Château Latour is ‘zooming’ off the shelves of one London merchant after releasing at €90 – one third down on 2003.

Latour’s intial offer has been followed by a second tranche at €120. This makes it the most expensive of 2004 Médoc 1st growths

And according to Steve Browett of Farr Vintners the wine has been ‘zooming out of the door.’

Lafite came out at €80, the same price as Mouton, Haut-Brion and Margaux.

Château Margaux is also much in demand. Like the other 1st growths it opened at €80 but released a second tranche at €95.

On the Right Bank Châteaux Ausone and Cheval Blanc shared the same release price of €120, down 35% and 25% respectively on 2003, while Château Le Pin, absent in 2003 – none was made due to the heatwave – came out at €200, the same as 2002.

Château d’Yquem, a recent convert to the primeur market, was released at €110, 18.5% down on 2003.

Trade in Bordeaux’s elite wines has been relatively brisk but the same cannot be said for the 2004 futures as a whole.

According to a mid-campaign report issued on 1 June by broker Tastet & Lawton, of the 304 crus up for sale, only 40 had sold all the cases released to the market in each batch or tranche.

The same report estimates the average reduction in price for those 304 crus is 10.12% less than 2003. A bigger drop had been anticipated.

‘It’s been a difficult and frustrating campaign. The quality is there but prices have been too high and varied to offer customers a really attractive deal,’ said Paul Milroy, Bordeaux buyer for London merchants Berry Bros & Rudd.

Written by James Lawther in Bordeaux