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Bordeaux 2014: Mouton Rothschild starts first growth releases to warm praise

Chateau Mouton Rothschild has helped to breathe life into a slow burning Bordeaux 2014 en primeur campaign by releasing at a price that several merchants believe offers a good deal to consumers.

(Image: Olivier Bernard, head of the Union des Grands Crus, said during en primeur week that exchange rates should help UK and US buyers)

Mouton Rothschild
this week went to the market ahead of its First Growth rivals, releasing its grand vin at 240 euros ex-Bordeaux, around 11% higher than its 2013 en primeur wine.

Although most merchants and some chateaux have called for price cuts for Bordeaux 2014, Mouton’s offering was welcomed by several UK merchants as a good deal compared to back vintages already on the market – particularly because of the weak euro currency.

‘Mouton works for the UK market as it is the cheapest on the market at £2340.00 for 12 bottles and the wine is a definite improvement on the 2013, which is £2,400.00 for 12,’ said Max Lalondrelle, fine wine buying director at Berry Bros & Rudd. ‘They have released virtually the same amount as last year so not much to go round.’

Giles Cooper, at Bordeaux Index, added, ‘Overall you would have to say Mouton have got it right’. He said the 2014 would cost consumers £500 less than the cheapest physical vintage, the 2007.

Joss Fowler, at Fine & Rare, said of the Mouton Rothschild 2014, ‘It’s what 2014 en primeur needed to get it going, and it’s selling.’

Merchants had been hoping this week would see the starting gun fired on the Bordeaux 2014 en primeur campaign, which has so far failed to ignite. There is nervousness in the market following three years of weak consumer demand, despite general praise for the quality of the 2014 vintage.

There have been other positive signs in the past few days, including the release of Chateau Beychevelle at around 43 euros ex-Bordeaux, up by 12.5% on 2013.

‘Beychevelle is priced quite attractively compared to the price of other vintages in the market,’ said Nick Martin, of Wine Owners, the fine wine trading platform. ‘There is a saving of roughly £84 per case vs 2008, which appears to be the best single vintage comparison.’

But, he added that difficult choices must be made. ‘On the other hand, would I be happier to fork out an additional £109 a case for the [Beychevelle] 2010? I think so.’

Martin said: ‘The ultimate focus must be on the consumer. Is there sufficient discount versus other vintages in the market to make it worthwhile to buy unfinished wine so early?’

Lafite-Rothschild’s release of Duhart Milon at 42 euros per bottle ex-Bordeaux, around 12.5% cheaper than the 2013, evoked mixed emotions.

‘The wine did not work for us in the UK as it is very much aimed at the Asian market at this price,’ said Berry’s Lalondrelle. ‘However, the 12.5% reduction on the Duhart and 10% on Evangile are very much appreciated and the right thing to do in this very slow campaign.’

Will Hargrove, at Corney & Barrow, said, ‘What works against it slightly is that Duhart, as part of the Lafite stable, had a meteoric rise in price and it would appear that it hasn’t really settled at a “Post-Boom” price level since.’

Of other releases, Petit Mouton rose by 18% on 2013 to 78 euros ex-Bordeaux, while Mouton’s white Aile d’Argent was flat on 2013 at 48 euros. Chateau Dassault in St Emilion was up 8.5% to 19.5 euros.

Read Decanter’s full review of the Bordeaux 2014 vintage and its wines here, including scores, tasting notes and drinking windows for individual wines.

Bordeaux 2014

Written by Chris Mercer

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