Bordeaux 2013

The Liv-ex En Primeur pages provide a complete guide to the Bordeaux 2013 campaign. You can also keep up with all of the latest news from Bordeaux by following Liv-ex on Facebook and Twitter.

Each year Liv-ex surveys the international wine trade upon their return from tasting the new Bordeaux vintage. The survey is designed to track the consensus of opinion amongst the best professional tasters of young Bordeaux. Liv-ex’s membership numbers more than 440 of the world’s biggest buyers and sellers of fine wine. 

In summary, as voted by the Liv-ex Membership:
  • Yquem is the wine of the vintage.
  • Grand Puy Lacostetops the value for money category for the fourth year in a row
  • Margaux was the most disappointing wine (but also third favourite).
  • The vintage scored 88 out of 100 overall, the same as the 2007.
  • Over three quarters of merchants are expecting significantly less demand (more than 20%) than for the 2012s.
  • Euro release prices are expected to be 10% lower than last year, on average.


So, to the results:


1. List in order of preference your top ten wines from Bordeaux 2013.
   1. Yquem     =6. Pichon Lalande
   2. Mouton Rothschild     =6. Petrus
   3. Margaux     8. Latour
   4. Ausone     9. Haut Brion
   5. Cos d'Estournel    10. Vieux Chateau Certan

The results above show the top ten wines of the vintage according to respondents irrespective of price. Wines ranked first were awarded 10 points, second were given 5 points, third 3, fourth 2 and fifth 1. Yquem was number one wine for the first time in the history of the Liv-ex En Primeur survey (indeed, the first time it has appeared in the top ten table), with a fifth of respondents labelling it their top wine. After dropping off the table last year, Mouton is back in full force, occupying second place. Margaux has risen four places on last year to come third, but was also voted most disappointing wine of the vintage—showing the divisiveness of the 2013s.


2. List in order of preference your top ten value wines from 2013 (value wines are wines with an expected release price of less than £500 per case)
   1. Grand Puy Lacoste     =5. Leoville Barton
   2. Calon Segur     7. Leoville Poyferre
   3. Dom. de Chevalier Rouge     8. Figeac
   4. Batailley     9. Talbot
   =5. La Chenade   10.  Du Tertre

For the fourth year in a row, Grand Puy Lacoste took the top spot in the value wines top ten. Calon Segur, which last year ranked among the most disappointing, takes second place, while Domaine de Chevalier climbs up one place to reach third.


3. List your ten most disappointing wines of the vintage with the most disappointing first.
 1. Margaux   =5. Mission Haut Brion
 2. Lafite Rothschild   7. Carruades de Lafite
 3. Cheval Blanc   8. Ducru Beaucaillou
 4. Haut Brion   9. Pontet Canet
 =5. Lascombes   10.  Palmer

Despite being voted one of the top three wines of the vintage, Margaux was also voted most disappointing. Fellow First Growth Haut Brion is the other wine to make an appearance in both tables. Lafite, which has occupied the top place in this table for the last two years, returns this year in second, with its second wine Carruades de Lafite also ranking among the most disappointing.


4. Using the Parker scoring model, what score would you give to the 2013 vintage overall?

88 points (average out of 100)

The Liv-ex Membership gave the vintage 88 points, the same score that was awarded to the 2007.


5. Does it compare to any previous vintage you have tasted?

   1. 2007

Only half of all respondents compared the 2013 to any vintage they had tasted previously, and half of those compared it to the 2007. Other replies were more sporadic; comparisons included the 2002, 2004, 1992 (often labelled one of the worst vintages in living memory) and 1997.


6. Considering only the first growths, please rank 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 in terms of quality (first being the best).

  1. 2008
  2. 2012
  3. 2011
  4. 2007
  5. 2013

An overwhelming 51% of respondents voted 2013 the worst vintage in terms of quality, while 42% placed the 2007 bottom of the table. The 2008 was voted the best vintage by 57% of respondents.   


7. At this early stage, what level of demand (by volume) are you expecting for the 2013 campaign?

     More than last year:                2%
     The same as last year:          6%
     0-20% Less than last year:   14%
     >20% Less than last year:     78%

Over three quarters of our merchants expected demand to significantly fall on the level for 2012. A few respondents reported no demand at all at present and possibly none to come, with prices once again a concern. One merchant stated that the only demand was for those wishing to commemorate the birth of their children, with no interest from consumers or investors. A couple anticipated some demand for Sauternes.


8. At what prices, in Euros per bottle, ex-negociant, do you expect (not want!) the following wines to be released in Bordeaux?
  2013 average price prediction (€) 2013 predictions range (€) Versus 2012 actual release Versus 2008 actual release
Cos d'Estournel 78.1 50-99 -12.2% 20.1%
Montrose 53.4 45-60 -7.3% 27.0%
Mouton Rothschild 211.4 170-240 -11.8% 76.4%
Pichon Lalande 55.5 45-96 -3.5% 42.7%
Leoville Las Cases 76.7 60-95 -9.9% -3.1%
Talbot  24.9 20-28 -5.3% 22.3%
Cheval Blanc 300.0 180-375 -11.8% 0.0%
Pavie 160.2 50-200 -10.9% 63.6%
Mission Haut Brion 138.5 65-210 -7.5% 26.2%
Total Basket 1,098.7 685-1,403 -10.3% 25.9%

To keep our members focussed we are offering a bottle of Montrose 1989 to the individual who comes closest to estimating the correct opening prices for the basket of wines listed above. Based on their expectations, prices will decrease by 10% on 2012 and be up 26% on 2008.


9. Briefly, how would you describe Bordeaux 2013 ?

Weak, disappointing, and lacking personality was how our respondents categorised the 2013 vintage. The reds were frequently criticised for being light and with high acidity, which was described as ‘rasping’ by one respondent. Praise for the wines was limited but words that cropped up were ‘charming’, ‘pleasant’ and ‘fresh’. Given the negativity that surrounded the vintage before the campaign had begun, a few merchants were relieved – ‘better than we had hoped for the very best estates’ and ‘better than described by the media’ were two of the more positive comments. Others were less effusive: ‘a difficult vintage’, ‘skeletal wines’, ‘no excitement.’ Two respondents expressed the opinion that the best thing about the vintage was the low yields, because the 2013s will be ‘impossible to shift’.

The sweet and dry whites received a considerably more positive review, labelled as ‘good to excellent’ and even ‘superb’ by one effusive Sauternes drinker. Yet despite the praise, several mentioned the sadly ‘limited audience’ for these wines.

At best, 2013 for the reds was characterised as a vin de table, for early drinking and with potential appeal to the consumer. As one merchant put it, ‘Strengths: “It’s a good restaurant year.” Weaknesses: “It’s a good restaurant year.” Despite the chateaux’ best efforts, and undoubtedly at great costs to themselves, 2013 was a battle against Mother Nature, with some merchants floating the opinion that it is only the advances in technology over the last few decades that made 2013 even possible.