The Bordeaux Index Cellar Guide: What to Invest

Bordeaux Index

22 November 2023

December 2023: Our recommendations on what to invest

Many of our team manage portfolios for friends, family and clients all over the world that we have forged years-long bonds with. As such, any recommendations or picks we make are well-considered, drawing on experience, information, flow data and intuition gathered from trading wine globally, 24/7.

Bordeaux Index Fine Wine
The team visiting Chateau Canon during En Primeur 2022
The team visiting Château Canon during En Primeur 2022

Château Canon: Bordeaux’s Top Gun

The iconic terroir, a rich history and a narrative arc that has seen its name rise and fall and rise again, if one were to choose a Bordeaux estate on which to base a Hollywood movie, it would be St.Emilion’s Château Canon. Indeed, its rejuvenation completed by a winemaker with leading-man-looks to boot; the dynamic return to the top for this venerable estate, following a crisis of confidence, is the sort of script Tom Cruise has made a career out of.

The vintages of the 1950s are the stuff of legend, indeed one or two of the vintages in the ‘80s are also damn fine but it wasn’t until the acquisition of Canon by Chanel in 1996 and the midas touch of Bordeaux legend John Kolasa, that Canon was on the road to restoring its reputation from those glory years. This foundation paved the way for Nicolas Auderbert, one of the most talented winemakers out there, to take them to the next level. A string of breath-taking vintages since Nicolas’s arrival in 2014 has seen Canon’s name rightly mentioned alongside the likes of Cheval Blanc, Pavie, Angelus and Ausone once more.

Buy: Château Canon 2015 ex Château release 2021 - GBP 2150 per case of 6 bottles in bond

Buy: Château Canon 2016 - GBP 615 per case of 6 bottles in bond

"The 2016 Canon has the unenviable task of following the astonishing 2015, and it does a damn good job, even if it doesn’t reach the same ethereal heights. There is a pleasing strictness and poise on the nose; this is less immediate than the 2015, yet intellectual, a Canon that expresses its terroir rather than tons of fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a fine bead of acidity, a smooth texture and a slightly savory but persistent finish, which feels a little plusher than the 2015, implying that this might drink a little earlier. But there is unquestionably immense breeding locked into this rejuvenated Saint-Émilion, which is now firmly ensconced among the top-flight Right Banks." - Neal Martin, Vinous, 97 Points

Located in the heart of St.Emilion atop its famed limestone plateau, planted to roughly 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, Nicolas Auderbert has fashioned Canon, if you’ll pardon the expression, into a stylish, perfumed and supple St.Emilion. Its innate minerality and Nicolas’s light touch bringing balance to its opulent fruit. There is more than a nod stylistically to some of the legendary vintages of yesteryear. With critics from both sides of the pond fawning over recent vintages and the wine selling well during EP, the temptation for the Château’s owners would be to ramp the price up to similar levels as its peers. Mercifully, they have largely shown restraint (for now). Although the already iconic 100pt 2015 vintage has appreciated significantly since it was released, these triumphant vintages of the Nicolas Auderbert era, all sit at the affordable end of the spectrum. Indeed I can think of few better, more exciting wines at this level from anywhere. Given the trajectory they are on too, tucking a few cases away into the cellar should prove a fruitful move.

Buy: Château Canon

Bordeaux Index Fine Wine
The team visiting Chateau Canon during En Primeur 2022
The team visiting Château Canon during En Primeur 2022

Newly Minted Single Malts from Craigallachie, Royal Brackla, Blair Athol and more

As demand for cask whisky continues at pace, both for single malt bottlings, as well as blending and independent bottlings, distilleries are increasingly holding back their supply. Finding young casks, let alone new make, from established distilleries is harder and harder. New make casks in particular are becoming rare and offered sporadically within the trade – casks filled with fresh distillate, that can only officially be called single malt whisky after three years in wood; something akin to En Primeur for Bordeaux, giving a ground level chance of access to private clients. New distilleries may offer ‘founders casks’, though caveated that the distillery may not even be open, let alone running their first spirit off the stills. It is more important than ever therefore to be highly selective about what to acquire, and who to work with, in the exciting cask trade space.

Thanks to a number of years of responsibly sourcing casks, we are proud to have access to a number of opportunities unlikely to be seen elsewhere – none more so than our current incredible selection of young casks each from recognised distilleries across the Highlands and Speyside, each filled at a distillery specific volume of litres and alcohol. There is a clear incentive to secure casks at this age.

Please email your account manager or [email protected] for our full more details and our full cask list.

Bordeaux Index Fine Spirits
Royal Brackla distillery
Royal Brackla distillery

Read our other December 2023 Cellar Guides here:

December 2023 Recommendations: What to Drink

December 2023 Recommendations: What to Collect