Opinion : En- Primeur 2016

This year , as happens every year, in the wine market the release of the en-primeur wines is upon us. The importance of price relies on the quality of the vintage . The best years of Bordeaux carry the greater demand and the years that are regarded as the worst are usually cheaper.  These best years are often called “the stellar years” – 1982, 1990, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010 and now possibly 2016.

 Get the right producer for the right price and you could invest into a good return (Wine investment)

So what is a good investment in this years 2016 release

Having looked quite closely at the recent release there were prices that had jumped up (markets view on Prices) Indeed these producers have their prices listed below :

Chateau                 Release Price             Current Price (GBP)         % Change
Haut Brion                 £4,150                            £4,550                              9.64%
Lafite                          £4,390                             £5,000                             13.90%
Marguax                    £4,400                             £6,050                              37.50%
Mouton                      £4,150                             £4,600                              10.84%
Las Cases                   £1,450                             £1,590                               9.66%
Angelus                      £2,650                            £2,950                                11.32%
Palmer                        £2,160                            £2,400                               11.11%

So which Chateau is good value – one producer that stands out is


this years release price is  £372 En Primeur for a ½ case of 6 must be a steal !

To explain En Primeur in Grapewizard speakeasy is simple !

  • Wines are bought before they are bottled and released onto the market.
  • Wines are void of Duty and VAT and then usually shipped 2-3 years after the vintage. 
  • Wines are bought at In Bond prices – No Duty or VAT paid 
  • On arrival in the UK the wines will be stored, under bond until they are bought and then tax is paid

The main advantage with this is that the prices are always considerably cheaper than the future price of the wine on the open market.

How much is Wine Duty?
£2.16 per 75cl bottle of still wine.
UK VAT = 20% (applied after duty)

So add En Primeur price + £2.16 per bottle(Duty) and 20%vat  increase = cost of bought wine

Wine is a great investment and has been outstripping gold and silver in recent years and is often seen as an alternative to investing in Art

NOW the fun bit !!! 

LEOVILLE BARTON is situated in one of Bordeaux’s favoured regions . That of St Julien

St Julien is the smallest of the ‘Big Four’ Médoc communes, it is recognised as one of the most consistent of the main regions .  At their very finest they combine Margaux’s elegance and refinement with Pauillac’s power and substance.

Léoville Barton one of three estates in the Léoville estate and has been owned by the Barton family since 1826. There is no château and the wine is made at Langoa Barton. Léoville Barton’s 48 hectares of vineyards are located in the east of the St-Julien wine appellation and lie on gravelly-clay soils. They are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon 72%, Merlot 20%, Cabernet Franc 8%. The wine is matured in oak barrels  (50% new) for 18 months.

Since Anthony Barton (8th Generation) took over the reins quality has soared at Léoville Barton and the wine has gone from being a solid mid-league performing 2ème Cru Classé to one of the most exciting wines in St. Julien.

  • Léoville Barton is tannic and austere in youth but with time turns into a cedary character that is the hallmark of St. Julien, along with intensely pure blackcurrant and cassis fruit notes.

Léoville Barton’s wines are made for cellaring show at their best with 10-15 years of bottle ageing.

Anthony Barton was born in 1930 . He stood in line to inherit very little of the wine estate. His elder brother Christopher was the heir to other estates whilst the Bordeaux domaines belonged to his uncle Ronald who was expected to marry and have his own children who would subsequently inherit his estates. However Ronald was old by the time he married and had no children, thus Anthony who became heir.

 He moved to Bordeaux in 1951.  and such was the harvest that year that Anthony’s  Uncle Ronald told him, ”Another harvest like this and I will have to sell”.

 Since 1986, Anthony has lived in the Médoc château with his wife Eva.


Other notable family members to the estate include

  • Lilian Barton Sartorius (9th Gen.) and Anthony’s daughter
    Studied in England and at the age of 22 Lilian joined her father at his merchant company and obtained the DUAD wine tasting diploma at the University of Bordeaux.


For over 30 years they have divided their responsibilities between the Saint Julien vineyards and the merchant business ‘Les Vins Fins Anthony Barton’, where they were joined by Lilian’s husband, Michel Sartorius. Lilian Barton has now taken over from her father in running the wine properties and family merchant company. She has since been joined by her two children, Mélanie and Damien.

  • Mélanie Barton Sartorius,


the family’s 1st Oenologist, took on the role of Technical Director in 2013 at Chateau Mauvesin Barton in Moulis (Médoc), a domaine that was purchased by the family in 2011.

  • Damien Barton Sartorius


divides his time between the family’s properties and other wine related projects.


1st Wine           Chateau Leoville Barton

2nd Wine          La Reserve de Leoville Barton  

As with most Bordeaux producers every winemaker showcases their fines wines as the chateaux’s jewel.  Wines that are made to be accessible to the greater public at a lesser cost and intended to be a snapshot of what is about to come are often referred to as “second wines”  These are in no way inferior and allow consumers to purchase wines from high or low rated producers.

83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc


DATES OF MANUAL HARVEST – 25th september to 8th october

A stream of cherries, raspberries and grapefruit… Opulent and rich but with a glamour and class side, wrapped in a lace dress, extremely fine.

Wine cellar Insider commented on the 2016 Leoville Barton – “A nose of blackberry, licorice, earth and smoky tobacco is easy to notice. Darkly colored, Full bodied, rich, fresh, long and sweet, there is a reflection coming off the ample tannins and lift that accentuates the densely textured, fruit-filled finish. This wine leaves a great impression. Produced from blending 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Merlot, the wine reached 13% alcohol. The harvest took place September 29 to October 13. 94 – 96 Pts

 Fine + Rare commented “A consistent appellation from a quality perspective that offers masses of variety in terms of style. St Julien also appears to have produced some outstanding wines. Trademark elegance is abundant, combined robust but silky tannins, these were a pleasure to taste. Critics have already singled out Ducru-Beaucaillou and Léoville Las Cases for enormous praise. Although dependent on final pricing, Talbot and Clos du Marquis may well offer excellent value. Although only a handful of critics have released their scores, tasting notes from St Julien are peppered with “best ever” and comparisons to 2009, 2010 and 2015”

This wine is sure to last at least till 2040


So although a brief snap shot of the producer is outlined above there is an awful lot of choice for consumers to purchase and drink. Each region has its own characteristic and St Julien is no different. One omission in this blog is the price of Leoville-Barton’s 1st wine was approx £1500 per case (early 80’s) and yet today it is £374 for six. This can only surely be down to the producer being out of favour with drinkers. This producer is a favoured producer of Bordeaux and the quality is never in question. Maybe market demand is fickle and could be cyclical. What was once popular may once again be so. Tastes change and at the moment  Leoville-Barton is a serious inclusion to any investment

Its just a shame i have to wait a pesky 10-15 years to try it at its best




music Pairing :           images-1

Enjoy with “time-out” peace of mind and a leather club chair !


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Le Quattro Stagioni…one of my faves!

  2. Glyn says:

    Great article. As a fan of the Barton I completely agree. Great value for the 2016

Leave a Reply