On either side of the Atlantic, Bordeaux professionals report that the overall market for fine wine is looking more positive than in the last few years - and this will translate into greater American take-up of the 2010 vintage en primeur.
Negociants working with the US are confident American retailers will return to Bordeaux in greater numbers than last year.
Mathieu Chadronnier, managing director of Groupe CVBG Dourthe-Kressmann one of the biggest negociants in Bordeaux, told Decanter.com ‘there is renewed interest from east to west’ in the States.
‘There is a new flow of orders in a range of vintages going to the US. As regards 2010, or course it’s too early to say what will happen, but American retailers are certainly more positive.’
At negociants Barriere Freres, Laurent Ehrmann agreed. ‘The American market is definitely coming back, more than last year. They know the vintage is exceptional and the economy is turning round.’
Enthusiasm is tempered, however, by the knowledge that America, once the driving force behind en primeur campaigns, is now almost negligible compared to the Chinese market. London merchant Farr Vintners’ sales to the US of 2009 Bordeaux were one tenth of those to the Far East.
American merchants report the usual worries about high prices, and natural suspicions that 2010 cannot be as good as the ‘great 2009’.
‘We had more hype going into 2009 en primeur, especially after 2006, 2007 and 2008,’ said Michael Sands of Washington DC-based importer Calvert Woodley.
‘I have not heard a lot of customers asking me about 2010s, and because last year was the first “vintage of the century”, I wonder if people are thinking “ok, another one?”’
In New York, Chris Adams of importer Sherry Lehmann expects a ‘robust’ campaign, but does not expect low prices. ‘I see what’s happening with the demand for wine in Asia,’ he said.
‘I believe that the interest we saw with the high prices in 2009 and back in 2005 could be replicated – even at higher prices. But we need to sound a note of caution about worldwide fatigue for very high opening prices.’
Written by Panos Kakaviatos, and Adam Lechmere