Bordeaux Chauvinist breaks his budget

Last year, Bordeaux wine producer Loïc Pasquet released the world’s most expensive wine, with the 2015 vintage of Liber Pater priced at €30,000-a-bottle. This year, the Bordeaux Chauvinist falls under the spell of Loïc Pasquet‘s new release, the 2018 Denarius, with name aptly meaning money in Latin. This one will sell for around €500 a bottle.

This column was originally published on the Bordeaux Chauvinist’s websiteCquoi ce vin, or What is this wineHe advises on good value for money wines of all appellations, regions and countries (but he remains a Bordeaux Chauvinist).

While this is not customary, I’m going to tell you about a wine that is off budget for my purse.

I was recently lucky enough to be invited to taste Denarius 2018 by Loïc Pasquet, winemaker and owner of Liber Pater in Landiras. A rare wine, only 1200 bottles aged in amphorae will leave the cellar.

Loïc Pasquet releases the 2018 Denarius

Planted in “free foot” (that is to say not grafted) on 1.5 ha with unusual grape varieties for Bordeaux such as Castets, Saint-Macaire, Mancin, Prunelard, Marselan, Pardotte, Carmenère, Cabernet Goudable, Gros Cabernet, Tarnais … among others

Denarius is a Vin de France!

Its grape varieties are not part of the AOC des Graves specifications, defined by the INAO, it cannot bear the name of the said appellation AOC Graves or AOC Bordeaux.

Nevertheless, seven additional grape varieties for the AOC Bordeaux have recently been authorised, including the Castets grape variety (Read more on this below).

The color of the 2018 Denarius is a deep, vibrant garnet. On the first nose, an intense note of violet sets in immediately, followed by small red fruits. The second nose lets express liquorice and chocolate; over the course of our discussion, the wine evolves further to give way to rather confusing notes of raspberry and mint.

The palate is velvety, fresh, the texture of the tannins is extremely delicate, the wine is exceptionally digestible, I am under its spell.

This wine will be found on French tables, which is not the case with its big brother Liber Pater.

The starting cellar price will be around €500, which is certainly a sum, but we ask ourselves the same question when it comes to Petrus, Romanée-Conti, Véga-Sicilia Unico and other Screaming Eagle …

Editor’s note: Bordeaux red wines are generally made from a blend of permitted grapes Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Bordeaux wineries can now use four new red grapes to combat temperature increases in Bordeaux. In June 2019, the Union of Bordeaux AOC and Bordeaux Supérieur winemakers approved a list of new grape varieties ‘of interest for adapting’ to climate change and rising temperatures, which may adversely affect early-ripening varieties such as Merlot. The four new Bordeaux red varieties are Arinarnoa, Castets, Marselan, Touriga Nacional and the three white varieties are Alvarinho, Lilorila, Petit Manseng.

These varietals take longer to develop and are therefore less sensitive to spring frost. They have the capacity to produce fresh and balanced wines with lower alcohol levels, that are in line with the identity of Bordeaux wines. For the whites, these more aromatic varietals help compensate for the aromas lost during heatwaves, according to the Union of Bordeaux AOC.

“For the past 10 years, these varietals have been grown and monitored on an experimental plot in Bordeaux and the results to date seem promising. We are now testing them on a larger scale and throughout the different stages of the vinification process.” – Florian Reyne, General Manager from the Bordeaux & Bordeaux Supérieur AOC. Read more in Bordeaux Magazine.

The 2015 Liber Pater is Bordeaux’s and the world’s most expensive wine, according to Decanter. Read more here.


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