Bordeaux 2018: which labels top the ratings?

The major critics have released their in-bottle reports for the 2018 Bordeaux vintage, leaving a clear impression of their ‘wines of the vintage’.

  • There are six wines, split evenly between the Left and Right Banks that received two or more 100-point scores from the critics. Seventeen labels overall received ‘perfect’ ratings.
  • Margaux and Mouton-Rothschild are the best-rated First Growths and Lafleur picked up the most top scores among Right Bank estates.
  • Lafleur has seen the biggest increase in price since release (141%) but Palmer has risen 40% in value since its 100-point rating from Neal Martin in early March. Other 100-point wines are also on the move.

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Between Neal Martin and Antonio Galloni at Vinous, James Suckling, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW and Jeb Dunnuck, 17 wines from the vintage have been awarded 100-points.

Martin was the most conservative scorer, giving just one perfect score to Château Palmer, while Dunnuck was the most generous, awarding 11 top ratings overall – and to the most diverse list of candidates too.

The margin was slightly in favour of the Left Bank with 10 wines overall, including at least one 100-point nod for all five First Growths.

Wine of the vintage?

Although Lafite was voted ‘Wine of the Vintage’ in the Liv-ex members’ survey when the wines were released en primeur, only Perrotti-Brown awarded it with a top score.

It was still a highly-rated, however, Neal Martin’s 96 was its lowest rating among all leading critics.

That said, the best-scored First Growth was Margaux, with three 100-point ratings; followed by Mouton Rothschild with two (indeed three as well if Jane Anson’s scores for Decanter are included).

Lafleur, which likewise notched up three 100s, was the best-rated Right Bank wine using this metric. Considering wines which received two or more 100-point ratings, there were Lafleur, Petrus and Trotanoy from the Right Bank and Margaux, Mouton and Palmer from the Left.

Price progression

The best-performing of these freshly minted 100-point wines since release is Lafleur. Released at £5,800 per 12×75 it has a market price today of £14,000, a rise of 141%.

So big have Lafleur’s gains been that we need to remove it from the chart in order to examine the other headline grabbing result, Palmer. The Margaux third growth was Neal Martin’s sole top-scorer and while initially unsure of the wine he was thoroughly converted in his re-tasting.

It’s a “legend in the making”, he said and as “boundary-pushing” as Cheval Blanc 1947. Fellow Vinous critic Antonio Galloni agreed but many other critics hung back from giving it a top mark themselves.

The market has not cared, however, and since Martin’s score the price of Palmer 2018 has climbed 40%. Having begun the year around £2,700 per 12×75, over the last month it is now closing in on £4,000 (£3,790).

Lafite and Mouton have also made steady progress, up 14% and 16% respectively, while prices of Margaux, Les Carmes de Haut-Brion, Léoville Las Cases and Léoville Poyferré have also had a positive turn since March.


The Liv-ex En Primeur opening report has been published and is currently available exclusively to members. 

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