Bordeaux 2010: new 'benchmark' for high prices
- Sunday 10 April 2011
Steven Spurrier, Decanter’s consultant editor, suggested that with this vintage and the equally-memorable 2009, a new benchmark will have been set for the cost of the wines at the top level.
‘The chateaux have seen their prices accepted: the ceiling has broken and a new one has been established.’
Spurrier’s view is that opening prices of around $400 for first growths, €120-€150 for ‘Super Seconds’ like Cos d’Estournel and Montrose and €50 for highly-regarded lesser growths like Branaire Ducru and Langoa-Barton are now the norm.
‘We will see solidification. I don’t think the chateaux want speculation this year. I think they will release at 5-10% more than last year, and I think they’ll do it quickly – well before Vinexpo in June.’
In Bordeaux there’s little doubt that the wines will be as expensive as last year.
‘There is a consensus in the wine trade that it is very unlikely that prices will come down on last year, and likely that they will stay the same,’ Jean-Guillaume Prats at Cos d’Estournel told Decanter.com.
He also said that if there’s an increase, it will ‘probably be accepted’, pointing out that merchants were riding high on the boost the excellent 2009 had given lesser vintages that were proving sluggish like 2008 and 2007, and that they had seen the prices of many other vintages go up.
The UK wine trade agrees, and does not seem to be phased by the prospect of selling 2010 – indeed, the quality of the vintage meant that smaller properties would be the most interesting.
Tim Parkins of Stokes Fine Wines, for example, said 2010 is ‘a vintage we can do business with’, namechecking ‘entry level’ wines like the Cru Bourgeois Chateau Sénéjac as examples of properties that would sell well.
Anthony Tindal of Dublin’s Tindal Wine Merchants was ‘enthused’ by the quality of the vintage and said he would be buying ‘more wines than last year’, looking at the St Emilion ‘satellite’ appellations Lussac, Montagne, Parsac, Puisseguin and St Georges.
Matthew Hemming of Averys of Bristol said he was ‘circumspect’: price was an issue, but his top private buyers had already indicated to him that they would buy.
Stephen Williams of the Antique Wine Company thought Bordeaux 'would see no reason to drop prices' though 'they would not dare raise them while the economic recovery remains fragile.'
When all the scores are in, and if the vintage turns out to be as well-received – at all levels – as Bordeaux hopes, then being priced out of the top wines may not cause too much pain.
As Spurrier said, ‘There are lots of wines that I have always bought that I now can’t afford or don’t want to afford. I won’t be buying Leoville Barton or Grand Puy Lacoste this year.
‘But that’s no problem as there are so many good wines coming up to take their place.’