First Release: a new way to buy wines in bond

True enough but I don’t think there’s ever a correlation of that kind. Maybe that’s an argument never to buy >£25 wines…? (And maybe that would be good advice!)

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I think there is something in this, had a similar discussion yesterday about the unwillingness of the UK market to pay the general market price for Ribera del Duero, which is above the norm for Spain.

A subset of Xinomavro drinkers (possibly especially among TWS members) have shifted towards it in part to find value where they feel it no longer exists in Burgundy and Piedmont.

Accordingly, they may be less willing to start paying the prices of those regions, even if the top price of this producer is still nowhere near that of Burgundy/Piedmont. The fortunate continued existence of high QPR mid-priced wines from Thymiopolous means they still have the choice. Most Burgundy producers learned some time ago not to allow their customers the dream of “value” options…


I guess you’re right but personally I can’t really justify another purchase.
I would like to try it for sure but as an example the regular Dalamara at £20 delivers 70% of the experience compared to the Paliokalias at £40.
I guess this is a similar situation. It’s my personal opinion and it all boils down to taste and perceived value.


Perfectly understandable. Now you see why I had to resist the siren call of 2019 Barolo - I had my greedy eyes on other things!

The basic Dalamara is a brilliant wine, especially at that price. I wonder for how long…?

PS I’m also dodging Rhone and Burgundy this year which, with Barolo avoided, frees up a fair bit of wine budget!


Too rich for me I’m afraid even for a single bottle, but thanks anyway! :smiley:

This old-chestnut discussion kind of links in with the recent post about the mixed 6 Ridge Zinfs. Ridge Zinfs 2020

Ridge produces awesome wines, Zinf blends up to the Bordeaux-aping Montebello. I have bought a small quantity most years for the past, what, 25 years, and yes I’ve ordered the mixed 6 2020s. The wines have been consistently excellent but here’s the thing; I used to be able to afford Montebello, and now no longer can justify it. Geyserville is going the same way; what used to be the bargain option now itself is getting almost unjustifiable.

The wines haven’t changed though, insofar as they are always delicious but the steep escalation of the prices does in no way reflect an exponential augmentation of quality.

I’ve posted before on this but once we’re getting above the £25-30 price point it’s just as much, if not more, about supply and demand.


It’s about supply and demand at all levels, not just above £25-30!

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I suppose it is about supply and demand, but the balance is significantly different at different levels.


As I’ve avoided the Barolo and Rhone EP offers this year, I’m willing to punt on a couple of bottles of this. His wines are right up my street so very happy to give this a go.

I expect I’ll regret that I only bought 2 bottles.

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Once they’ve drained their lake, perhaps they can come and assist us with draining the swamp and cleaning the stables…

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We can but hope!

And the law of diminishing returns …!!

I’ve bought plenty from TWS without prior tasting. In fact that is why they are my favourite supplier still. Their wine buyers judgement


A little spennier than I’d like, but also would be rude to pass up.



Vrana Petra Xinomavro Apostolos Thymiopoulos 2018 Naoussa

I only requested 2 bottles as a punt, but got the confirmation of allocation for them today. Hope everyone who ordered was successful. Never had this level of Xinomavro, so look forward to trying it.


I still do not understand how ‘first release’ and E.P. differ.

It seems that one is sparing the chateau the bother of maturing the bottles for a year or two in their majestic cellars. So presumably F.R. should be cheaper than E.P.

And F.R gets first dibs on limited releases, so E.P can charge more when they come to market.

Is that it?

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I suppose in one sense FR and EP are the same, in that FR is a way of effectively offering EP for regions/producers that don’t do EP in the way of Bordeaux et al. It’s a similar sort of “first dibs” offer, except made around the time the wine is bottled and ready for shipping, rather than when the wine may still be in barrel.

Not sure it particularly spares the producer any cellaring (whether in barrel or bottle), this one is over 4 years from vintage, and the recently offered Bohórquez was a 2017. Most EP is delivered sooner after vintage than that.

As to the other main marketing points for FR - securing supply of highly demanded wines and (presumably benefiting from) the release prices, I guess those benefits remain to be seen, on a case by case basis (in fairness, pretty similar to EP). Genuine advantage or preying on FOMO? We shall see. Being able to buy and cellar them in bond (at a price, of course), does offer some cash flow advantage.

I passed on the Bohórquez because I thought there was plenty out there the same or better in and around that price point, and suspect it will be available to buy on the regular list later.

This one is probably a smaller quantity, and a (fairly cursory) search for availability of the 2017 showed it to be pretty thin on the ground. For me it was also something different (high end Xin) so thought I’d go for it. I may prove to be a victim of FOMO, but as long as TWS/others aren’t subsequently selling the wine at a material discount to the FR price, I won’t feel like I’ve really lost anything (unless I hate the wine, since I don’t have a lot of reviews to go on, albeit the limited Vivino reviews for the 17 were very positive). The “case of 1” option also appealed as it was a punt. Those are my buying factors, no doubt others will feel differently, and perhaps the exact opposite.


The First Release offer of LRA 904 Gran Reserva 2015 (designated Selección Especial) has landed. £300 per 6 in bond.


One heck of a price jump. Last one of those I bought was the '11 in '21 for £47 dp. Now it will be over £62 dp.


It certainly is a price jump, and a cynic might say that the SE designation, apparently used for the first time ever on 904, is being used in part to justify that.

On the other hand, while I’m not particularly a Rioja aficionado, relative to prices for other high end wines in Spain and elsewhere, you are still getting quite a lot of wine quality for the money. Higher end Rioja producers seem to be looking to close the price gap with comparable quality wines produced elsewhere. Everyone will of course have their own tipping point on QPR.