The world of fine wine can be somewhat confusing even to those within it; the concept of La Place de Bordeaux and its role within the industry is no exception. Many may already be familiar with La Place, the historic three-tiered system used for selling the fine wines of Bordeaux. The Chateaux sell their wines to middlemen known as negociants, who in turn then sell the wines on to local merchants in over 170 countries around the world, who then release to the public market. La Place enters the global spotlight of fine wine each Spring when it releases the latest vintage of Bordeaux En Primeur. However, over the last two decades there is a second period of the year in which it has an increasing level of prominence, whereby some of the finest non-Bordeaux wines in the world feature too. Enter the ‘September Releases’.
As a contrast to the reactive and often chaotic environment of the Bordeaux En Primeur campaign, the September Releases largely adhere to a pre-determined calendar starting on Thursday the 1st and continuing at a breakneck pace until the end of the month. The full calendar and our campaign home for the month can be found here.
A brief history of La Place
The history of the Bordeaux Place releasing international wines can be traced back to 1998 when the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild first released Almaviva, their joint venture in Chile, and it was soon followed in 2004 with the release of Opus One, another Rothschild venture in the Americas. Today there are over 100 different wines spanning nearly a dozen countries including Italy, Chile, Argentina, Spain, and the USA to name just a few.
Why La Place?
For those who wonder why so many producers around the world are flocking to La Place de Bordeaux to distribute their wines, the answer is simple. With more than 300 negociants on the Place, each with their own global sales force, fine wine producers have access to a team of experts who can help to build their brand worldwide as well as reach niche foreign markets that they might never be able to access without having to employ their own fleet of regional salespeople.
From the point of view of the Place, opening their doors to fine wines from a diverse range of regions and countries only strengthens their portfolio as well as reduces their reliance solely on the region of Bordeaux. Particularly a blessing when faced with a challenging En Primeur vintage, with drastically reduced volumes, such as 2021. However, with so many estates around the world eager to benefit from the buzz that is created by the September Releases, time will tell which brands will be able to command the attention of consumers, and which may end up overshadowed by the sheer volume of wines arriving to market within the same few weeks.
What’s to come
This year, the releases kick off with Eduardo Chadwick’s Chilean masterpiece, the 2020 Sena as well as the first ever release of Sena’s second wine, Rocas de Sena. The highly anticipated 2019 Opus One follows on Monday the 5th, with 2019 Masseto expected on Tuesday the 6th followed by the release of the iconic brand which started the entire revolution, 2020 Almaviva on Wednesday the 7th.
Other expected highlights to release this month include Super Tuscan powerhouses Siepi and Galatrona, Argentina’s iconic Nicolas Catena Zapata, California’s tremendous L’Aventure range and even a few from Bordeaux itself, with First Growth Chateau Latour set to release highly prized ex-chateau cases of their triumphant 2010 vintage on Tuesday the 13th. September has now become a time of year which rivals the activity and fanfare of Bordeaux En Primeur for the world of fine wine, so keep up to date with all the action here as we highlight our top recommended buys from this comprehensive list of global icons.