The Bordeaux first growths are set to release their 2002 wines at around the €60 (US$64) mark but there is still no real indication as to when the majority of top Bordeaux will go on the market.

Decanter consultant editor Steven Spurrier says that prices were already likely to come down by 15-20%. The global slowdown and the sluggishness of recent Bordeaux vintages apart from the 2000, coupled the war in Iraq and the health scares in Asia, have made the situation worse.

While ‘virtually no decisions’ have been made as to when and at what price the top chateaux will release the wines, Spurrier says in his report from the en primeur tastings, ‘It appears that the first growths – Haut-Brion, Margaux, Latour, Lafite-Rothschild and Mouton-Rothschild – have agreed to come out at €60-65 as opposed to €85 (US$90) last year and €100 (US$106) in 2000, in order to lead the market.’

Jean-Guillaume Prats at Chateau Cos d’Estournel will not release the first wine of the chateau en primeur – ‘at least until September’, Spurrier says – but will put his second wine, Pagodes de Cos, on the market to generate cashflow.

‘On the other hand,’ Spurrier adds, ‘Thierry Gardinier of Chateau Phelan-Segur, who stepped out of the en primeur market with his 1996, will step back in, for he feels his quality will find an audience.’

He ends his report with a quote from Jean-Guillaume Prats who, remembering what his father said about the 1961 vintage, remarked, ‘The better chateaux have made some fantastic wines, yet there is nobody around to buy them.’

Written by Adam Lechmere7 April 2003