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Bordeaux 2014: Haut Brion, Talbot lead fresh round of releases

Bordeaux has pursued its time-honoured fashion of releasing a cluster of top-flight estates in one day, with Chateaux Haut-Brion, Cos d’Estournel, Talbot, Troplong Mondot and Chasse Spleen all making their appearance.

Haut-Brion (pictured) became the second of the First Growths to release, deciding to join the Mouton Rothschild exit price of 240 euros ex-Bordeaux per bottle, a rise of 11.6% on last year but the same as 2012.

Saint Estèphe Second Growth Cos d’Estournel came out at 84.50 euros, 3.7% up on 2013 (81.50 euros), but 3.9% down on 2012 (89 euros). Chateau Talbot again posted a rise on its 2011 price, here of just over 11% to 29.40 euros per bottle while Chasse Spleen rose from last year’s 16.20 euros to 17.40 euros ex-Bordeaux.

On the Right Bank, Troplong Mondot asked for 57.60 euros ex-Bordeaux, a rise of 9.1% on 2013 (52.80 euros) and 6.7% from 2012 (54 euros).

It was too early to judge the wines’ success, but there continues to be mixed emotions around the Bordeaux 2014 campaign – despite some wines selling well last week, such as Mouton and Lynch-Bages.

Charles Lea, of Lea and Sandeman, said that so far prices have done little to stimulate a sustained demand. ‘Some wines have worked – Mouton and Lynch (up to a point), and we have sold odd boxes of quite a few wines, but very little else has really ‘gone through’, and each new release just seems to pile up unwanted.

‘At the bottom end there is some decent value for drinkers, but there is not enough margin in this to justify the time and effort involved in buying and selling, let alone delivering. We said at the beginning that customers who have ended up with burnt fingers in every vintage since 2008 were going to need some tempting back, but the chateaux are as blind to this as ever.’

John Watkins, CEO of China’s ASC Fine Wines, told Decanter.com that the company has been buying the Bordeaux 2014 vintage selectively.

‘China now has evolved to the same level as other mature markets. Producers need to leave some meat on the bone for the distributors and end consumers in exchange for paying now for delivery in 2-3 years. So far this year, the producers that are honouring this golden rule are attracting interest from our clients.

‘Those who increased prices this year over last year, despite the currency factor, are attracting little-to-no interest for their wines.’

See more Bordeaux 2014 coverage:

Bordeaux 2014

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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