What month Leah? I appreciate that the last couple of years have been somewhat disjointed, but I’m sure there were some excellent mixed cases. And a SUPERB white Beaujolais.
Reasons I buy EP (which will match others above),
Securing wines I really want and which I know I won’t have a hope in hell of getting at a later date due to supply.
Having the opportunity to not have to pay upfront and in full, spreading the cost between the actual wine and duty/ VAT.
There is less an element of FOMO then I used to have and more “ investing in my drinking future”,
However with all that said, there just hasn’t been the opportunities to share bottles that I thought I would have had , thank covid for that and I find that I now have a LOT of wine thanks to the many EP campaigns .
BUT, I find I buy more EP now than regular bottles for drinking which if I’m honest was always the intention to building a cellar which will deliver back year on year and always ensure I have a steady selection of good wine to drink and share .
ISTR, there were some Beaujolais blanc released last October and as @danchaq said some mixed cases. I really cannot remember when the EP campaigns were but have a feeling they were in the Autumn too …. Maybe someone else can remember ?
Why do I buy EP? Because wine is a hobby of mine and I enjoy it.
Learning about the regions, reading the vintage reports, going through the offers, the heady rush of adrenalin when the order goes in, the anticipation and planning, the much delayed gratification of drinking it, and then nurturing the remaining bottles through their lives.
Does it make financial sense? Probably not, but what hobbies do?
Mostly Fomo, but also getting a decent price on Domaine de la Grange des Peres and Clape Cornas…
Why buy EP?
I used to buy EP for value achieved by buying early but no more - that bird has flown the nest. Equally, there are few wines that cannot be found post the vintage - interestingly those that do disappear are now as/more likely to be from non traditional EP regions.
Now, it is about trying to find value by trying to find those hidden gems before they gain popularity. That might include exploring offers outside the traditional EP zones or it could be buying wines that had lost their popularity but are turning themselves around. It might include a negociant wine rather than a producer wine or a lesser wine from a top producer in a poor vintage when they downgrade the fruit from their prime sites.
The fun part, apart from having the opportunity to taste a wine as it develops having bought 6 or 12 bottles, is the research that uncovers those hidden gems including the invaluable feedback from the Society buyers and the members of this community.
I bought it in the 80s and 90s when it was a steal in many cases…
Less so now, for all the reasons above.
FOMO is not really an issue for me. I have a steely cynical heart and know that something just as good will be along if I wait.
Like some others, I also have built the cellar and can’t justify a long wait that I might not be here to see. Leoville Barton '19 was the exception that proved that rule.
I think I’ve gone through different phases…
Initially I didn’t know much and it seemed ‘the thing to do’, and I was keen to have some wines down the line that were well aged and good to drink.
Then there was a FOMO period and I got a bit caught up in the hype.
Now, with a decent reserve collection it’s more a matter of knowing I’ve got wines that I like, and that may be hard to get later. Sure, you can get bigger producers 5-10 years after vintage, but but the smaller ones are harder. So I’m trying to be selective and just add great vintages of wines I know I’ll like sometime over the next 20-30 years.
A couple of other things that come to mind. I’m not sure anyone has mentioned provenance. For sure you can buy wine in the market later, but not all sources are equal.
And that leads onto another thing which is that as @WineIsOneOfMy5aDay mentioned this is a hobby. There’s pleasure that comes from knowing you have your collection of wines that you have carefully chosen maturing quietly for when you want them…
Errrrrr……. Well I’ve cut back a lot but I’m not a total abstainer. However I have stopped minding if I’m unsuccessful.
I mean of course not, just because you’ve retired does not mean you’ve lost your civility
I’m somewhere in the middle of the consensus here. I used to buy named BDX chateaux 6’s or 12’s EP, but the last time I did that was '08 and still got most of them left and even that vintage I only bought a mixed case of Cru Classés. Since then I’ve occasionally dipped into TWS mixed EP cases only (BDX, Rhone, Burgundy) in promising vintages but tending to the value end (cru Bourgeois / village level)
Angludet is in that bracket even though it “should” be a CC…
Like others for me it’s not a big deal any more, it’s a hobby and like Leah I like the payment split and up front and forget about it element. And I like TWS experts to make the selection and decision for me, for any given vintage the most promising selection is made and there won’t be another opportunity to purchase a given vintage in such a way.
Not remotely interested in BDX 2021…
I think everyone has covered my reasons here already.
- Fun - I enjoy getting carried along in the hype, trawling the reviews, having the discussions (mostly here) about what I am going to buy. Occasionally finding myself a taste maker and causing the hype.
- Pipeline of wines - I am going to have some GREAT Barolo for my retirement
- Access - There are wines I cannot afford to buy at anything other than release price (I am looking at unicorny stuff here). In some cases I’ve been drinking them before prices went nuts (remember when Burlotto could just be bought?) and in others I want to see what the fuss is about
- FOMO - Tied in with the fun and the access I guess
I am easing off a bit (and very much trying to buy in 3s). Why I am easing off a bit? I generally enjoy breadth as much as I do depth and want as wide an array as possible of wines. I also enjoy buying wine to drink, I’d spent a lot of the last few years spending way too much on future Patrick and nowhere near enough on now Patrick. Now Patrick is buying a lot less EP (and fewer cases are going into reserves generally). I think I have a healthier balance of now vs Future me, which will get even better in a couple of years time when a few of my earlier EP purchases hit the start of drinking times!
I have bought EP (nearly all Burgundy) fairly regularly since about 2003. What I have noticed is that it is becoming an allocation exercise by merchants who use it as a tool to test customer loyalty. The phrase - “we will allocate wines to those who bought in previous years or buy across the board from our portfolio” or words to that effect seem to have appeared more and more in recent years.
I understand that some wines are always over subscribed and there is no easy answer to that problem and a criteria has to used that as far as possible is fair. But I don’t want to become locked into one merchant in order to have a hope that I may get what I want.
I’ve never quite understood why pricing is not used in a staighforward fashion to address demand, as it would with most other products. Wine, particularly Bordeaux, on the other hand seems to be bought and sold according to prestige, loyalties and historical family aliances, with nods and winks - not just just between consumers and merchants, but right up the supply chain.
Maybe this should be refreshing in a hard-nosed world largely driven by money and profit in the crudest of ways. But truthfully I find it rather distasteful.
I’ve never bought EP, and doubt I ever will, and mainly for using the same logic mentioned above, but from a different starting point.
My taste in wine has changed in the timespan of a decade or so, and I expect it to change further, so I don’t want to commit early to large quantities of wine. I’d prefer to buy closer to the drinking date, and I’d also prefer to rely on my own palate in buying decision than the palate of experts, particularly when it’s based on bottles taken from barrels early. I’m not saying my palate is better than expert ones, but it has the big advantage of being mine.
And I’m prepared to take the risk of price increases, and possible lack of availability. I’ve never found it difficult to find wine I enjoy drinking at a price I can afford.
Checked with the team, we have done two Beaujolais EP’s in the last three years. 2018 and 2020 vintage - June 2019 and July 2021 respectively
It’s a very long time since I did EP and quite probably never have. I can see the appeal for others, with the benefits they outline, but they aren’t all that important to me. The strongest one would be getting hold of wines that may otherwise sell out but probably I can’t afford those anyway- Burgundy especially, which I have all but given up on. Certainly in the past decade, I don’t think you lose from buying as and when you need it and even on the somewhat higher strata, you can often get pretty fair prices for mature stuff, including from TWS. Last year I bought a Batailley 2010 for £55. It’s EP price in 2011 was £25. By the time you consider loss of capital, storage plus adding on duty and VAT in due course, I just prefer the idea of splashing the cash when I actually need something.
Thanks Kelly, I thought they had happened but the last 2 /3 years have been all over the place.
I’m assuming the 2021 vintage might not be an E.P. considering weather that year. But folk need to earn money, so is there something we can look forward to ?
One consideration I have for buying EP is the fear that hotter climates will make the grape varieties from the region’s I enjoy in EU unviable or too high abv 10-20 years from now. At least it is one of the excuses I use.
I think that almost all of my reasons have been covered above - Desire to build a long term cellar, FOMO, splitting the cost, etc. Etc.
But quite frankly, a lot of my EP purchases are premised on convenience. I know that if I check my emails at one time a year per appellation (bordeaux, burgundy, Rhone, Barolo, Brunello, etc.), I can usually secure what I want from that vintage with relatively little effort (I’m generally not buying the super expensive/super exclusive wines). By doing so, I also know that my ‘pipeline’ of future drinking remains consistent. The prices I pay by doing so are almost always reasonable (they may not be the cheapest, but they are generally speaking not prices that I’m likely to balk at in 5 years’ time).
Far easier than playing the secondaries game, and for me worth paying whatever premium I am paying for the peace of mind that the wines I want are happily sleeping in my cellar!
as stated wine is a hobby and i love entertaining, therefore I buy EP is to get the bottle sizes I want. halfs, Mags, DM etc but not standand bottles because i can get them later if need be. I can’t think of the last time I just bought 75cl of BDX in EP. it seems to be the easiest time to get large bottles.