New York merchants are reporting a shaky start to Bordeaux 2001 sales – but predict customers will soon react to the lower prices.

‘We are happy with the pricing for 2001,’ said Sherry-Lehmann wine consultant Chris Adams. ‘Our clients have been responding well, it was slow at first but sales are really picking up now.’

Prices at Sherry-Lehmann are down 30-35% on average. Zachys have reported some dramatic price reductions – La Mission Haut Brion 2001 has a release price 72% lower than the 2000 vintage, at $78.99 a bottle. ‘The 2001 La Mission Haut Brion is great value for the wine drinker but the 2000 is a classic vintage,’ said Zachy’s buyer Brian Michael Maurice.

At Morrell & Co the response has been poor compared to last year and it is uncertain whether lower prices will be enough to persuade buyers to invest. ‘People spent money on the 2000 vintage so we are expecting demand for 2001 to be much lower. We saw a lot of dropping in price but they still won’t sell at the 2000 rate,’ said Morrell wine manager Jim Turney.

The merchants have said that although this is a good vintage for immediate to mid-term drinking, customers have less money to spend after investing heavily in the 2000 vintage. ‘People seem to be happy with the vintage itself,’ said Maurice, ‘it’s just that people spent a lot of money on the 2000 vintage.’

As expected, sales of Sauternes and Barsac are buoyant. ‘Sauternes and Barsac are the real hits of the vintage. In the past we haven’t even seen fit to make an offering but this is a very strong vintage and it has high ratings across the board, all the wines are selling really well,’ said Adams.

As for 2000 vintage Port, which is universally praised as one of the top Port vintages, Sherry-Lehmann reports ‘a fairly high level of interest’ in the first week. ‘This is a vintage you don’t want to miss,’ said Adams.

Written by Josie McLaughlin