Following a rapid end to the en primeur campaign last week, we wanted to share our final thoughts on the campaign with analysis on where to find the best value in this complicated vintage.

The 2021 vintage was ravaged by a difficult growing season, and coupled with often uncompelling release prices during en primeur, we have been incredibly selective in the wines that we have offered. Favouring those Chateaux which have created styles focussing on freshness, elegance and drinkability, the 2021 vintage offers a pleasant change when compared to the opulent and alcoholic wines of late. Whilst it is impossible to offer a sweeping statement to summarise the entire campaign, there remain some fantastic wines for the cellar if you know where to look.

Focusing on value and quality, we have carefully compiled a small selection of our favourite wines that we whole-heartedly recommend for the cellar. Split into two sections; the first five wines are some of the most highly allocated of any vintage and often sold out within minutes of releasing. We have selected these wines based on their pricing within the market and the opportunity they offer in the immediate future for collectors. It is incredibly rare to be able to secure a new allocation of these top wines, making them look incredibly attractive for the collection.

The second section is compiled of our top value wines from the vintage. Each wine has been chosen for the excellent value that they offer, considering the quality of the Chateaux and the wine produced in 2021 versus price. Having tasted each of these in Bordeaux last month, the team were hugely impressed by these wines which we believe will offer drinkers and speculators immense pleasure over the coming decades.

The Top Allocated Wines of the Vintage

Chateau Figeac 2021

Chateau Figeac released at £978 per 6 IB and is unquestionably one of the wines of the vintage from the right bank. The first vintage to be vinified in their state-of-the-art winery, the team at Figeac have produced an outstanding wine in 2021. In this year’s re-classification this September, it is highly anticipated that Figeac will finally complete its long awaited ascent to Grand Cru Classe A and the Negociants are stocking up wherever they can. If and when this does occur, a sharp uptake in demand and upward move in pricing is expected to follow and those with an existing position will likely be handsomely rewarded. As such, now is the time to look very closely at supplementing your holdings with positions of Figeac as we will likely never see these prices again. Underpinning this are the movements seen in Pavie and Angelus since their reclassification a decade ago. The average prices of their Grand Vins have since risen a staggering 79.75% and 90.86% respectively.

The 2021 Bordeaux En Primeur campaign has definitely been a stock pickers vintage, broad buying across many releases has not been advised, but when a wine’s score and price work, the 2021 vintage is one to pick up whilst you still can. Chateau Figeac 2021 is one of those wines. Awarded 94-97 points from The Wine Advocate and 95-97 from Vinous Media whilst priced comfortably on release at £1,956 per 12 bottles, we believe this will quickly shoot up towards £2,500 and beyond after the expected reclassification. 12 bottle cases of Figeac for less than £2,000 will likely be a thing of the past!

From the critics

Unquestionably one of the wines of the vintage on the Right Bank, the 2021 Château Figeac checks in as 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, and 29% Merlot, brought up all in new barrels. It’s a gorgeous, medium to full-bodied, concentrated, and textured 2019 with remarkable purity in its darker cassis and fresh plum fruits as well as notes of tobacco, truffly earth, cedar pencil, and spice. While it’s easy to compare this to wines from the Médoc given its high Cabernet content, it has beautiful Right Bank character and is a classic, balanced, incredibly impressive Figeac that will benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and cruise for over two decades. It reminds me slightly of the 2014. 95-97 points, Jeb Dunnuck.

The 2021 Figeac was picked from September 21 until October 19 and matured, as usual, in 100% new oak. It has a very pure, elegant bouquet, the Cabernet Sauvignon imparting subtle pencil lead notes, blackberry and briar, almost understated at first but gaining vigor with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, a fine bead of acidity and just the right amount of sapidity. There is unerring symmetry about this Figeac, which is extremely focused yet unconcerned about showing off. There is lovely piquancy on the finish. Unequivocally one the finest Right Bank wines in 2021. Frédéric Faye continues to guide Figeac to the pinnacle of the appellation. (13.0% alcohol). 95-97 Points, Neal Martin (Vinous).

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Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2021

Located in the heart of Pauillac, First Growth Mouton Rothschild occupies the peak of the most impressive gravel plateau and is one of the most iconic wines in the world. Mouton Rothschild remains the most sought-after wine for collectors year on year, we bought as much of this First Growth as we could from La Place. As a result, we are now delighted to be able to offer this to our clients and give collectors the chance to secure this world class First Growth for the cellar. First Growths continue to appreciate in price at a very fast rate, with leading vintages going back to 2005 increasing 29% on average in the last 24 months, Mouton Rothschild outperforms this at 33%, and demand showing no signs of slowing down. Chateau Mouton Rothschild remains the allocation to secure for collectors and drinkers. This opportunity should not be missed.

From the critics

The 2021 Mouton Rothschild is a terrific wine in the making, unfurling in the glass with aromas of cherries and wild berries mingled with notions of violets, espresso roast, pipe tobacco and mint. Medium to full-bodied, deep and seamless, it’s a layered, enveloping wine that’s ample and concentrated, with succulent acids, melting tannins and a long, resonant finish. A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc that attained 13.1% alcohol, this is a demonstrative, sensual Mouton that’s the fruit of extreme selection, and that may well make my score seem conservative with further élevage. Bravo to the talented Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy and his team. 95-96 Points, William Kelley (The Wine Advocate).

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Chateau Calon Segur 2021

Calon Segur is considered one of the rising stars of the Medoc and one of the best performing wines to buy en primeur over the last 10 years – the 2019, which scores 93 points from The Wine Advocate, has already increased 35% since release. Calon Segur is a classified a Third Growth and follows closely behind Cos d’Estournel and Montrose as one of the leading wines of St.Estephe. In fact, Montrose was a forest-land belonging to the Calon Segur estate, so vast that it once contained Mouton and Lafite Rothschild. Calon Segur eventually passed into the hands of the Segur family and the Marquis de Segur, who also owned Lafite and Latour. He famously is quoted as saying, ‘I make my wine at Lafite and Latour, but my heart is in Calon’, which became the basis for the widely-recognized label: a heart encompassing the estate’s name in bold red letters. This is yet another highly allocated wine that collectors should be stockpiling whenever they get the chance.

From the critics

The 2021 Calon Ségur was cropped at 36hL/ha and aged entirely in new oak for a planned 20 months. This year, the gap between the Grand Vin and the Marquis is blatantly obvious, to the extent that they are practically different wines, which is how Vincent Millet and his team treat them. The Cabernet is firmly in the driving seat here, with detailed, graphite-infused black fruit and a background florality that comes through with aeration. The mediumbodied palate displays very fine tannins, superb acidity (pH 3.65) and impressive harmony. This has exemplary build in the mouth, fine weight on the finish and a persistent aftertaste. An outstanding Calon-Ségur, elevated by the risks taken in deleafing in June and waiting to pick. Bravo. 12.9% alcohol. 95-97 points, Neal Martin (Vinous). Drink 2027-2055

The 2021 Calon Ségur is a gorgeous wine that is going to need a number of years to fully come into its own. Aromatic, punchy and croquant, as the French say, the 2021 is a vibrant, mid-weight Calon that will delight readers who enjoy classically built claret. Don’t look for the size or opulence of recent vintages. The 2021 is a cool, classy Saint-Estèphe to savor for years and decades to come. I loved it. 94-96 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous). Drink 2031-2061

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Chateau Rauzan Segla 2021

Rauzan Segla is easily one of the very best value offerings from the Medoc, so popular it is now widely offered on allocation only. This Second Growth competes with the best of them and the 2021 released at £360 per 6 IB, offering a 9% discount to last year. The 2021 has received potentially the highest score in Margaux from both Neal Martin and Antonio Galloni highest score of 94-96 and 94-97 points respectively. This puts it in line with Chateau Palmer and Margaux which have released at multiple times the price. They are achieving greatness year on year now – every vintage is stunning and a real stand out in the region. This sells out immediately each year and it will be largely oversubscribed again. Our advice is to buy Rauzan every year as it will continue to become even more highly allocated.

From the critics

The 2021 Rauzan-Ségla is absolutely gorgeous. It offers up scents of graphite, savory herbs, licorice, chocolate and plum, all beautifully lifted by strong Cabernet Sauvignon inflections. Naturally, the 2021 doesn’t have the midpalate richness and overall intensity of recent years. Readers will find a tightly wound Margaux that balances classic structure with modernday precision. I can’t wait to see how it ages. Tasted four times. 94-97 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous) Drink 2031-2051

According to Nicolas Audebert, the 2021 Rauzan Ségla has a reduced proportion of Merlot, as a consequence of which it was felt that the Petit Verdot crowded out the final blend and was thus demoted to the Deuxième Vin. Matured in 60% new oak for an intended 18 months, it has a surprisingly opulent bouquet with conspicuous Merlot that has the hubris to vie for attention with the Cabernet. Very pure and well-defined, this gains intensity in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with very finely chiseled tannins, displaying disarming purity and poise. Minerally on the finish, with just the faintest hint of dark chocolate on the aftertaste. Precision, precision, precision. (13.0% alcohol). 94-96 points, Neal Martin (Vinous) Drink 2027-2060

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Chateau Beychevelle 2021

Global powerhouse and perennial IG Wines favourite, Chateau Beychevelle released at £706 per 12 IB. A wine loved globally, demand has rocketed in the last 10 years, the Dragon-boat-esque label makes it a darling in Asia. Back vintages of Beychevelle continue to see huge price increases. With the 2021 released onto the market 16% below current 2020 stocks and substantially below older vintages, this is a wine to snap up en primeur. One of the highest allocated releases that sells out immediately every year, do not delay in placing your order.

The 2021 has received praise across the major critics, with William Kelley calling it “a strong effort” and awarding 91-94 points. Antonio Galloni echoes this sentiment calling the 2021 “rich and sumptuous” and “a terrific Beychevelle with a bright future”. Scoring 92-94 points, the 2021 is a magnificent wine with huge potential to become a near-match for the high scoring 2020 and 2019.

From the critics

The 2021 Beychevelle is rich and sumptuous, but not quite as pushed in that direction as some recent vintages have been. Then again, that sort of opulence was simply not possible in 2021. Even so, the 2021 flows with dark blue/purplish fruit, incense, espresso, mocha, menthol and licorice. All the elements are so well balanced. The 2021 is a terrific Beychevelle with a bright future.92-94 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous) Drink 2031-2046

Darkly herbal, spiced and perfumed nose. Supple, fruity, forward and lively, this has an initial vivacious and pulsing energy that settles giving some green pepper, eucalyptus and cedar notes as well as liquorice and clove which then dominate the finish. It starts well, with such pace, and you feel the fruit has been well worked with tannins that are silky and fine. This has density and chew which I love as well as structure and backbone wine overall finesse. Great potential here. 94 points, Georgina Hindle (Decanter). Drink 2025-2048

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Our Best Value Picks of the Vintage

Chateau Berliquet 2021

This Chateau is for savvy collectors in the know – purchased back in 2017 by Chanel, owner of Canon and Rauzan Segla. Berliquet sits on some serious terroir, so close to Canon it basically could be Canon. It’s also close to Chateau Angelus and Chateau Ausone, two stars of the appellation. The shared factor between these Chateaux is the coveted clay and limestone of St. Emilions plateau – there is less limestone cover at Berliquet than Canon, which gives Berliquet more precision than Canon. A Yin to Canon’s Yang.

Berliquet has scored 92-93 points from William Kelley of the Wine Advocate who says the estate “continues to go from strength to strength under the administration of Nicolas Audebert” it also scores 91-93 points from Neal Martin who says it is “One to watch” and we couldn’t agree more.

The quality at the Chateau has risen considerably under their new technical director Nicolas Audebert (also the TD at Canon and Rauzan Segla). Thomas Duclos, Bordeaux’s current favoured consultant was also hired. The team believe that Berliquet has the same potential as Chateau Canon to produce some of the right bank’s most stellar wines. While both Canon and Rauzan Segla are often enormously over-subscribed upon release, Berliquet remains a lesser known rising star benefitting from all the same investment and expertise as its stablemates. The scores have already started to rise at this estate, and under Duclos, this is a property is one to keep an eager eye on!

From the critics

The 2021 Berliquet shows considerable promise, exhibiting aromas of cherries, wild berries, raw cocoa and rose petals, followed by a medium to full-bodied, lively and charming palate that’s framed by powdery tannins and tangy acids. Concluding with a long and saline finish, this estate continues to go from strength to strength under the administration of Nicolas Audibert and his team. 92-93 Points, William Kelley (The Wine Advocate).

The 2021 Berliquet is the best wine the new team led by Technical Director Nicolas Audebert has made since taking over the property a few years ago. The purity of the fruit is striking. Red cherry, plum, lavender, rose petal and spice lend nuance throughout. Despite the obviously challenging growing season, the Berliquet team turned out a very pretty wine. Impressive. Tasted three times. 91-93 Points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous). Drink 2029-2036

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Chateau La Gaffeliere 2021

La Gaffeliere is a wine that may not be on everyone’s radars yet, but it certainly deserves to be. Antonio Galloni calls La Gaffeliere “a property that continues to impress” and in the past three vintages has proved to be something of a bargain considering their tall scores and rave reviews. It’s unsurprising really, considering their extraordinary terroir. They are situated right next to Chateau Ausone and Chateau Pavie in St Emilion. In 2021, La Gaffeliere have produced one of the wines of the vintage: Antonio Galloni calls it “a wine of extraordinary finesse and class” and awards it 95-97 points. To put this in perspective, this is the same score (AG) as Canon, Margaux, Lafleur, Haut Brion and Lafite. The 2021 La Gaffeliere is released at just £288 IB per 6. This is an estate on a very exciting trajectory.

From the critics

The 2021 La Gaffelière is a wine of extraordinary finesse and class. Time in the glass brings out striking depth and complexity. The aromatics alone are beguiling but everything about the 2021 speaks to elegance. Crushed red berry fruit, rose petals, blood orange, mint and saline notes punctuate the finish. 95-97 Points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous). Drink 2031-2061

The 2021 La Gaffelière was picked September 22 to October 15, and matured in 60% French new oak. There is a healthy 42% Cabernet Franc here. The nose is quite open with black cherry, blueberry and touches of violet and peony; the oak is nicely integrated. In the mouth, this is medium-bodied with fine delineation, good focus and real midpalate weight. Conveying good intensity and vibrancy, this continues a strong run for this Saint-Émilion estate. 94-96 Points, Neal Martin (Vinous). Drink 2028-2055

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Chateau Laroque 2021

This Chateau lays testament to the fact that there is still phenomenal value for money to be found in Bordeaux – unsurprisingly we sell out quickly every year. It could be double the price and would still sell out, it is that good.

Scoring 93-95 Points from Antonio Galloni who calls it “a standout” and says “David Suire fashioned a gem. Don’t miss it”, this under £20 a bottle claret massively over delivers for its price tag. This is a wine to buy in quantity – collectors at all levels recognise that Laroque is massively undervalued in the Bordeaux marketplace.

Since David Suire joined Laroque as winemaker in 2015, after time spent at Premier Grand Cru Classe Chateaux Beausejour Duffau-Lagarosse and Larcis Ducasse, the quality has absolutely skyrocketed. This 13th century estate has been heavily invested in both the winery and the vineyards and we continue to see great wines emerge from this estate. The 2021 is superb effort; don’t miss this one.

From the critics

The 2021 Laroque is a standout. Bright and racy, with tremendous persistence, Laroque stakes its claim as Saint-Émilion’s brightest rising star. Bright limestone accents run through a core of red/purplish fruit, rose petal, mint and white pepper. There is a linear intensity to Laroque that is hugely appealing. Technical Director David Suire fashioned a gem. Don’t miss it. 93-95 Points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous).

The 2021 Laroque is very promising indeed, and winemaker David Suire and I agree that it is likely to surpass the estate’s 2018 vintage in quality. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of sweet berries, plums and cherries, framed by a discreet patina of new oak, it’s medium to full-bodied, seamless and complete, with excellent concentration, lively acids and ripe, melting tannins. A blend of 99% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc, it represents 45% of the estate’s production and derives from vines more than 50 years old. 92-95 Points, William Kelley (The Wine Advocate).

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Chateau La Clotte 2021

Chateau La Clotte is one of the oldest Bordeaux vineyards in the right bank, with roots dating back to the late 14th Century. Now run by the Vauthier family, owners of the coveted Chateau Ausone, La Clotte is a phenomenal wine for those in the know. Produced by the same team at Ausone, a wine which trades at almost ten times the price (the 2021 released at £3,030 per 6 IB) La Clotte gives savvy buyers the chance to buy into the Ausone stable at a fraction of the price.

The small, 4-hectare vineyard has magnificent terroir, located on the beautiful limestone plateau of Saint Emilion and enviably positioned between Chateau Ausone and Pavie-Macquin They occupy one of the higher elevations in the appellation, reaching up to 75 meters at its peak. Chateau La Clotte wines are truly reflective of its terroir and winemaking. Expect a mineral driven, concentrated and opulent style. In our opinion, Chateau La Clotte remains a true Saint Emilion insider’s secret wine due to its high quality, increasingly sought after reputation and pedigree.

From the critics

Aromas of sweet berries, cherries and rose petals, framed by nicely integrated new oak, preface the 2021 La Clotte, a medium to full-bodied, supple and charming wine that’s beautifully refined and intensely flavored, concluding with a long, saline finish. It’s a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc from the Vauthier family of Château Ausone. 91-93 points, William Kelley (The Wine Advocate).

The 2021 La Clotte is an attractive, soft wine. Bright red/purplish fruit, gentle spice, a touch of new oak and mocha come together nicely. The 2021 is a pretty, mid-weight La Clotte that will drink well with minimal cellaring. Franc aromatics, such a signature of this wine, aren’t quite apparent. La Clotte does its malo in oak, and there is a bit of cooperage that needs to integrate. 90-92 Points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous). Drink 2024-2033

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Chateau Clerc Milon 2021

From the exclusive Mouton Rothschild stable is the brilliant Fifth Growth Pauillac, Chateau Clerc Milon. At £342 per 6 IB, this top-value Pauillac offers superb, and affordable access to the majesty of Mouton Rothschild in a charming style. With vines situated between Lafite and Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Clerc Milon’s 2021 offers quintessential Pauillac from this terroir-driven estate. For Galloni, “2021 Clerc Milon is gorgeous” with a “classic sense of structure”. William Kelley also awards 92-94 points, calling the 2021 “a success, bursting with aromas of blackberries, cassis and plums mingled with violets, tobacco leaf and nicely integrated new oak”.

Clerc Milon has always been a wine in high demand due to its consistent exceptional quality and as it is one of the esteemed wines in the Rothschild stable – adored by all, the 2021 is no change to this. The price of Clerc Milon consistently accelerates rapidly on release, we expect the 2021 to follow this trend due to the global love for this wine which we also loved during tasting in Bordeaux last month. This is a fantastic vintage to own for any lover of Clerc Milon or for speculation over 3-5 years.

From the critics

The 2021 Clerc Milon is a success, bursting with aromas of blackberries, cassis and plums mingled with violets, tobacco leaf and nicely integrated new oak. Medium to full-bodied, layered and seamless, it’s deep, fleshy and complete, with a rich core of succulent fruit, beautifully polished tannins and a long, sapid finish, it’s a compelling, characterful wine that transcends the vintage. 92-94 points, William Kelley (The Wine Advocate).

The 2021 Clerc Milon is gorgeous. Beams of tannin lend energy and direction to an alluring Clerc Milon that marries fruit density with a classic sense of structure that is quite appealing. 92-94 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous). Drink 2029-2041

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