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 2017 En Primeur survey:
- Petrus is wine of the vintage.
- Grand Puy Lacoste tops value for money category for eighth year in a row.
- The vintage scored 92.6 overall.
- More than 80% of merchants are expecting less demand than the 2016 campaign.
- Euro release prices are expected to be 11.5% lower than last year, on average.
And the results in full:
List in order of preference your top five wines of Bordeaux 2017:
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. The top ten wines are equally split among the Left and Right Bank. Petrus was voted wine of the vintage, appearing in 14% of respondents’ number one picks. Vieux Chateau Certan came in second place. More than a third of respondents selected the wine as one of their top five favourites.
List in order of preference your top five value wines from 2017 (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 eighth year in a row. In second place was Langoa Barton. James Suckling described the wine as “serious for the vintage” and awarded it 93-94 points.
In total, 137 different wines were mentioned in answer to this question.
List your five most disappointing wines of the vintage with the most disappointing first
Once again, the trade was heavily divided on the most disappointing wines of 2017, with a variety of wines from all major appellations listed. A number of wines listed in the merchants’ table of top wines were also mentioned frequently among their most disappointing.
Using the Parker scoring model, what score would you give the 2017 vintage overall?
92.6 points (out of 100).
Liv-ex members awarded the 2017 92.6 points; higher than 2007 (88), 2008 (91), 2011 (91), 2012 (91), 2013 (88) and 2014 (92), but lower than 2009 (96), 2010 (96), 2015 (94.6) and 2016 (95.9).
Does it compare to any previous vintage you have tasted?
28% of members compared this year’s vintage to 2014, while 14% said it was more like 2012. Some compared it to 2001 or said that it was unlike other previous vintages. Other results included 2008, 2006 and 2013.
Considering only the First Growths, please rank 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 in terms of quality.
An overwhelming 94% of Liv-ex members ranked the 2015 as the best quality vintage. 43% picked 2014 as their second choice, while 31% chose 2017. The consensus was that 2013 was the worst vintage, with 92% of respondents selecting it as their 6th choice.
At this early stage, what level of demand (by volume) are you expecting for the 2017 campaign?
Unlike last year, merchants are anticipating significantly less demand for the vintage than the previous campaign. However, almost all merchants qualified this by commenting that their answer very much depends on prices. Several also acknowledged that currency will play an important part.
One respondent commented that “consumers are [now] better informed than ever and will not blanket buy like they have in the last two vintages”.
At what prices, in Euros per bottle, ex-negociant, do you expect (not want!) the following wines to be released in Bordeaux?
To keep our members focused we are offering a double magnum of Grand Puy Lacoste 2014 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 merchants expect (not want) the wines to be released 11.5% lower than the 2016s were on average. The biggest price drops are expected for Leoville Las Cases, Mission Haut Brion and Pichon Lalande.
This is a contrast to expectations last year, when merchants predicted rises of 8%.
It is also in contrast to the findings of a study by academics from Syracuse University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. who expect slight price rises this year.
Briefly, how would you describe Bordeaux 2017?
Many merchants suggested that despite the frost, 2017 had produced some high quality wines. One comment summed up the general view that the vintage was “better than expected”. Another described the style of the wines as “fresh and classic low-alcohol luncheon clarets”.
The last few years have seen prices at the forefront of respondents’ minds. One merchant noted that “prices are of concern” for this year’s vintage, while another commented that 2017 is full of “wines you will want to drink but not necessarily want to buy”.
The image below shows the words used by Liv-ex members to describe Bordeaux 2017. The image gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently. For example, a third of respondents used the word ‘fresh’ in their description of the vintage.