After last week’s French holidays, the en-primeur campaign has accelerated this week. Our pricing estimates were pretty accurate for the first releases, at around 15% down, but later releases are…

After last week’s French holidays, the en-primeur campaign has accelerated this week. Our pricing estimates were pretty accurate for the first releases, at around 15% down, but later releases are more pricey. This may not be enough to entice buyers for every wine as some châteaux continue to push pricing on a more selective, albeit good vintage.

Gazin shows the upswing in demand of Pomerol as a commune, as well as the increasing status and quality of the château. On the left bank, Haut-Bages Libéral is a Wine Cellar favourite and offers classic Pauillac at a neat price. It is now farmed biodynamically. Malescot Saint-Exupéry is a modern-styled, plush Bordeaux that offers typical Margaux intensity and red-berry spice.


On the value side, there are arguably no better than Capbern and Les Cruzelles. Capbern has the same owners and winemakers as Calon-Ségur and is situated next to Phélan Ségur. Les Cruzelles is just 1 km from the famous plateau of Pomerol, and is made by Eglise Clinet’s Denis Durantou.

We will be offering a mixed case of Sauternes later in the campaign, as 2017 was very good for sweets. Suduiraut is one of the leading wines of the campaign.


  • Prices are quoted as Rand/bottle
  • En-primeur wines will be out for delivery in 2020
  • VAT and delivery charges payable
  • Minimum 6-bottle order per wine
  • JR: Jancis Robinson, WS: Wine Spectator, Dec: Decanter, NM: Neal Martin, WA: Wine Advocate, TA: Tim Atkin MW, JS: James Suckling
  • See our terms and conditions

Bordeaux 2017 talking points:

  • A concentrated, classically styled, long-term vintage from dry growing conditions, comparable to 2012.
  • Variable quantities due to the frosts and less made available to the market.
  • Top châteaux have made brilliant wines.
  • Robert Parker has no more say in primeur and the châteaux set prices according to a basket of critics.
  • Buying 2017 en-primeur is a speculative purchase and if price reductions are not significant, the wines are unlikely to appreciate in the short term.

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Tasting notes:

Capbern, Saint-Estèphe 2017 – R 260
It has a fresh, lively cranberry and blackcurrant-scented bouquet, a little savory in style with hints of Japanese nori (seaweed). The palate is nicely structured with a keen thread of acidity. There is a little compactness on the entry but it gently unfolds towards the finish that exerts subtle grip. It is the precision rather than the power that defines this Capbern and if released at similar prices to previous vintages, could be one of the must-buys of 2017. – Neal Martin, 89-91 points

Les Cruzelles, Lalande-de-Pomerol 2017 – R 311
I found that this has a little more cohesion and focus than the La Chenade at this early stage, blackberry mixed with raspberry and loamy scents, fresh and full of vim. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grain tannin. This is very nicely focused with crisp acidity, saline and persistent on the finish. Excellent – this is as good a Lalande de Pomerol as you will find in 2017. – Neal Martin, 90-92 points

Suduiraut, Sauternes 375ml 2017 – R 445
It has an expressive, harmonious bouquet with dried honey, white flowers and a touch of gripe water (a children’s medicine for those in the United States. I have been informed there is no equivalent on the other side of the Atlantic). The palate is well balanced with a viscous opening, well judged acidity, plenty of botrytized fruit with a long, lightly spiced finish that feels so fresh and vital. This is a superb Suduiraut from Pierre Montegut and his team. – Neal Martin, 94-96 points

Haut-Bages Libéral, Pauillac 2017 – R 513
The 2017 Haut-Bages-Libéral offers blackberry and cedar on the nose, classically flaired and nicely defined though perhaps a little conservative in style compared to others. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin although it lacks a little density in the middle and tapers towards the finish with pencil shavings “liberally” sprinkled over the aftertaste. I suspect that this Pauillac will drink nicely over the next decade. – Neal Martin, 89-91 points

Malescot Saint-Exupéry, Margaux 2017 – R 647
The 2017 Malescot St. Exupéry has a simpler bouquet than recent vintages with high-toned red cherry and raspberry fruit, quite “warm” compared to its peers and it would benefit from a little more delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin. It is not a complex Malescot St. Exupéry but I admire the balance and focus. There is plenty of tightly wound red berry fruit laced with cedar and smoke, quite finessed towards the finish with a long spicy aftertaste. I would just like the aromatics to step up to the grade of the palate, so let’s see how this shows once in bottle. – Neal Martin, 91-93 points

Gazin, Pomerol 2017 – R 1,071
The 2017 Gazin has a very classic Pomerol bouquet with black brambly fruit infused with black truffle and subtle raspberry confit notes. Then, as it opens, there are loamy aromas that lend more complexity. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grain tannin and a fine bead of acidity. There is a slightly powdery texture, feeling quite saline. White pepper and fennel notes become more conspicuous towards the finish. Just a classic Gazin from proprietor Nicolas de Bailliencourt and his team. – Neal Martin, 91-93 points


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