Chateau Valandraud in St Emilion is one of the first Bordeaux properties to release its 2004 vintage – at half the price of the 2003.

Proprietor Jean-Luc Thunevin has set a price of €85, down from €165.00 for the 2003 last year.

The news has been greeted very positively by merchants. Stephen Browett of London’s Farr Vintners said it sent out a ‘clear message’ to the rest of Bordeaux that this was a vintage that had to be reasonably priced.

‘It’s very encouraging as it sends a clear message to other chateaux that we have returned to a traditional vintage, with plenty of quantity. The only way that it can be sold is by pricing it to appeal to traditional customers, and not the people who bought exceptional vintages like 2000 and 2003.’

As commentators get their first taste of the 2004 ahead of next week’s En Primeur tastings in Bordeaux, the feeling is that the vintage is akin to 1996 – good but not outstanding.

Browett said, ‘If we can sell them at between 30% and 40% less than last year, then we will be able to recommend them and have a successful campaign.’

Written by Adam Lechmere