O’Briens Wine Beer & Spirits
33 Spruce Avenue Stillorgan Industrial Park Co. Dublin Ireland Ireland
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en primeur

  • 2016 Bordeaux En-Primeur

    After a slow start, the 2016 Bordeaux campaign is now well underway,  and for the first time this year we are offering the wines online, for those that haven't previously bought En-Primeur, I have attached below a simple explanation of the process.

    En-Primeur presents an opportunity to purchase Bordeaux whilst still in barrel. You will receive your wines in two years' time when it is bottled and shipped (May 2019).

    Payable now is the cost of the wine. In the spring of 2019 will you will be invoiced for the duty, VAT and shipping costs associated with your purchase.

    The advantage of buying En-Primeur is that you are getting the lowest price that the wine is likely ever to sell for. People hoping to buy the wine in two years’ time, when it is released, will most likely have to pay a significantly higher price.

    Please see below for our latest Bordeaux offers, some wines have limited stock allocations, we will be in touch once we have confirmed your order with Châteaux.

    Vintage Report

    Thanks to favourable weather conditions throughout the 2016 growing season, the wines have been widely acknowledged as perhaps the best produced this Century, and there can be no doubt that some exceptionally good wines were made at certain Châteaux, particularly in the communes of St. Julien, St. Estephe & Pauillac.

    With this in mind, we have selected, for our Bordeaux en-primeur campaign, only those Châteaux which we feel offer some value in their pricing.

    What the critics had to say:

    "2016 is unequivocally a great vintage in Bordeaux. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise…..we are looking at a vintage that can send tingles down the spine and back up again. Over twenty years of tasting Bordeaux from barrel at en primeur, this was my most pleasurable tasting experience alongside the 2009." - Neal Martin, the Wine Advocate

    “I have so far tasted some absolutely stunning reds (I have even been tempted to give a few scores of 19 out of 20 – virtually unheard-of for me).”– Jancis Robinson

    “2016 is an exceptional vintage equal to the exquisite 2015. In some regions like St. Estèphe and the Northern Medoc the wines are even better.”- James Suckling

    Our first offers are listed below:

    Château Kirwan owner, Yann Schÿler at his historic Margaux estate.

    Chateaux Kirwan, Margaux                                       €460 / Dozen

    “This is an effortlessly elegant and classy Margaux. Real structure where the tannins hold without being intrusive, close to the 2015 in quality. They have new cellars here, so lots to look forward to over the next decade as they really begin to benefit from the extra precision. Extremely classic Margaux, a great signature of the appellation.”  

    93 points Decanter  


    Château Langoa Barton, St. Julien                           €536 / Dozen

    “The fresh blueberry, cherry and black currant flavours give this a wide range, while racy graphite and a mouth-watering anise streak drive the finish. The fruit is so enticing that you lose track of how solidly built this is through the finish.”

    93-96 points Wine Spectator

    Owner Jean-Charles Cazes at the Iconic Lynch Bages

    Echo de Lynch Bages, Pauillac                                  €422 / Dozen

    “The second wine of Lynch is linear and tight with beautiful blackberry and currant character. Medium to full body, firm tannins and an energetic finish. Super concentrated on the centre palate.”

    93-94 points - James Suckling

    Château Lynch Moussas, Pauillac                            €404 / Dozen

    “This is very dense and intense with lovely intensity and energy. Dense, round and savoury tannins. Another winner from here.”

    93-94 points James Suckling

    Les Ormes de Pez, Saint Estèphe                             €317 / Dozen

    “An impressive bouquet: blackcurrants, boysenberry and crème de cassis, all with very well integrated new oak. There is a lot of panache here, a word perhaps I have not associated with this Saint Estèphe in recent years. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, a lovely grainy texture, quite pure with lovely blackberry, melted tar and slightly savoury, almost meaty notes. Harmonious right to the end, this is an excellent Les Ormes de Pez that seems to revel in the 2016 vintage. This might be one of the best wines from the estate.”

    93-94 points Neal Martin, the Wine Advocate

    Please note: All prices quoted are for 12 bottle cases delivered to our bonded warehouse in Dublin. A balance payment will be required in the spring of 2019 to cover excise duty, VAT and shipping costs before the wines will be released.

  • En Primeur 2012

    More than any other vintage in the last decade this is one in which you have to put your trust not in vintage reports and critics feedback but in individual Château. Those who picked in one of the few ideal ‘rain windows’ and those who went through meticulous selection at harvest time managed to produce quite beautiful wines, those who didn’t, didn’t. These are wines for the mid-term although certain Château have made very structured wines that look like they will have staying power.

    What will make this vintage hopefully very attractive is the wines should be relatively affordable. After the very expensive ’09s and ’10s and the ‘big drop’ in 2011 – that never really materialised –  Bordeaux have now realised that prices need to come down if they want to move any volume. Already some serious reductions have been seen, others have not been so wise.

    We are about to launch our offers and we are only offering wines we believe are genuinely very good for this vintage. Four days of heavy duty tasting in April has given us a very clear view of which wines are really worth getting behind.

    St. Estèphe for example was largely disappointing but I would happily stand over the following Châteaux: Ormes de Pez, Lafon Rochet and Phélan Ségur. Moving down the Médoc and there were some very good Pauillacs: Pontet Canet is sublime, Lynch-Bages & it’s baby brother Echo were excellent as were both the Pichons - avoid anything with Grand Puy in the name and Haut-Bages Liberal fell somewhat short of the mark.

    St. Julien was again very good, maybe not as homogenous as recent years but the blue bloods showed their class here: The Léovilles and Langoa were serious, accomplished wines that will age well; Gruaud Larose was ripe and plush where Talbot and St. Pierre were found lacking. Gloria - considering its price point - was one of the best wines in the appellation.

    Margaux which is normally a bit ‘all over the place’ was surprisingly consistent this year and there was a raft of exceptionally good wines for mid-term ageing. Château Margaux itself was a beauty but was  followed closely by Palmer and Rauzan SeglaKirwan, Brane Cantenac, Cantenac Brown,  d’Issan, Lascombes, du Tertre and Siran were all very successful.

    On the right bank Pomerol was one of the real successes, many great wines were made; La Conseillante, Clinet, Le Gay were all powerful, concentrated wines while La Pointe and Petit-Village had a lighter more floral nature but equally attractive.

    St. Émilion had some what can only be called challenging wines and here Château selection is most important. The wines I have the greatest faith in after tasting are: Pavie-Macquin, Troplong Mondot, Canon-la-Gaffelière and for sheer approachability and hopefully value La Tour Figeac.

     Other wines which showed particularly well at the tastings and are worth looking out for from mixed appellations were: Chasse-Spleen, Sociando Mallet, Cambon La Pelouse, Sénéjac, Bellegrave and Poujeaux.

    We release our offers on Monday but here is a sneak preview, if you spot anything you want to reserve then contact me directly on dstewart@obrienswines.ie.

  • Bordeaux is a lot more than just the ‘Big Names’

    Having spent the last four days tasting through nearly all of Bordeaux’s main wines from the 2012 vintage - and a lot more besides - I could easily be forgiven for being a little tired! It is a physically tiring tasting with so many extremely young, tannic red wines however, my enthusiasm for Bordeaux has not tired in the slightest. Indeed seeing what this region is capable of doing in a tricky year like 2012 has only increased Bordeaux in my estimations and I am sure this is the case for many others.

    From probably the 2005 vintage onwards there has been a marked improvement from top to bottom; better fruit ripeness, better balance and more purity in the wines from this vast region. However what has really impressed over the last few years is the quality of the more affordable wines.

    I will follow up on the 2012 with an En Primeur report but in the meantime there is plenty of enjoyment still to be had with recent vintages. A good place to start is the 2008 vintage of which there are still some wines available. A personal favourite is the smart, modern (but elegant) Château Gironville which at €17.99 (was €19.99) is very hard to beat. There is not too much of this left so I advise anyone interested in experiencing one of the region’s over-performers to be quick and grab a bottle before it is gone for good.

    Another rejuvenation to take note of is that of Château Fourcas Hosten (€24.95) the 2008 shows a marked change in form and style, richer, fuller and more complete than any earlier Fourcas. These improvement paid off with the 2008 earning the Château a four star Decanter rating and a ‘Buy of the Vintage’ Tag.

    2009 is lauded one of regions ‘best ever’ vintages and for once this is true. This was a perfect year, the weather couldn’t have been better and the wines have a generosity and voluptuousness that is hugely enjoyable. Top Bordeaux house CVBG Dourthe has had huge success over the years with their Château Pey La Tour Reserve €17.99 but the 2009 is THE vintage to buy. Merlot rich and barrel matured this has the nose and palate of  much more expensive wines from neighbouring communes – chiefly the St. Emilion group.

    For a taste of St. Emilion itself the 2009 Vieux Château des Combes (€19.99) is a gorgeous, floral Bordeaux with very pure blackberry fruit and an accent of good French oak. There is a silky texture to this wine that belies its price-point and makes this a highly pleasurable wine experience. Decant, leave for half an hour and match up with roast loin of pork or slow-braised lamb.

    So take confidence in Bordeaux’s recent vintages, there are lovely wines to be found from 2008, 2009 and 2010, meanwhile the 2011s that are just beginning to arrive and will reward cellaring for a couple more years.

    Just remember to follow these two important rules in order to enjoy Bordeaux at its best:  Bordeaux is designed for food and young Bordeaux likes to breathe – so decant.

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