If you are new to the world of “En Primeur” fear not, we are happy to guide you through the particulars.
The Bordeaux En Primeur system has been available to consumers since the 1970s, but its roots go back much further than that. For hundreds of years, Bordeaux wholesalers, known as negociants, have purchased their allocations from the châteaux in the Spring after each harvest. This process remained reserved for the trade from the eighteenth century (when negociants bottled the wines themselves) through the 1920s when Baron Philippe de Rothschild began the tradition of properties bottling their wines at the château. It was not until the 1970s that the growth of global demand opened up the process of pre-ordering wines from Bordeaux to consumers and is now available through top wine retailers around the world today.
The top reasons why customers purchase Bordeaux on futures:
The Very Best "First Tranche" Pricing
This is the number one reason most people buy “en primeur”. During the summer when the wines are first released on futures, pricing is at the lowest levels you are ever likely to ever see. These introductory offerings represent the châteaux’s absolute lowest pricing. Subsequent releases or “tranches” are offered later from the château at incrementally higher prices which gradually pushes up the market value of the wines as they get closer to delivery. In order to assure that you are getting the best price, it is advisable to place your order as early as possible.
Access to Rare and Limited Wines
Many of the most desirable wines in Bordeaux never actually make it to our retail shelves. From tiny cult properties with miniscule allocations to larger names with limited quantity releases, demand often outstrips supply and placing your order on futures is the only way to access some of these wines which will already be sold out by the time they arrive.
A Reliable Investment
Anyone who follows the wine market knows that Bordeaux is a remarkably reliable investment. Virtually all collectible wines gain market value as they age and in top vintages certain wines can double or even triple in value when scarcity or a lofty critic score sends demand through the roof. Appreciation is very consistent and it is rare for an en primeur purchase to lose value. As a baseline, the retail prices for Bordeaux wines average about 30% higher than En Primeur pricing when they physically reach our shelves two years later.
When buying futures, it is important to carefully select the merchant with whom you deal. While other retailers may come and go, Wally’s has been a dependable source for competitive pricing, perfect provenance and guaranteed delivery for over 45 years.
As quoted in Wine Spectator, ‘Buying Futures’: “If you plan to buy futures, you should work only with reputable merchants who have a history of delivering the wines their customers order… If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
2018 Chateau Laroque Futures
Wally's Price: $27.00
95 - 97 Points, Wine Advocate
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Laroque is a little closed to begin, slowly unfurling to reveal fragrant black cherries, wild blueberries and blackberry preserves scents with hints of crushed rocks, underbrush and violets plus a waft of Marmite toast. Full-bodied and jam-packed with bright, crunchy black and blue fruits, it has a firm line of ripe, fine-grained tannins and loads of freshness, finishing very long and layered. Impressive! Being aged in oak barriques, 50% new, the blend is 97% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Lisa Perotti Brown - Wine Advocate
2018 Chateau Marquis D'Alesme Futures
Wally's Price: $41.00
94 - 96 points, Wine Advocate Score
The 2018 Marquis d'Alesme Becker is from the lieu-dit Les Terrasses de Margaux. The blend is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, and it has 14.5% alcohol. It is to be aged 18 months in 65% new and 35% two-year-old barrels. Deep purple-black in color, it leaps from the glass with bold, expressive black cherries, warm plums, crme de cassis and red roses scents with touches of baking spices, potpourri and fragrant earth. Full-bodied, rich and opulent, it completely fills the palate with hedonic black fruit preserves and spices, framed by firm, velvety tannins and finishing with fantastic length. By Lisa Perrotti Brown - WA
2018 Chateau Larcis Ducasse Futures
Wally's Price: $70.00
96 - 98 points, Wine Advocate
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Larcis Ducasse features wonderfully expressive scents of baked black and red plums, kirsch, rose hip tea and cigar box with hints of pencil shavings, baked redcurrants and truffles plus a waft of licorice. Full-bodied and beautifully nuanced on the palate, it has layer upon layer of red and black fruit preserves with beautiful, velvety tannins and loads of freshness, finishing long and perfumed. LP-04/2019
2018 Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion Futures
Wally's Price: $100.00
94 - 96+ points, Wine Advocate
The 2018 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is composed of 37% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 29% Merlot. It was made using 52% whole cluster and has 13.75% alcohol. It is anticipated to age 18-24 months in 75% new oak barriques, 16% foudres and 9% amphorae. Deep garnet-purple colored, it is slightly broody and reduced to begin, slowly growing to reveal notions of charcoal, smoked meats, truffles and tilled soil over a core of black raspberries, warm black cherries, blackberry coulis and redcurrant jelly plus wafts of Provence herbs and iron ore. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is taut and muscular, tense with latent energy, offering a rock-solid backbone of firm, grainy tannins and bold freshness to support the bright, vibrant fruit, finishing long and mineral laced. LP-04/2019
2018 Chateau Pape Clement Blanc Futures
Wally's Price: $135.00
94 - 96+ points, Wine Advocate
The Pape Clement 2018 Blanc slips languidly from the glass with tropical notes of warm pineapples, fresh mango and green guava plus hints of nutmeg, orange blossoms, lanolin and crushed rocks. Full-bodied, rich and seductive, it is absolutely laden with tropical fruit and spice layers, with a racy line to support and long, opulent finish. The blend is 57% Sauvignon Blanc, 39% Smillon and 4% Muscadelle. Anticipated aging regimen is 14 months in 55% new and 45% second-fill French oak barrels. LP-04/2019
2018 Chateau Palmer Futures
Wally's Price: $335.00
97 - 100 points, Wine Spectator
97 - 99 points, Wine Advocate
The 2018 D'Armailhac (14.5% alcohol) is composed of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, harvested September 12 to October 3. Deep garnet-purple colored, it reveals a very fruity nose of crushed blackberries, warm black cherries and mulberries plus hints of potpourri, spice cake and pencil shavings. Full-bodied, the decadent palate delivers loads of black berry layers and a firm, grainy frame with underlying freshness and an earthy finish. Wonderfully opulent DArmailhac! We only suffered 2% loss due to mildew in 2018, Managing Director Philippe Dhalluin informed me. But we had low yields on all the deep gravelly soils because of the dry period, more so at Mouton than at Clerc Milon. Clerc Milon has three meters of gravel before you get to the clay and limestone that holds the water. At Mouton, there are six meters of gravel before you get to the clay and limestone. This made for yields of 28 hectoliters per hectare at Mouton Rothschild, while Clerc Milon came in at 32 hectoliters per hectare, and the average for Pauillac was around 38 hectoliters per hectare. In late September, it was still hot during the days, around 32 degrees Celsius, but the night temperatures dropped down to around seven degrees to allow the ripening to slow down, Dhalluin said, explaining how the berries made it over that magic finish line to full phenolic (tannin) ripeness. All the Baron Philippe de Rothschild 2018 wines were blended early, from the end of November through early December, because the ferments went quite quickly. A lot of Merlot went into the second wines this year. Dhalluin commented that the Merlots were amazing this year, but Cabernet was even better. LP-04/2019