American wine critic Robert Parker has predicted that Bordeaux en primeur sales in US will fail due to empty wallets and a weak dollar.
Responding to bulletin board posters on erobertparker.com expressing dismay at the higher-than-expected release prices of certain chateaux, Parker said he believed ‘the futures market in the USA will be largely a failure’.
There were ‘too many negatives’ working against wine buyers in the US, the influential critic said, listing the ‘gigantic [financial] position’ taken on the 2000 vintage, large-scale purchasing of the acclaimed 2005 wines, and a weak dollar as major factors.
‘The dollar is so weak that it just doesn’t make much sense to pay up front two years in advance,’ he said. ‘What if 2007 is fabulous?’
So far, however, only a handful of chateaux have released their wines to the Bordeaux market, and those that have declared their price show proprietors may not be heeding merchants’ calls – previously reported on decanter.com – to keep prices low.
Simon Staples, director of UK wine merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd said he had ‘major concerns’ over the release prices of the 2006 vintage. Corney & Barrow’s Adam Brett-Smith said there would only be a market for the wines if prices were based on those of the 2004 vintage.
According to Stephen Browett at UK’s Farr Vintners, the release price of Second Growth chateau Gruaud-Larose, is closer to its ‘05 price than ’04.
He said Gruaud-Larose had released at €29.50 per bottle (£20), compared to €34 (£23) for the ’05 and €22.25 (£15) for the ’04.
‘This does not give the consumer fantastic value for money,’ Browett told decanter.com. ‘If the prices get closer to ’05 figures, we won’t sell the wines.’
Parker went on to say he believed ‘the finest 06s are superior and more complete wines than the 2004s, but the Bordelais also realize that and will price the 06s accordingly’.
Written by Oliver Styles and Panos Kakaviatos