What is ‘En Primeur’ in Bordeaux?
The practice of purchasing wine ‘en primeur’ has its roots in Bordeaux, dating back to the early 18th century, and has been adopted by other regions such as Burgundy and the Rhone Valley as well as regions outside of France. ‘En Primeur’, also known as wine futures, is an annual event that starts in April, where wine merchants and critics across the world gather to taste and purchase wines from the latest vintage that are still aging in barrels in the cellars of the wineries.
Based on their assessment of the quality and potential of the wine, they place orders for the wine at a price that is usually lower than what it will be once it’s bottled and released to the market approximately 2 years later. This means that wine lovers can get their hands on some of the world’s most sought-after wines before they even hit the market!
Of course, there are some risks involved with ‘En Primeur’. The quality of the wine may not live up to expectations, and there’s always the possibility that the wine won’t age as well as anticipated. However, ‘En Primeur’ remains an important part of the wine industry, particularly in Bordeaux, as it sets the tone for the release of the vintage depending on the scores and can influence prices for years to come. It also offers a unique opportunity to secure some of the world’s finest wines before they’re released to the general public.
During this time some chateaux may be closed to visitors, as the winemakers may be focused on the preparations of presenting the new vintage to wine critics. So, be sure to check beforehand to see if they have any specific hours during the primeur season so that you won’t be disappointed!