. From a property adjacent to Château Pichon-Baron and neighbour to First Growth Château Latour; Haut-Bages Liberal has produced arguably its greatest wine to date. Created from biodynamic grapes the 2018 offered the Mr.Wheeler team a soaring expression in the glass of sweet crème de cassis with a mineral rich, restrained palate. This will be a keeper, and at a little over £30 a bottle under-bond, offers exceptional pedigree at a great price and with a potential score of up to 96pts from James Suckling, it has the critics purring, too.
Last but not least, an awesome Classed Growth St Julien which hit the market yesterday is that of 2018 Château Branaire-Ducru. We were mightily impressed with the seamless elegance, rich purity of fruit and superb terroir expression at Branaire this year, and we had it as one of our stars of the vintage. It turns out we weren’t alone in that assessment, as it was officially recognised through a Liv-Ex members’ poll as the international trade’s collective favourite wine of the vintage. The subtle yet coaxing palate belies the fact that this will be a wine for the ages… This is a sensational St Julien and truly outstanding in 2018, with The Wine Spectator rating up to 97pts, James Suckling to 96pts and the Wine Advocate to 94pts.
Laroque, Potensac and Labégorce - three great value releases from Bordeaux
26th April 2019
This week has seen a flurry of Château releases from Bordeaux following publication of The Wine Advocate’s vintage assessment on the 23rd April. Clearly seen as the major critical gauge by many Château owners, it appears to have lit the blue touch paper for the campaign proper.
Of the 40-plus properties to have released across the full spectrum of appellations, a trio of stunning wines which shone for all of the Mr.Wheeler tasting team have hit the market. These three estates have released with exceptionally keen pricing, with one Château in particular a candidate for the title of “bargain of the vintage” - St Emilion’s Château Laroque, a 95-97-pointer at less than £25 per bottle all in… Need we say more.
Château Labégorce from Margaux often represents superb value for money, and we absolutely loved the 2018, in fact it was one of the rare wines at this price point that got thumbs up across the board from the team.
Finally, if you like your claret unashamedly classic, Cru Bourgeois Château Potensac, from the team behind “King of the Super-Seconds” Château Léoville-Las-Cases delivers superb structure, power and balance at an eminently affordable price.
Producer Focus: Denis Durantou
24th April 2019
Superstar Pomerol winemaker and owner of Château L’Eglise Clinet, Denis Durantou’s highly rated portfolio of properties have this morning been released to the world market. Denis has produced a wave of brilliant wines in 2018; a year which will undoubtedly go down in the history books as one of the finest vintages of modern times. Such precision across the portfolio and such winemaking prowess should, under normal circumstances, carry a notable price tag.
Here however, value for money exists in abundance. Château Montlandrie and Saintayme have formed the backbone of Mr.Wheeler’s en primeur campaigns over the past handful of vintages and we believe that together with Les Cruzelles, they will offer some of the greatest value of the campaign. Five-star wines from one of the world’s greatest wine makers in a potentially legendary vintage, and at remarkably affordable price….
First Releases: Châteaux Angélus and Beaumont
18th April 2019
St Emilion superstar Château Angélus, a candidate for wine of the vintage and out at a price that represents a good discount on the last two vintages. At the “everyday drinking” end of the spectrum our first unmissable pick was released yesterday: Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois Château Beaumont. Under the same ownership as the great St Julien property, Château Beychevelle, this is a property that has long represented superb value-for-money, and in recent years it has been on an impressive upward trajectory. The 2018 is superb, and at a mere £9 a bottle under-bond we highly recommend you make a space in your cellar for a case or two as an investment in your future drinking pleasure!
Our Vintage Review
8th April 2019
The superb 2018 vintage in Bordeaux was very much the result of two diametrically opposed periods – a very wet first half of the season, with just enough dry weather to allow flowering to happen smoothly, which on the one hand lead to the loss of part of the crop through mildew but, crucially, replenished water tables. This proved very useful indeed in the second half of the growing season when an interrupted spell of dry, hot (but not as hot as 2003, for example) weather from mid-July until October yielded one of the most relaxed harvesting period in living memory. Growers were able to pick their fruit at what they judged to be the optimal point, without the fear of rot or dilution that comes with wetter Autumns.