The two original Saint Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) Chateaux – Ausone and Cheval Blanc – have been released this morning, both coming out at €360 per bottle ex-negociant and being offered by merchants at £3,430.
Ausone is up 20% on 2013 (€300) and up 1.4% on 2012 (€355). In spite of being “quite smitten” with the tasting and describing it as “surfeit with style and panache”, Neal Martin awarded it a range of 93-95 points – equal to the 2013. Back vintages with similar scores from Robert Parker – including the 2004 and 2007 – are available on the secondary market for less, while the 98-point 2008 is available at only a small premium.
However, other critics rated the most recent release more highly: James Suckling awarded it 95-96 points while Jean Marc Quarin gave it 98 – his top-rated 2014.
At €360 per bottle ex-negociant, Cheval Blanc is up 20% on 2013 (€300) and up 5.9% on 2012 (€340). With a price tag of £3,430 per 12×75 from merchants, several back vintages are available for less – though each of these have lower scores. Neal Martin reported: “This is a formidable Cheval Blanc whose evolution will be fascinating to witness” and awarded it 95-97. The views of other critics were more consistent than with Ausone: most reviewers on the Liv-ex Critical Opinion page scored it between 95-98 points. James Molesworth (Wine Spectator) went slightly higher at 96-99, and the trade voted it third best wine of 2014 in the Liv-ex members’ En Primeur survey. In terms of price, the 2006 appears to offer the most value to the buyer: it has a score of 95 and is available on the secondary market for less than the most recent release.