Now that Bordeaux en primeur 2021 tastings have wrapped, collectors and investors are eager to know how the vintage is faring. The good news is that many wines from renowned First Growth estates are showing great promise this year. The wines are refreshing, graceful and elegant — and the best have great potential for long-term aging.
That said, 2021 Bordeaux is one of the most diverse vintages in recent memory. Because the grapes ripened differently throughout the region, style varies from appellation to appellation and even from producer to producer. This is why it’s important to know which wines are the true standouts. Top-rated wines from producers like Château Haut-Brion and Château Margaux will likely sell out quickly when futures become available in June, so being “in the know” is the best way to prepare and secure your allocations.
In this guide, you’ll learn which wines were the stars of Bordeaux en primeur 2021, based on tasting notes written by Vinfolio’s experienced staff during our visit to the region’s top estates. You’ll also discover which wines other professional critics rank among the best of the vintage. With this knowledge at your fingertips, you’ll be ready to invest in the most sought-after 2021 futures and experience these elegant wines for yourself.
Now that the barrel tasting week of Bordeaux en primeur 2021 is over, it’s safe to say that this vintage has produced some standout wines despite a few setbacks during the growing season. While the quality of the wine varies more than it did for past successful vintages like 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2020, the top estates were able to use all of their resources to craft superb wines. This is perhaps the main take-away from Bordeaux en primeur 2021: craftsmanship still matters. This was a true “farmer’s vintage,” as Wine Advocate so succinctly states.
However, one fact to remember about 2021 Bordeaux is that yields were generally lower than they have been for other recent vintages. According to Jancis Robinson, 2021 yields were 22.5 percent lower than the 10-year average due to spring frost and other unfavorable weather conditions. What this means for collectors and investors is that there may be fewer bottles available. So it’s more important than ever to secure your investments early.
Overall, collectors may find that these wines are best enjoyed relatively young. This is a good opportunity for collectors looking to buy wines they can drink while they wait for their more age-worthy vintages to mature. Still, there are some 2021 wines that are already showing greater aging potential, particularly wines from First Growth estates.
As for investors, it’s important to look at historical market performance for Bordeaux to decide if the 2021 vintage is worth your time. According to Liv-ex, Bordeaux’s First Growth estates have experienced a 13.7-percent increase in price performance since the start of this year, showing there may be a growing interest in top estates like Château Margaux on the market. Likewise, Sauternes had an increase of 14.1 percent in market performance over the past year, and Left Bank wines are up by 9.7 percent. Based on historical data, investors might consider looking into futures of 2021 wines from First Growth estates, sweet Sauternes labels, or wines from the Left Bank.
It’s still too soon to say whether the price of 2021 Bordeaux will be the same or higher than other recent vintages, and it will likely vary by label. However, supply chain issues may cause the price of 2021 Bordeaux to increase slightly. Still, the top wines of the vintage are expected to have an excellent price-to-quality ratio.
While the 2021 growing season in Bordeaux wasn’t without its challenges, many of the wines are nevertheless fresh, polished, and a delight to drink. When members of the Vinfolio staff visited Bordeaux in April, some of the wines we tasted were truly exceptional — particularly the reds of top First Growth estates, the dry whites, and sweet Sauternes. There’s plenty to be excited about following the Bordeaux en primeur 2021 season. The wines below are perfect representations of just how spectacular this vintage can be. Make no mistake: this is not a vintage to skip if you adore expertly crafted, aromatic wines.
Left Bank First Growths stood out to Vinfolio’s staff during en primeur week in 2022. The skill of these storied producers resulted in rich, well-structured wines.
Because the 2021 vintage is so diverse in terms of style across the region, there’s something for every type of collector and investor. Outside of the four First Growths that release en primeur wines (Château Latour does not), one other Left-Bank red wine stood out during Vinfolio’s visit to Bordeaux for en primeur 2021:
The following wines are ones collectors and investors should have in their sights when futures go on sale this year:
Here are some of the standout wines other critics rated most highly during en primeur 2021:
|Wine Advocate||Château Margaux, Château Haut-Brion, Château Lafite-Rothschild|
|Neal Martin of Vinous||Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Margaux, Château Léoville-Las Cases|
One notable fact about the wines of the Right Bank is that there’s more Cabernet Franc in the blend than usual in 2021. This imparts greater aromatics to the wine, which means this may be the best year to invest if you prefer this style. Here are a few of the Right Bank red wines that stood out during Bordeaux en primeur 2021:
These wines are likely to be extremely popular when Bordeaux en primeur 2021 futures go on sale:
Other critics rated these wines among the best they sampled during en primeur week:
|Wine Advocate||Château Ausone, Château Lafleur|
|James Suckling||Le Pin, Château Lafleur, Château Pétrus|
|Neal Martin of Vinous||Château Lafleur, Vieux Château Certan, Château L’Église Clinet|
While there are plenty of red wines that stood out during Bordeaux en primeur 2021, the dry white wines have been some of the most impressive of the vintage. The cooler weather allowed the grapes to develop refreshing acidity and stunning aromatics. Here are a few of the best wines we sampled during en primeur week:
When it comes to investing in white Bordeaux from the 2021 vintage, it’s difficult to go wrong with wines from the Right Bank. Nearly every Right Bank producer had great success with their Blancs. These, coupled with the whites of Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion, are likely to be talked about for years to come. These are some of our top picks for wine futures:
These were some of the highest rated white wines from other critics visiting Bordeaux for en primeur week:
|Wine Advocate||Château Margaux (Pavillon Blanc), Domaine de Chevalier, Château Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion, Château Pape Clément|
|James Suckling||Château Lafleur, Domaine de Chevalier|
|Neal Martin of Vinous||Château Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion|
This was also a great year for sweet wines, and some may even prove to be the greatest wines of the past century for some estates. Because of the outstanding quality and extremely low yields, these vintages will likely be highly sought-after. However, only a few estates were showcasing their 2021 vintages during en primeur week in April. Some estates, like Château d’Yquem, offered tastings of the 2019 vintage instead (an equally impressive year that should be on collectors’ radars when it comes time to invest in futures). We will likely see the release of more 2021 sweet wines from Sauternes in the coming years, so keep a close watch in the meantime.
At the Bordeaux en primeur 2021 barrel tasting, we got our first glimpse of which wines are the potential stars of this vintage
Whether you’re a collector or a serious investor, the best way to secure 2021 Bordeaux is to purchase futures as soon as they become available. This will be especially important for the 2021 vintage due to a combination of low yields and supply chain challenges. Wines are likely to be in high demand but more limited in availability.
The first step to investing in the best wines of 2021 is to visit Vinfolio’s en primeur shop. However, as new wines are being released and added daily, it can be hard to keep up. Sign up for our en primeur 2021 mailing list to be the very first to know when a new release is available for purchase, including the most sought-after wines from First Growth estates. The majority of these futures will be available on the Vinfolio futures marketplace in June. This is also an excellent opportunity to invest in other vintages, like 2019 and 2020, since you can still find these wines at en primeur prices. Following the release of the 2021 vintage, these past vintages may become more in demand on the market, so it’s important to secure your wine as soon as possible.
The 2021 Bordeaux vintage is already shaping up to be a fascinating one for collectors and investors alike, and you could be one of the first to own the most sought-after wines of the year.