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Results: Liv-ex 2016 En Primeur survey

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 among the best professional tasters of young Bordeaux. Liv-ex membership numbers 400 of the world’s biggest buyers and sellers of fine wine.

In summary, the findings of the Liv-ex 2016 En Primeur survey:

  • Lafite Rothschild is the wine of the vintage.
  • Grand Puy Lacoste tops the value for money category for the seventh year in a row.
  • The vintage scored 95.9 overall.
  • Almost half of merchants are expecting more demand than for the 2015s.
  • Euro release prices are expected to be 8.13% higher than last year, on average.

And the results in full:

List in order of preference your top five wines of Bordeaux 2016:

The results above show the top ten wines of the vintage according to the experts irrespective of price. Wines ranked number one by respondents were awarded ten points, second were given five points, third three, fourth two and fifth one. Of the top ten wines, seven were from the Left Bank. Lafite Rothschild was unquestionably the wine of the vintage, appearing as almost 20% of respondents’ number one pick, and almost 50% of respondents selected it as one of their top two favourites.

List in order of preference your top five value wines from 2016 (value wines are wines with an expected release price of less than £500 per case)

The merchants’ favourite ten wines expected to be released at under £500 per case were ranked as above. Grand Puy Lacoste took the top spot for the seventh year in a row. In second place was Calon Segur. James Suckling described the wine as “the Calon we have been waiting for!” He awarded the wine 98-99 points.

In total, 96 different wines were mentioned in answer to this question.

List your five most disappointing wines of the vintage with the most disappointing first

The trade was heavily divided on the most disappointing wines of 2016. There were a vast 126 wines listed in this category from a wide variety of regions. The consensus was that both the Left and Right Bank had varying quality. One respondent suggested that the “Achilles heel” of the vintage were “young vines and Merlot on light soils”.

Using the Parker scoring model, what score would you give the 2016 vintage overall?

95.9 points (out of 100).

Liv-ex members awarded the 2016 vintage 95.9 points; higher than 2007 (88), 2008 (91), 2011 (91), 2012 (91), 2013 (88), 2014 (92) and 2015 (94.6), but lower than 2009 and 2010 (both 96).

Does it compare to any previous vintage you have tasted?

Members broadly suggested that 2016 was unlike other previous vintages that they have tasted. Some compared it to the great 2010, 2009 and 2005.

Considering only the First Growths, please rank 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2016 in terms of quality.

41.6% of Liv-ex members ranked 2010 as the best quality vintage, and a further 45% put it second. The view on the 2016 vintage varied the most among respondents: 41.6% put it either first or second but 40% put it in fourth or fifth place.

Last year Liv-ex members ranked 2005 as the 2nd best vintage in terms of quality. This year however, both the 2009 and 2016 have overtaken the vintage. 2015 was ranked 5th; almost 50% of respondents put the vintage in last place.

At this early stage, what level of demand (by volume) are you expecting for the 2016 campaign?

Like last year, merchants are anticipating more demand for the vintage than for the previous campaign. However, almost all merchants qualified this by commenting that their answer very much depends on prices. Several also acknowledged that “elections and politics do add uncertainty”.

At what prices, in Euros per bottle, ex-negociant, what do you expect (not want!) the following wines to be released in Bordeaux?

*Some responses for Cos d’Estournel were received after the wine was released.

To keep our members focused we are offering a double magnum of Figeac 2012 to the individual who comes closest to estimating the correct opening prices for the basket of wines listed above, which we keep the same from year to year.

The results suggest that on average, merchants expect that wines will be released 8.13% higher than for the 2015s. The biggest price rises are expected for Montrose, Pichon Lalande and Pontet Canet.

This is significantly lower than expectations last year, when merchants predicted rises of 38%.

Briefly, how would you describe Bordeaux 2016?

Many asserted that 2016 had produced some excellent wines. One comment summed up the general view: “Great freshness, lower alcohol make for wines that are quite old-school, and should be very attractive to English taste”.

Liv-ex members broadly agreed that the vintage was strong in St Estephe, Pauillac, St Julien and certain areas in the Right Bank. One respondent summarised the general consensus as “great for Medoc, correct for Right Bank”. However, several others acknowledged that the vintage is “more mixed than people realise”, with one respondent noting that “you need to taste and select wines very carefully”.

The last few years have seen prices at the forefront of respondents’ minds. One merchant summarised a popular view that “the concerns are prices and exchange rates [given that] some producers seem to rate the wines as ‘best ever’”. Some merchants suggested that timing might present issues, with one commenting: “also of concern is the pace of releases and the interference of the French elections and Vinexpo. We don’t want this campaign to still be running in July as clients will lose interest”. Another summed up the hopes of many Liv-ex members by asserting that this campaign is “an opportunity for the Chateau to get it right and respect the momentum that has finally returned to the market”.


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