Bordeaux 2005: bargains and vast mark-ups?

  • Thursday 6 April 2006

Prices for top Bordeaux 2005 look set to go through the roof, though most proprietors and chateaux directors refuse to be drawn on the subject of price.

While it is impossible to get a definitive answer, what is certain is that the high quality of the vintage across Bordeaux is going to throw up some bargains. If the price tags of the top growths are stratospheric, lower down the scale there are going to be excellent wines reasonably priced.

It is likely, however, that the top dozen properties are going to be beyond the reach of ordinary mortals. It might even be that decanter.com’s original estimate of 300% mark-ups on last year is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

‘I agree with that estimate,’ said Jean-Guillaume Prats of Cos d’Estournel. ‘I can see the first growths going to the consumer for €350-500 a bottle. We may see a situation where two bottles of first growths are selling for the equivalent of 900 litres of Bordeaux bulk wine.’

At this time of year, such a bold statement is rare from someone in Prats' position. Many professionals here decry such straight talk as irresponsible.

But what is also certain is that the top dozen properties will be able to ask almost any price for their wines in certain markets.

One prominent Bordeaux negociant told decanter.com that since early in the year he had been approached by brokers – primarily from Asia – offering ‘literally any price he cared to mention’ for top properties.

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