Each September La Place de Bordeaux – the historic system used to distribute the wines of Bordeaux globally – releases some of the most in-demand wines from other corners of the world. Upcoming releases this year include the 2017 vintage of Masseto and Solaia (Italy), Opus One 2017 (California), the Chilean Seña and Almaviva 2018, Beaucastel Hommage J Perrin 2018 (Rhone) and more.

The Super Tuscans: Masseto and Solaia

“Another exhilarating, knock-out performance for the third year in a row” is how Monica Larner (The Wine Advocate, 97 points) described this year’s Masseto release. The 2017 vintage records a 15.5% alcohol content and has “substantial fruit weight and concentration gained over the course of this hot and dry growing season (which produced smaller, richer and more compact berries)”, according to Larner. For James Suckling (98 points), the wine is “full-bodied with firm, silky tannins […] providing brightness and focus. Goes on for minutes. Strength with finesse”.

When tasting Masseto in barrel, Antonio Galloni (Vinous, 96-99) said: “Rich and sumptuous in the glass, the 2017 possesses off the charts intensity and plenty of structure as well. The 2017 is quite simply a remarkable wine for such a challenging year.”

When Galloni (95+ points) reviewed the 2017 Solaia mid-2019, he noted that “even in the early going, it shows all the richness and opulence that is typical of the year, with terrific aromatic expansiveness and tons of persistence”. For Suckling (95-96), Solaia 2017 has “lovely density and freshness”, and is “full body and focused with soft tannins”. Monica Larner’s score (95) resonated with Galloni and Suckling’s view. Larner additionally commented that “the Marchesi Antinori 2017 Solaia offers a uniquely floral personality with wild rose and lilac that comes as a surprise, especially if you are expecting the more robust and opulent dark fruit associated with this vintage”.

In terms of market dynamics, the chart below compares the performance of the two Super Tuscans over the past three years. Solaia has outperformed Masseto, having risen 24.9% against a flattish 1.1% performance for the latter.

Opus One 2017

With Napa Valley’s trade value reaching record highs in 2020, excitement is already building up for the upcoming Opus One release. The 2017 vintage was rated 95 points from the Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown who described its finish as “long and graceful”. Luckily, “Opus One had picked 91% of their fruit before the fires started in 2017, and only two lots were eliminated from consideration”, as revealed by Perrotti-Brown. The 2017 Opus One is a “blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4.5% Merlot and 1% Malbec”. James Suckling also awarded the upcoming release 95 points, describing it as “bright, fresh and delicious”.

Chilean legends: Seña and Almaviva

Seña and Almaviva have accounted for 79% of Chile’s secondary market trade by value so far in 2020. They are expected to release the 2018 vintage in the coming weeks.

Seña 2018 has already received 100 points from James Suckling, who said that “this is a very thoughtful Seña that shows unique aromas of warm earth, mushrooms and conifer, turning to dark berries and black olives”. He added that “it’s a very intellectual wine that harkens back to the 2015”.

The 2015 Seña currently commands a Market Price of £900 per case. It is the most traded vintage on the market (31.6%), followed by the 2013 (18.5%) and 2009 (14.2%).

Seña also made it into the rankings of the 2019 Power 100: the annual list of the most powerful brands in the fine wine market. It came 235th, based on trading activity and price performance helped by high critical appraisal of the last five vintages.

Almaviva 2018 is also coming to the market this year. The wine is a result of the collaboration between Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Château Mouton Rothschild, and Concha y Toro, whose aim was to create a ‘Grand Cru classé’ in Chile. The first vintage was 1996. Last year’s release (the 2017 vintage) was offered at £1,248 per case, and currently commands a Market Price of £1,160.

Stay tuned for our in-depth on-the-spot analysis of all this year’s La Place releases.