What is En Primeur wine?

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The Sommelier India publishers were the only Indian journalists participating in the En Primeur tastings in Bordeaux last week. This is the first in a series of posts discussing the week.

‘En Primeur’ is a French term for wine sold on a ‘futures’ basis before being bottled. It is a method for purchasing the wine early. Buyers hand over their cash in advance in the hope that by the time the wines are released into the market, their value would have increased dramatically. At that point the buyers can either pay tax and take possession of the wines or have them stored in a bonded warehouse until delivery or reselling. winetastingb.jpg


Technically any wine can be sold en primeur. However, the process is usually restricted to the best Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone Valley and Port wines. Bordeaux en primeur are released the spring after the harvest date. In the spring following the vintage, Bordeaux Cru Classé properties show cask samples of their wines and then release a small percentage of their total production.
Bordeaux négociants purchase these once the winemakers set the prices and either sell them onwards to consumers immediately or hold onto the wine until they’re bottled and released into the market. This is typically the cheapest way to buy new wines if you can get your hands on them.

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