The 2012 campaign sprang into life this morning - with Chateau Mouton Rothschild releasing at €240 a bottle, becoming 'pretty much the cheapest first growth in the world' as one wine merchant put it.
Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2012
Mouton made a decisive move at €240 ex-Bordeaux, down 33% on its 2011 price (although still 100% up from 2008). Petit Mouton dropped 8% to €66.
Another chateau delivered on its promise of a significant price drop, with Rauzan Segla coming out at €36.50 ex-negociant, a very healthy 37% down from last year. St Estephe’s Chateau Ormes de Pez saw a 9.7% drop to €16.80.
‘A very good trend on Mouton and its second wine Petit Mouton, so far Bordeaux merchants seem happy,’ said one leading courtier to Decanter.com this morning.
Laurent Ehrmann of negociant Barriere Freres said Rauzan-Segla was ‘a lightning bolt – I wholeheartedly espouse Segla’s new commercial strategy.’
Fine wine buying director Max Lalondrelle at Berry Bros was delighted with the price of Rauzan Segla. ‘It’s an amazing price,’ he told Decanter.com. ‘John Kolasa [Rauzan’s director] has clearly targeted consumers but he’s made sure merchants can get good margins as well. It’s tactically and politically amazing.’
Lalondrelle described the Mouton price as ‘correct but not the best in the world. The great thing is that they came out first – if Lafite had come out it would have been much higher, and that would have been very difficult for the rest of the first growths.’
He had bought both Rauzan-Segla and Ormes de Pez (which he called ‘the cheapest from that property by quite some margin’) for stock, he said.
At another London merchant, Farr Vintners, chairman Stephen Browett was pleased. ‘It’s a sensible reduction which means that we can sell the wine at 10% less than we currently sell the physically available vintages 2007, 2004 and 2002.
‘Our price is £2800 per dozen, which makes it pretty much the cheapest first growth in the world today. Which, as it’s en primeur, is just what it should be.’
There are hardly any first growths available for less than £2,800 a case: Farr’s has Haut Brion 1997 at £2,700, and a handful of cases of other firsts in similarly mediocre vintages at the £2,600 mark, ‘but you can’t find any volume in good condition from a reasonable vintage at less than £2800.’
As for Petit Mouton, Lalondrelle suggested that was a different case. ‘It’s more expensive than last year. It’s good but too expensive – it will be a Chinese sell, if the Chinese want it.’
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux and Adam Lechmere in London