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Asia fails to fulfil en primeur promise

The 2009 vintage was billed as the year the Asian markets would jump aboard the en primeur train but leading merchants are now admitting it did not live up to the hype.

Sales of the highly rated 2009’s did increase compared to 2008 but negociants and UK merchants admit the campaign did not meet their expectations.

One Bordeaux-based merchant told decanter.com it was ‘pretty disappointed’ with the 2009 campaign in the Far East, and the anticipated ‘flood’ of sales had not materialised.

Laurent Ehrmann, the managing director of another Bordeaux negociant, added: ‘I can’t say the Asian markets pilfered the 2009 stocks – that’s a fantasy of the European consumer. Sales were up but they were present but not blindly buying any wine at any price.’

Merchants report that the Asian markets continued to focus on first growths. London-based Bordeaux Index reports Asia accounted for 90% of its Château Lafite sales but sold just five cases of fifth growth Château Cantemerle in Hong Kong compared to 800 cases in the UK.

Gary Boom, director of Bordeaux Index, said: ‘Yes, sales were up in Asia but not quite as much as we had expected. They bought large quantities of first growths but virtually nothing from the rest of the market.’

Written by Rebecca Gibb

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