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Bordeaux 2014: Rush of releases but buyers still in short supply

Most of the major names in Bordeaux 2014 have now released their wine in a campaign that continues to be mixed and has been called 'stop-start' by some merchants.

(Image: Domaine de Chevalier, pictured here, was one of the wines released en primeur this week)

The last two days have seen a few wines described as well-priced by merchants and negociants, such as Château Pape Clement, which was released yesterday (20 May) at €49.80 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, equal to the 2013 and down 0.4% on 2012 (€50). Liv-ex commented that the 2014 price is 30% lower than the current market price of the 2006, and 15% lower than the 2008.

Equally well-received has been Malescot St Exupery at €29.50 ex-Bordeaux, a rise of 8.7% on 2013 (€27.6O) but down 1.7% on 2012 (€30) and again well priced compared to back vintages.

Léoville Barton at €44 ex-Bordeaux, up 3.5% on both the 2013 and 2012 (€42.50) saw some interest, although many pointed out that several back vintages are available at equal prices. Grand Puy Ducasse at €22.20 ex-Bordeaux is up 5.7% on last year (€21) but down 7.5% on 2012, and a good discount on most available back vintages. Clinet at €44 ex-Bordeaux is up 12.8% on 2013 (€39) and equal to the 2012, but is according to Livex figures the second cheapest vintage available on the market.

Other releases include Léoville Poyferré at €44.50 ex-Bordeaux, up 15.9% on last year (€38.40), Branaire Ducru at €29.40 ex-Bordeaux, up 18.1% on 2013 (€24.90), Domaine de Chevalier red at €33.60 ex-Bordeaux, a rise of 22.2% on 2013 (€27.50) and Brane Cantenac at €31.50 ex-Bordeaux, up 16.7% on 2013 (€27).

Tom Mann, of LHK Wines, told Decanter.com that he will be looking to buy 2014s at a later stage, as he had little expectation of price rises over the short to medium term. ‘We’ve done no primeur this year. We’ve been concentrating more on the 2012s and other physically available wines, not just from Bordeaux. There’s just not enough profit in a campaign like this to make it worthwhile when you consider the time expenditure.’

In France itself, Virginie Morvan, buyer at Lavinia in Paris said that, ‘maybe 20% of the wines that have come out have found buyers. There are good successes, and total failures, but not huge surprises’. Morvan cited Sociando Mallet, Poujeaux, Calon Segur, Chasse Spleen and Lynch Bages as successes in the domestic market.

Giles Cooper, at Bordeaux Index, called the campaign ‘stop-start’ and said that sales have not been much higher than 2013, despite about a dozen wines doing well, including the First Growths, Lynch Bages, Ormes de Pez, Grand Puy Lacoste, Pontet Canet and Figeac.

He said, ‘Where the price has been below the 2008, 2006 and 10-20% below all physical vintages on the market, we have occasionally shifted decent volumes – 50-100+ cases. If the price is just a little too high, the impact is significant and sales tail off very quickly – with a few notable exceptions such as Pontet Canet’.

‘There was a significant opportunity here to pick up some consumer goodwill that seems to have been missed,’ said Mann. ‘I understand that the Bordelaise are worried about damaging the reputation of the 2013s by selling the 2014s cheaper. Unfortunately, the consumer has reacted in a fairly predictable way and now instead of one unsold vintage (2013) there are two (2013 & 2014).

See more Bordeaux 2014 coverage:

Bordeaux 2014

Written by Jane Anson

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