With Vinexpo Hong Kong over, the number of chateaux bringing out wine prices has reached a flood this week – although the big names are expected to hold back until the middle of June.
Merchants seem to be sanguine about the wines’ chances, even at the price increases that have become inevitable, though there are rumblings of dissent.
Charles Lea of London retailers Lea & Sandeman considers, on balance, that most of 09 offers good value for money. But he could not give a ringing endorsement of the prices.
‘Take a wine like Haut Batailley, which I consider excellent. But you always have to ask yourself with en primeur, “is it good value when you can buy three or four vintages cheaper”?’
He added, ‘Giscours has just come out at £429 a case. I think that’s too high.’
Gary Boom of Bordeaux Index said, ‘Most of the wines have sold through fairly well, with some such as Potensac offering reasonable value in the context of the vintage and what is to come. Cantemerle was a bigger test of the market, but it’s just about held on.’
Not everyone agrees however. Giles Cadman, managing director of Venulum, a fine wine investment house in the British Virgin Islands, said they had re-thought their campaign in light of the price increases.
‘We had planned to spend around £5m on this campaign, and will now spend less than £500,000. When chateaux take the upside in advance, it will make the three-to-five year return on investment very low, and an Asian correction would mean a significant loss.
‘We anticipate certain wines being written down once the fever pitch abates.’
Other merchants are also sounding a note of caution. Roberson Fine Wine is counselling its customers against the 2009 Sociando Mallet.
‘[Robert] Parker has hailed Sociando Mallet as producing arguably their best ever wine, but sadly this has been reflected in the release price of £315. Although the 2009 has been well received by critics, we feel that the 2008 offers better value for fans of classically styled Bordeaux’.
Those who have released this week (all prices are ex-Bordeaux negociant):
Chateau Giscours at €36.50, a rise of 3% on 2005
Chateau Sociando Mallet at €26.40, a rise of 5% on 2005
Chateau Haut Batailley at €23.5, up 34% on 2008 and up 9% on 2005
Chateau Croizet Bages at €16.70 (up 36% on 2008)
Chateau Larcis-Ducasse at €36, a rise of 20% on 2008 but a drop of 50% on 2005
Chateau Cantemerle at €19.90, up 43% on 2008 and up 21% on 2005
Chasse Spleen €16.8, a rise of 24% on 2008 and 9% on 2005
Chateau Peby Faugeres at €59, up 42.5% on 2008 but no change from 2005
Chateau Faugeres at €21, up 27% on 2008 and up 5% on 2005 (€20)
Chateau Couspaude at €33, up 53% on 2008 but down 14% on 2005
Chateau Potensac €15, up 28% on 2008 and up 12% on 2005
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux