En Primeur alternatives


An avalanche of en primeur prices has flooded my inbox. After the worst vintage in 70 years, the prices being asked are eye-watering, ranging from R4788 a bottle for Ch. Lafite to R278 for Chasse Spleen, one of my budget favourites.

– Lafite Rotschild: € 330.-
– Haut-Brion: € 282.-
– Chateau Margaux: € 282.-
– Mouton Rotschild: € 250.-
– Palmer: € 175.-
– Léonville Las Cases: € 94.68
– Pontet Canet: € 67.40
– Lynch Bages: € 57.50
– Cos d’Estournel: € 50.-
– Haut Bailley: € 46.-
– Beychevelle: € 44.-
– Smith Haut Lafitte: € 44.-
– Lascombes: € 43.36
– Grand Puy Lacoste: € 36.48
– Giscours: € 28.10
– Armailhac: € 26.80
– Kirwan: € 24.75
– Le blanc de Chatau Lynch Bages: € 24.65
– Lafon Rochet: € 24.42
– Dufort Vivens: € 24.-
– Prieuré Lichine: € 24.-
– La Tour Carnet: € 20.15
– Desmirail: € 20.-
– Chasse Spleen: € 19.10

This is a huge ask for reds still lying in barrel and many months out from bottling. Still, they’re so weedy, you won’t need to keep them for a decade before broaching.

These prices are an unbeatable opportunity for SA producers of Bordeaux-style blends as local prices are an order of magnitude less than the en primeur numbers. My recommendations:

1. D’Aria Cab/Merlot 2012 from Durbanville. Exotic oak, tangy fruit, clean. Ripe and dried stone fruit, bell peppers with a rich complexity. Huge length.
2. De Toren Fusion V 2010 from Stellenbosch. A vinous black hole, elegant, long, silky, balance, mineral chalk and toast.
3. Eagle’s Nest Verreaux 2009 from Constantia. Toasty red and black berries, sweet fruit with a tang.
4. Gabrielskloof The Blend 2010 from Bot River. Minty bell peppers and cherries. Good complexity, spicy oak, tobacco and leather.
5. Grande Provence 2007 from Franschhoekfranschhoekcellarwines En Primeur alternatives
by franschhoekwines
. Sweet and minty oak, chocolate, plums and currants plus bell pepper chutney.
6. Mont du Toit Mont du Toit 2007 from Wellington. Complex, broad spectrum, intense and dense.
7. Rietvallei Special Select Esteanna 2009 from Robertson. Austere tannins, fresh mint and spice, classic minerality lingers for ever.
8. Thelema Rabelais 2008 from Stellenbosch. Floral, violet aromas, incredibly fresh peach peel and violets world class wine.
9. High Road Director’s Reserve 2011 from Stellenbosch. Fresh bell peppers, tobacco and leather with spicy complexity and a long savoury finish.
10. Warwick Trilogy 2009 from Stellenbosch. Red and blackcurrants, elegant fresh oak with impressive balance.