Bordeaux 2010: Price flood 'kiss of death' for smaller properties

  • Wednesday 8 June 2011

Pontet Canet's release today has dominated the en primeur campaign – and spoiled the prospects of other properties, wine merchants say.

pontet canet

Pontet Canet: 'dominating'

Berry Brothers went so far as to say the lesser properties had been given the ‘kiss of death’ by coming out at the same time as the major-league fifth growth.

Pontet Canet – one of the newly-dubbed ‘Flying Fifths’ came out today with a price tag of €100 ex-chateau – nearly 40% up on last year and almost exactly the same price that its 2009 is now selling at.

That is alongside Giscours at €43.50 (20% more than last year), Gruaud Larose (€45, +14%), and Calon Segur ($57.60 +12%).

At the same time other properties further down the pecking order – the respected Graves Grand Cru Classe Malartic Lagraviere (€44.50, -2.6%), for example, or Saint Emilion’s Berliquet (€23, +19.7%) – have also released their prices.

And although they are cheaper than last year, they will be forgotten in the stampede of releases after one of the slowest en primeur campaigns anyone can remember.

‘It is the kiss of death for many properties,’ Max Lalondrelle, fine wine director at Berry Bros told Decanter.com.

The problem is time and manpower. With 2,500 cases of Pontet Canet to sell they cannot afford to divert resources to cheaper wines.

‘We have to take a commercial decision. We have a far bigger allocation of Pontet Canet than Berliquet.

‘It is a great shame as we could have sold 1000 cases of Berliquet with no problem. As it is we will probably do 100 cases.’

Lalondrelle said he had the same problem with Pauillac’s Haut Bages Liberal, another BBR favourite, which came out at the same time as Gruaud Larose.

Outside London, wine merchants Nickolls and Perks in Stourbridge were more positive, though sales and marketing director David Gardener agreed it was the wine that sold at ‘less than £350 a case’ would be the most difficult sell, as customers ‘already had their cellars full of 2009s’.

At London merchant Fine & Rare, Simon Davies agreed Pontet Canet was ‘spoiling the prospects’ of even the most prestigious properties.

‘Giscours has sold well but we do feel it could have had a better run,’ he said.

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