For 2013 there may be some truth to this suggestion for removing unwanted red wine; the white wines of Bordeaux are a great vintage all round.
Where the reds struggled, particularly as a damp autumn affected the merlot harvest, the whites have flourished. Sauvignon Blanc was said to have fully ripened before it was picked, and the later-ripening Semillon was just ripe; giving fresh acidity and floral bouquet to the white wines.
Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth gave the impressive 95-98 point range to the dry white, Haut Brion Blanc, which leads the way for the left bank. This is clearly one of the few greats from the 2013 vintage, but is there a return to be found?
Below is a comparison of Haut-Brion Blanc recent vintages using the Wine Owners pricing charts:
The price appreciation for Haut Brion Blanc tells a common story: the low release price of 2008 has seen both price catch-up to other vintages and has entered its drinking window; bringing the market price up by 96% over 5 years (14% annualised return) to trade at €496 (SFr 604). Note that the post-2011 market decline has had little affect here, with these wines not fitting to the classic wish-lists of the market peak. James Suckling scored the 2008 vintage 93-96 points, so one may expect the 2013 vintage to come in at a slightly higher price point.
At the very top end of the scale, James Suckling’s 100-point Haut Brion Blanc 2010 is trading at just over €750 (SFr 910) but it is a little too early for its drinking window: the price is very likely to rise during this year, at least to match the 2009 which is currently at €820 (SFr 1,000).
Investment grade whites from Bordeaux 2013 may also include La Mission Haut Brion Blanc (93-96 points), Domaine de Chevalier (92-94 pionts)and Ch. Margaux Pavillon Blanc (90-93 points), but for your own cellar do bear in mind that wines such as Smith Haut Lafitte and Larrivet Haut Brion often have more than 90 points at a fraction of the price.
Whilst focussing in this blog on the Bordeaux blancs, we cast one quick glance at Cheval Blanc which is, of course, the grand red wine from St Emilion on the right bank. This year it leads the right bank, quite right for a Premier Grand Cru Classe A, and James Suckling gives a range of 93-94. The 2012 scored 94 points and was released at €340, but has risen nearly 10% over the last year to €370 (SFr 450); and the 2011 scored 93 points and now trades around €430 (SFr 525). Merchants would be happy to see at least 10% off the release price from last year, closer to €300, but realistically these prices could be sticky.