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Invitation to Ask Me Anything: EP Bordeaux with buyer Tim Sykes, 3rd July 1-2pm



Hi everyone!

It’s time for another AMA (Ask Me Anything) Q&A, and this one’s going to be a cracker!

Ask Me Anything: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes, July 3rd, 1-2pm

Our 2018 Bordeaux En Primeur Offer is now live, and you’ve already been chatting about it on our en primeur group (you can join it here if you’re not already part of the group) - and who better to ask for advice than our brilliant Bordeaux buyer Tim?! :smiley:

Tim’s been part of the Buying team since 2012. As well as buying Bordeaux, he also buys Beaujolais and Sherry (sounds like a dream job!) so you’re welcome to ask questions about those regions too. You can find out a little bit more about Tim here. :smiley:

How to take part

Send us your questions by replying to this topic. Tim will then join us live for an hour from 1pm on Wednesday 3rd July and answer the advance questions we’ve already received, plus as many follow-up/‘live’ questions as possible.

Click here to see what happened during our last AMA with three of our Executive Team!

:point_down::point_down: Looking forward to seeing your questions appear below…! :point_down: :point_down:

[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

Hi Tim

How hard is it to judge something from the barrel to see how it will be in bottle in 5, 10, 15 years +?

Are we planning to offer more mid-priced (£15-20) Cru Bourgeois wines as a standard offering week in, week out? It seems quite often we have wines in the budget bracket and premium and not so much inbetween. I feel that’s a great level to show some of the techniques and attention that gives that distinctive, quality taste but is also affordable.

Also, I love Beaujolais Cru as it offers tremendous fine wine value - What are your plans to look at top quality bottles from there (£20+). I tried the 2009 Moulin a vent @~£21 you stocked recently and thought why on earth do people bother with Burgundy?! :grinning:

Many thanks in advance

[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

Hi Tim,

I fell in love with Sherry after being offered some Palo Cortado at a friend’s house in Spain a few years back. Before that I had the usual image of Sherry/Grandma/Xmas to put me off. Those of us who love it can’t believe that such a complex wine, with oodles of flavour and finesse - not to mention food friendliness- is still so cheap.

In your opinion - will Sherry always be the wine enthusiast’s passion, or do you see a time in which more people learn to appreciate its versatility?

Thanks! :slight_smile:

[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

I wonder if you could give us a little insight as to what is going on currently with Bordeaux pricing. I’ve just been looking at EP prices over '16, '17 and '18 and some mid priced ones are going up crazy amounts (Angludet, Chasse-Spleen, Puy-Blanquet) whilst other, comparable ones are hardly changing or even occasionally falling (Grand Corbin-Despagne, Cantemerle, d’Aiguilhe).

Is it just supply and demand? Or are they pricing up an ‘exceptional’ vintage? I’ve only looked at the ones I tend to buy and maybe I’m just unlucky that some of my favourites have become trendy?

[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!
pinned globally #5


Hi Tim,

I’ve noticed that certain producers release EP prices early and others (Figeac. VCC) very late…is there a strategy to this?

[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

Hi Tim,
I’m a real fan of well made white Bordeaux, but there never really seems to be an abundance of it on the list, there are probably around 3 at the moment that are in the “decent” camp price wise and taste profile wise. What are the plans to increase the percentage of white Bordeaux on the list if any as its pretty disappointing at the moment.

[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

Hi Tim,
I’ve already placed my order.
I was concerned by the high alcohol levels and the drinking windows on some meaning that I’ll probably be dead!
I went for
Ch Lanessan
Ch Langoa Barton St Julien
Ch Capbern Saint Estephe

[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

Possible market for an exhibition white graves…? :heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

That would be EXCELLENT!! :heart_eyes:


Hi Tim,

As you are co-creator of the second best selling society wine - The Society Claret is there ever scope for you to have a bit of fun and create a “more funky” version? Maybe playing around more with the blend? Certainly it would be nice to have a funky blend with perhaps a bit of aging potential to it! Perhaps “The Society Alternative Claret” with a bit of premium price tag as a bit of trial! Maybe even be very bold and release it as a EP exclusive!

[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

What is the oldest bottle of Bordeaux held in the Society’s Cellars? What is the oldest Bottle of Bordeaux that is held back in sufficient quantity to be offered to members in a future Fine Wine List?

[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

I did order Angludet, but gave Chasse-Spleen a miss because of the substantial price hike. I am relatively new to buying EP. Do EP prices ever change after first release?


I don’t think so. It’s not like the pre-order ep offer where the prices were only an idea of what they might be. This and other EP offers when they go public are only done so after the producers have fixed their EP prices. And I don’t believe they then will change. I have previously ordered EP from the remnants after the close of the original offer and they’re still sold at the same price.


All the hype of the 2018 vintage - I won’t ask if justified, but in your opinion is it true across the board or are there communes we should be paying more attention to this year?

(I’m really just trying to narrow my options :smiley:)

[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

Hello Tim,

Assuming a wine is unknown to you, how do you gauge its quality from the front label? What do you look for?

With thanks,


[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

There are very substantial volumes of Bordeaux back vintages available for sale on the UK secondary market, particularly at cru bourgeois and lower cru classé levels. Do you think this stock is getting sold, and more importantly drunk, sufficiently quickly for the demand for new vintages to be sustained?

On a related question, are there, as was rumoured, large allocations of 2017 still unsold that UK merchants are committed to take delivery of - and is TWS affected?

[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

Hi Tim

Talk on other blogs is that the Society have invested heavily in Chateau Beaumont for it own wines. Is that correct?

Separately, reports suggest that a larger number of chateau are retaining stock rather than offering it en premier to both maintain EP prices and benefit from higher prices (possibly) in the future. Does this apply to some of the smaller, less expensive chateau as well or do they need the cash flow?


[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

Why are so few wines offered in sizes other than standard 75cl bottles? I suspect every Chateau listed in the ‘18 EP offer will produce halves and larger formats. Is the issue supply or demand?

As a regular buyer of larger formats (eg double magnums) why do TWS never offer these EP?

Issues ordering en primeur online
[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!

There are only 3 dry whites offered EP from 2018. are there no quantities? Is there a lack of quality? Can we expect some of the wines offered not EP at a later date? Which is the best white Bordeaux vintage in your opinion from the last 5 (ever)?

[LIVE] AMA: Bordeaux EP with buyer Tim Sykes!