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Bordeaux 2014: Small quantities mark en primeur campaign amid flurry of releases

A flurry of Bordeaux 2014 releases early in the week has seen several key estates increase prices by between 15% and 25% on the 2013 vintage, with some merchants concerned about the small quantities of wine available.

There were signs on Monday (18 May) that estates were getting more optimistic with pricing their Bordeaux 2014 wines – prompting a mixed reaction from the market.

Right Bank releases so far this week have included La Conseillante at 66 euros per bottle ex-Bordeaux, up 15.8% on 2013 (57 euros) and up 14.6% on 2012 (57.6 euros). Figeac was released at 60 euros ex-Bordeaux, up 25% on 2013 (48 euros, the same price as 2012). Clos Fourtet came out at 50.5 euros per bottle ex-Bordeaux, up 14.7% on 2013 (44 euros).

‘We’ve done pretty well with Figeac – smart price, smart scores, and I think drinkers are really pleased to see it performing to its capabilities again,’ said Giles Cooper, of Bordeaux Index.

Will Hargrove, of Corney & Barrow, said he liked La Conseillante. ‘Nothing really went mad but there was some steady busines,’ he said of Monday’s trading.

But, there was rising concern among some merchants about the amounts of wine being released by some estates.

Joss Fowler of Fine & Rare Wines said that although La Conseillante found buyers, the Right Bank seemed to be losing its place within the UK en primeur market. ‘Figeac and Clos Fourtet will have their followers, it’s just a question of how many. But St Emilion is so much harder to call than anything on the Left Bank. There’s not enough of it and, big names aside, it’s not traded enough to find a true market price.’

The issue of small quantities is not only a Right Bank phenomenon. Many negociants in Bordeaux have reported difficulty fulfilling allocations to their clients.

Nick Martin, of trading platform Wine Owners, said some estates’ strategy to release tiny amounts of wine could backfire. ‘Then the real game plan became apparent; there was no wine,’ he said of some recent releases.

‘This is the sort of attempt at market influence that Bordeaux en primeur does not need. The market will not necessarily reward throttled supply with higher prices: demand is often choked off too in the process.’

On the Left Bank on Monday, Chateau Ferriere released at 20.4 euros, up from 17.7 euros last year and more expensive than its 2009 which was priced at 19.8 euros. Grand Puy Lacoste released at 38.5 euros ex-Bordeaux, up 23.4% on the 2013 (31.2 euros), and Phelan Segur was out at 22.8 euros, nearly 12% up on 2013. Haut Batailley came out at 22.8 euros per bottle ex-Bordeaux, up 8.6% on the 2013 (21 euros). Lascombes was released at 42 euros per bottle ex-Bordeaux, up 16.7% on 2013 (36 euros). In Pessac Léognan, Smith Haut Lafitte has been released at 45.6 euros, up 18.8% on 2013 (38.4 euros).

‘We always love Phelan and that sells well,’ said Hargrove. ‘We will do well on Grand Puy Lacoste (GPL) as the wine was really very very good and the price is fair.’

‘We loved GPL and to be honest for under £40 on the table once you’ve paid your duty and VAT (UK), it looks a good buy,’ said Cooper, who added the wine was ‘rumbling out pretty nicely’.

See more Bordeaux 2014 coverage:

Bordeaux 2014

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux and Chris Mercer

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