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Top 2010 Bordeaux still selling ‘slowly’ say US merchants

Bordeaux 2010 remains too expensive as the top-end wines continue to sell very slowly, American merchants say.

Higher-priced wines are ‘challenging’: Sherry-Lehmann

American merchants bought less high-end and high-priced Bordeaux 2010 en primeur than they had for the 2009 vintage.

And their reaction after tasting the 2010 from bottle last month confirms a trend towards mid-priced wine buying for the vintage.

MacArthur Beverages in Washington DC purchased just 10 cases more of 2010, mainly third growths La Lagune, and Giscours and Pessac-Leognan’s Malartic Lagraviere. ‘I had sold out of these bottles [all at less than US$75 per bottle] and I thought they showed very well at the tasting,’ said buyer Mark Wessels at the Union des Grands Crus tasting in January at the Marriot Marquis in New York.

Although Wessels noticed some ‘softening’ of prices – the 2009 vintage, he says, has appreciated in value by comparison – most 2010s remain ‘too expensive’, he said.

Of the higher-priced wines, Wessels did not purchase Angelus, Palmer or Leoville Las Cases, and the ‘few quantities’ he had purchased of Cos d’Estournel, Ducru Beaucaillou, Pichon Comtesse and Montrose, each at ‘well over US$200 per bottle’, have been selling very slowly, he said.

It is a similar story for Chris Adams of Sherry-Lehmann in New York. Wines in the US$25-40 range such as Chasse Spleen, Camensac and Potensac are selling well but for the more prestigious wines, ‘pricing was far too high’.

‘For these chateaux, including first growths, sales have been slower.’ Adams pointed out that ‘notably’ Angelus and Cos d’Estournel have been more challenging for sales as compared to the 2009 vintage.

Other merchants enthusiastically purchased at cru bourgeois. Daniel Greathouse of Heidelberg Distributing in Ohio bought about 200 cases, he said, including Haut Bergey, Fourcas Hosten and Phelan Segur.

But for prestigious appellations with high price tags, consumers reckon 2010 is too expensive: ‘Why should I buy bottles of Pichon Baron or Trotanoy in 2010, when I could purchase superb, mature back vintages like 1989 or 1990 for about the same price?’ asked one Washington DC wine consumer.

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