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En Primeur

Justerini & Brooks
En Primeur Bordeaux

It is a tale of two river banks. Although only separated by some thirty miles; the Medoc and the Right Bank are very different stylistically, historically and culturally. The left bank is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, largely due to the fast draining gravel soils found close to the Garonne estuary. St Emilion and Pomerol are predominantly planted with Merlot and a small smattering of Cabernet Franc. These varieties thrive on the limestone slopes and clay plateau found around St Emilion and Pomerol. In the Medoc one encounters fairy tale Chateaux surrounded by vast vineyards with little gradient. By contrast, the Right Bank has a much more varied topography, and the architecture and scale of winemaking are rather more modest. There is certainly a more ‘Burgundian’ approach here, contrasted with the more corporate and high tech ideology of the Medoc. Generalisations are difficult to make in Bordeaux, however, given the dominance of Cabernet on the left bank, wines tend to be more structured, cool and age-worthy, whereas the Merlot based wines from the right bank demonstrate a fleshy, approachable character, which affords earlier drinking. As with most generalisations, there are many exceptions; wines like Lafleur, Petrus, Cheval Blanc and Ausone are amongst the more cellar worthy wines produced anywhere in the world.

Bordeaux 2021

Vingt-et-un… the luck of the draw.

After two years tasting in gardens and via zoom, our recent primeurs trip marked a welcome return to Bordeaux. In truth, we had no expectations about this vintage. Unusually, chateaux have been playing their cards close to their chests, so we approached with no preconceptions.

A few points on the tastings themselves. The UGC calendar was delayed by about three weeks. This move has been welcomed. The extra time in barrel (even a couple of weeks) makes the wines much easier to assess. Our whole UK Private Client Team, as well as five Buyers, spent four days tasting barrel samples. Some might consider this overkill; however, for an advice-based business like Justerinis, we feel that this is essential. We believe salespeople need first-hand tasting experience in order to inform and advise. This is particularly valuable in vintages like 2021.

2021 threw just about everything at winemakers: frost, mildew, lack of sunshine and the threat of rain at harvest; yet those who manged the conditions and held their nerve have been rewarded with something quite ravishing and unique. It would be easy to write off a vintage like 2021 based on meteorological data, but that would be a disservice. While it requires some attention, there are undoubtedly many wines collectors will want in their cellars.

Bordeaux 2020

The Roaring ‘20s

Numerologists probably decided 2020 was destined for greatness many years ago. Every vintage ending with a zero is marked by success in the same way that seven spells disaster. Whilst 2020 is indeed the culmination of an unmatched trilogy, it was certainly not straightforward for vignerons and winemakers.

If 2019 was the Covid campaign, 2020 is the Covid vintage, produced during various stages of lockdown. As the first wave struck Europe, Bordeaux experienced yet another humid spring, which brought with it the ever-present danger of mildew and oidium. Like 2016 and 2018, everyone from First Growth to Bordeaux Superieur had to be extremely vigilant and work tirelessly to combat this threat. Though few would have thought it at the time, the water reserves stored up during winter and spring were to be critical to the success of the vintage.

Bordeaux at Justerinis

The UK has a special affection for the wines of Bordeaux. Clarets became the popular choice of British consumers following the marriage of Henry Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Since the 1700s, Justerini & Brooks has developed relationships with the negociants and Chateaux of the region. We pride ourselves at looking after the needs of discerning collectors including every reigning monarch since George III, seeking out the finest quality wines and offering our expertise and personal service.

How We Buy Bordeux

Every April our Buying and Sales teams travel to Bordeaux to taste the previous year’s crop. We sample hundreds of unfinished wines full of fruit, tannin and acidity. This punishing regime gives Justerini & Brooks an invaluable insight into the quality of the upcoming vintage. We are led by our Chairman, who alone has over forty years’ experience tasting primeurs. It is this expertise that allows us to form our buying decisions and provide the detailed advice our customers require. We also conduct regular tastings of maturing and mature vintages of Bordeaux to assess their development and keep abreast of trends. We also travel to Bordeaux ahead of the primeur tastings to meet with key chateaux and get an early glimpse at the forthcoming releases.
Our relationships in Bordeaux

Our relationships in Bordeaux

Over a couple of centuries Justerini & Brooks has developed strong relationships with Chateaux owners and negociants, collectively known at the ‘Place de Bordeaux’, who distribute their wines.

In addition to this, we are privileged to be one of the select few official distributors of two of Pomerol’s greatest names: Petrus and Chateau Lafleur. The wines of Pomerol are something of a speciality of ours. We have developed an unrivalled portfolio from this commune that includes: Le Pin, L’Eglise Clinet, Vieux Chateau Certan, L’Evangile, La Fleur Petrus, Hosanna and many more.

How you can buy from Justerinis

If you are interested in learning more about how to start buying with Justerini & Brooks please contact our team at or +44 (0)20 7484 6400 who will be able to offer personal advise and guide you through your purchasing decision in the coming campaigns.

Why not register with a Personal Cellar and start managing your portfolio today.
Purchasing large formats

Purchasing large formats

When the wine is still in barrel you can choose how you would like your wine bottled. We typically offer halves, magnums, double magnums and imperials for a small surcharge. Some Chateaux offer Salmanazars, Balthazars, Nebuchadnezzars and Melchiors (price and availability on request).

Large formats are wonderful party pieces for entertaining and special occasions, and usually command a large premium after bottling.


When it comes to purchasing fine wine, its provenance is of utmost importance, and can have an enormous influence on the eventual enjoyment it gives. The wine you buy from Justerini & Brooks will have come from the Chateau and supplier straight to our cellars in Octavian, Wiltshire. Almost uniquely among all of our competitors, every single case in our warehouse is then landed individually so that the precise case you buy from us is labelled and will be the exact one you will later have delivered out. Each case is uniquely identified and labelled with the customer’s name, the full details of the wine, and a rotation code that identifies the date that specific case arrived in the warehouse. In a marketplace increasingly exploited by counterfeit wines, buying primeur from Justerini & Brooks is one of the very best safeguards.

Are there risks in buying en primeur?

We recommend that any customer interested in en primeur be vigilant and research the company they are buying from. Primeurs are usually shipped two years after the original campaign and companies can run into trouble in the interim period. One should only buy primeurs from financially secure merchants with a long track record of delivery. We like to think that customers can be reassured that purchasing from Justerini & Brooks is as secure as it gets.

Enquire Now

To speak to one of our experts and schedule a consultation please submit an enquiry or contact us directly via:
  +44 (0)20 7484 6430
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