Just a few wines remain in the Bordeaux 2014 campaign, as both Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau Ausone came out at 360 euros per bottle ex-Bordeaux, up 20% from the 2013 price.
Ausone and Cheval Blanc, the St Emilion Grand Cru Class A estates owned by the Vauthier family and Bernard Arnault and Freres respectively, released their 2014 en primeur wines at the same time and both were being offered by UK merchants for £3,430 per 12-bottle case on Thursday 28 May.
As the Bordeaux 2014 campaign approaches its final days, the two chateaux were joined by Quinault l’Enclos at €18.60, Chapelle d’Ausone at €96 and Valandraud at €84, all ex-Bordeaux.
But, most have been eclipsed by Vieux Chateau Certan, widely seen as one of the wines of the vintage. It released this week at €102 ex-Bordeaux, up 13.3% on the last two vintages, and has sold well even with the price rise.
Cheval Blanc had a tougher debut, according to some merchants. ‘Cheval Blanc has been hit by discounting, as it is every year, which makes it difficult to commit to,’ Max Lalondrelle, fine wine buying director at Berry Bros & Rudd, told Decanter.com. ‘It needs to be priced at the same level as the Left Bank Firsts.’
Of those, Margaux, Haut-Brion and Mouton Rothschild all released at €240 ex-Bordeaux, with Lafite Rothschild releasing a first tranche of wines at €288.
Pichon Comtesse was another wine enjoying some success, up 12.5% on 2013 at €64.8 ex-Bordeaux, and considered well priced compared to ‘comparable’ chateaux such as Pichon Baron and Pontet Canet.
Several merchants remained sceptical about the campaign as a whole. Nicola Arcedeckne-Butler MW, of Private Cellar, said, ‘Our main feeling on prices was that, almost across the board, any wines whose price increased by more than 15% was on a slippery slope, and once you hit the 20% increases sales were pretty well non-existent.
‘The Bordelais still seem amazingly out of touch with the market globally. The only reason there has been an even half decent primeur campaign is thanks to the weakness of the euro which has allowed sterling / dollar purchasers to absorb the majority of the increases.’
Other releases in recent days include Leoville Las Cases at €96 ex-Bordeaux, up 21.5% of 2013 and Leoville Poyferre at €44.40 ex-Bordeaux, up 15.9% on 2013.
(Additional reporting by Chris Mercer)
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux