Bordeaux En Primeur

What Is Bordeaux En Primeur Week? (Best Selling Wines, Origins)

by Elaine Lau

The Bordeaux En Primeur (or wine futures) system lets you taste and invest in wine while it’s still maturing in the cellars. 

The Bordeaux En Primeur week - which is usually held in late March - puts the region’s latest vintage wines in the global spotlight every spring.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, the Bordeaux En Primeur week was canceled, and the event was held virtually. However, this exciting event would take place as usual in April 2022.

Let’s explore the Bordeaux En Primeur week in detail, how this system was established, why you should consider buying En Primeur wines and why Vinovest is your best route to do it. We’ll also check out the best-selling 2020 Bordeaux En Primeur wines.

Further reading

What Takes Place During Bordeaux En Primeur Week?

Bordeaux En Primeur

The Bordeaux En Primeur (wine futures) week takes place in March for about 1-2 weeks. During the event, merchants (negociants), retailers, and wine enthusiasts come together to taste Bordeaux’s latest vintage wines before they’re bottled.

The tasting events are conducted at several venues - hosted by wine chateaux or appellation-specific groups. 

During the En Primeur campaign, notable wine critics, like Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson and James Suckling, taste and rate each vintage wine.

Several Bordeaux wine chateaux use these wine ratings and scores to determine the wine prices.

From there, wine merchants release the final wine prices within 2 months of the Bordeaux En Primeur week. At this point, any wine lover can buy these vintage wines En Primeur (while they’re still in the barrel.) 

And once the En Primeur wine is purchased, it’s usually shipped within 18 to 36 months after bottling.

Although the En Primeur campaign was historically focused on Bordeaux alone, it’s now adopted in Burgundy, the Rhone Valley, Portugal, and other regions. Interestingly, New World wine regions like New Zealand and South Africa have also started adopting the system.

But how did it all begin?

How Was the Bordeaux En Primeur System Established?

Bordeaux En Primeur

The Bordeaux region has been selling wines En Primeur since the 18th century. It all began when Bordeaux merchants started buying grapes of the finest vines months before harvest.

Generally, each wine merchant would produce, mature, and bottle their own wines. So, they’d pre-book grapes that showed great potential.

The modern En Primeur tasting week was introduced in the 1970s. However, it was institutionalized by Baron Philippe de Rothschild in the 1980s.

Baron organized a tasting event for his 1982 vintage wine around April (while it was still in the barrel), and this was reported in the press.

It’s also believed that the system was formally established after the Second World War - when most wine chateaux were poorly financed. The system provided cash relief to struggling chateaux by enabling them to sell their wines in advance.

However, in the modern-day, En Primeur sales are limited to renowned chateaux - especially ones with Grand Cru Classe or similar.

Why Is the En Primeur System Criticized?

Bordeaux En Primeur

The famous En Primeur system often receives criticism when it comes to wine prices, wine sample ratings, and wine quality. 

Some Bordeaux wine chateaux have been criticized for increasing prices sharply since the 1990 vintage. The main concern is that the prices of most Grand Cru Classe wines have risen to the point that they’re no longer easily accessible.

Also, a score of 90+ from wine critics like Robert Parker would guarantee rapid sales and will enable merchants to set much higher prices for the wine sample. 

Some people question the wine quality as it matures. For example, the sample tasted while in the barrel could vary in taste and quality as it develops. 

Nevertheless, if you want value for your money, then you should consider buying your En Primeur wine from reputable wine chateaux. Remember to pick wines that are well-backed by notable critics

It’ll be worth it in the long run!

Now, let’s check out all the advantages of buying wines En Primeur.

Why You Should Consider Buying Bordeaux En Primeur Wines

Bordeaux En Primeur

Buying wines En Primeur comes with these benefits:

  • Discounted Prices: The Bordeaux futures system offers Grand Cru Classe wines at a discount of up to 30% compared to the prices of bottled wine. So, it makes it easy for you to invest in fine wine from Bordeaux’s Left Bank and Right Bank appellations.
  • Provenance: You’re guaranteed the best quality and provenance when buying wine En Primeur directly from the merchant.
  • Access to Rare Wines: Buying wine En Primeur gives you access to rare wines that may not be available on the market years later. And even if the rare bottled wine is available at a later stage, it’ll likely be far too expensive.
  • High-Quality Wine: You’re often guaranteed to get a great wine if you buy the wines tasted and recommended by the best wine critics (like Jancis Robinson.)

Now, here’s one more reason why any wine lover should consider buying fine wine En Primeur:

  • The En Primeur market peaked between 2004 and 2008. Interestingly, the market is expected to rise again following the successful 2019 vintage, which had price cuts of up to 50% compared to the previous year.

While this system presents tons of benefits, you should always purchase En Primeur wines cautiously to avoid scams

So, what is the smartest way to invest in En Primeur wine?

The best way to invest in fine En Primeur wine is through a reliable wine investment platform, like Vinovest, that helps you buy, store, and sell authentic wines.

With Vinovest, you can invest in the finest wines from any renowned winery - be it La Mission Haut Brion, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Château Latour, Château Margaux, Château Montrose, or Château Lynch Bages.

What Were the Best Selling Bordeaux En Primeur Wines in 2020?

Bordeaux En Primeur

The year 2020 had several challenges - especially the heavy rainfalls and cold temperatures that disrupted vine growth. But overall, it turned out to be an excellent vintage that produced some of the finest wines.

According to a 2020 vintage report, some of the best wines came from appellations with well-drained soils.

Now, here are some of the best 2020 Bordeaux En Primeur wines from Bordeaux’s Left Bank and Right Bank appellations:

  1. Best Saint Emilion 2020 Wines
  2. Best Margaux 2020 Wines
  3. Best Pessac-Leognan 2020 Wines
  4. Best Pauillac 2020 Wines
  5. Best Saint-Estephe 2020 Wines

A. Best Saint Emilion 2020 Wines

  1. Pavie
  2. Angelus
  3. Ausone
  4. Figeac
  5. Canon

B. Best Margaux 2020 Wines

  1. Château Margaux
  2. Chateau Palmer
  3. Rauzan-Segla
  4. Brane-Cantenac
  5. d’Issan

C. Best Pessac-Leognan 2020 Wines

  1. Chateau Haut Brion
  2. La Mission Haut Brion
  3. Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge
  4. Haut-Bailly
  5. Les Carmes Haut-Brion

D. Best Pauillac 2020 Wines

  1. Mouton Rothschild
  2. Lafite Rothschild
  3. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
  4. Pichon-Longueville Baron
  5. Château Lynch Bages

E. Best Saint-Estephe 2020 Wines

  1. Château Montrose
  2. Cos d’Estournel
  3. Lafon-Rochet
  4. Calon Segur
  5. Haut-Marbuzet

Invest in the Most Delicate Bordeaux Wines Through Vinovest

Bordeaux En Primeur

Bordeaux futures are some of the world’s most sought-after wines, so they usually sell quickly. If you’re into wine investment, then you need to get your hands on these wines during the En Primeur week.

Visit the Vinovest website to discover how you can invest in the best Bordeaux En Primeur wine or any other fine wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, or white wine. 

You can buy, store, and sell authentic wines from St Emilion, St Julien, New Zealand, New York, or anywhere else in the world.

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