The first few Bordeaux chateaux have released their 2007 prices at nearly the same level as 2006.

Chateau d’Arche is charging merchants €16.85 (£13.52/$26.85) – the same as last year, while Chateau Filhot is priced at €14.80 (£11.84/$23.60), just 3.5% less. Both are classified Sauternes properties. St Emilion Grand Cru La Fleur D’Arthus has come out €11.50 (£9.20/$18.33), just 5% less.

The majority of chateaux will wait until after wine critic Robert Parker publishes his scores – probably 30 April. Some may even wait until after the Vinexpo Asia-Pacific trade fair in May.

But this may be a risky strategy. For despite some positive commentary, the initial high prices and potential for negative reviews from Parker are causing merchants to maintain a bearish stance.

‘We have been one of the biggest buyers of en primeurs for the last 23 years in Bordeaux, but unless the prices are realistic we are just going to opt out of the vintage,’ Alan Rayne, chairman of Magnums, told decanter.com.

Edward Burns of Armit Fine Wines in London, said, ‘We haven’t offered anything that has come out so far. Even with Sauternes having a good year quality-wise, we can’t see customers being interested at these prices. In previous years, we have offered wines with a proven history. This year we are only going to buy wines that have had specific enquiries from our customers.’

Berry Bros & Rudd sales director Simon Staples said, ‘The chateaux are treading a very thin line waiting for those scores, which are being published at the same time as his final 2005 scores. If they release now, at a slight discount, at least they will be able to sell. If they wait until they get a bad score, as is likely for many of them, it may become much more difficult.’

Berry Bros has drawn up a list of 45 wines of particular interest this year, compared to 82 last year, and 180 in 2005.

Written by Jane Anson