So far the 2012 en primeur campaign has been disappointing for many importers save a handful of exceptions.
Staples: ‘Surprised they have sold so well’
Though the 2012 en primeur campaign is not yet over, some consider it is. ‘This is an en primeur campaign which will be forgotten,’ one merchant told Decanter.com.
One major wine buyer based on the West Coast of the United States said, ‘There is no interest in 2012 Bordeaux this year. A few of the wines did well, like Mouton, but even the reduced prices from chateaux like Rauzan-Segla did not encourage buyers. We are not making big commitments this year and we certainly don’t want to hold any stock.’
Another importer based in Hong Kong, who also wanted to remain anonymous, said, ‘We thought last year’s campaign was challenging but it turns out that this year’s is just as difficult if not more so. Quality aside, the market simply doesn’t want or need to buy young Bordeaux at this price level as there are many ready-to-drink vintages with decent pricing.’
Regarding pricing, many were disappointed. A major Hong Kong-based importer said, ‘Only a handful of chateaux, such as Rauzan Segla and Canon, respected the customers and came down to near 2008 level which is something we encouraged before the campaign started.
‘Many others basically ignored our request and some like Angelus and Pavie were bold enough to raise prices over their 2011 releases, which to us was just too arrogant. Unless we have some surprises from the remaining releases, it is an en primeur campaign which will be forgotten.’
Simon Staples, Berry Bros & Rudd’s Asia director said, ‘It was very clear to us this year that there are really only about 40 wines we liked enough to offer, so we are deliberately not bombarding clients with every release that comes out.
‘With the handful of chateaux that we have offered, honestly, I am rather surprised they have sold so well.
‘Lynch Bages sold extremely well, just over 3000 6-bottle cases with approximately 10% in Hong Kong and China.’
BBR also sold 1000 6-bottle cases of Rauzan Segla, 600 of Mouton and the same of Lafite in one day. Margaux also sold well, Staples said, adding that 30-35% went to Hong Kong and China.
‘However, Carruades, Petit Mouton, Pavillon Rouge are all struggling, as well as Pavie and Angelus.’
Staples concluded, ‘What happens next is the problem I fear. Obviously there are a huge number of properties, many with huge volumes, left to release, most with low if not woeful Parker scores. So unless these are released as real bargains they won’t sell through to the end consumer.’
Written by Jeannie Cho Lee MW