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Bordeaux 2002: buy now to drink not invest

If you want to buy a top of the range Bordeaux 2002 you can take your pick – but don't look on it as an investment, UK merchants say.

Bordeaux dealers are surprised by how well 2002 futures are selling but some advise that as an investment you’d be better off spending your money on a gilt-edged vintage like the 2000.

At the moment London merchants Farr Vintners reports they have sold out of all their first growths except Chateau Mouton-Rothschild. Chateau Margaux came on the market yesterday and is now gone.

‘The well-known classed growths are going very well. The first growths, the super seconds, Gruaud Larose, Leoville Barton, are all selling,’ Farrs’ Stephen Browett said.

Other merchants tell the same story. The price is attractive, the wines have been well-received – it’s too good an offer to miss. Hugo Rose at Lay & Wheeler said, ‘Consumers are interested. They sense a deal.’

But they are not wines for investing in, most say. Browett: ‘In five years they will have gone up in value – you can’t buy a first growth for £700, especially not in a good year. But people are buying the wines because they want a Claret with good tasting note and a reasonable price tag – and they want to drink it.’

‘They’re not a good five-year investment,’ Guy Butterwick at online merchants Claret-e said. ‘I would advise you to spend £700 on a Lynch-Bages 2000 rather than a 2002 first growth.’

While the best-known names on the left bank are selling well, the right bank – Saint Emilion and Pomerol – is sluggish. Browett says this is because of the image: traditional buyers want tried and tested names. ‘They don’t care if the wine’s made in a garage and has a fifty-case production,’ referring to the ‘cult’ status of many

Saint-Emilion producers.

Hugo Rose said he was being ‘very cautious’ about taking on right bank wines. ‘There’s very little interest. There is concern over pricing. We’re not going out on a limb for wines that just don’t have a following this year.’

But the main message is, now is the time to get in touch with your supplier.

‘The first growths at the moment are on £675,’ Paul Milroy at top London merchants Berry Bros said, ‘and in two months time there won’t be any left.’

He added this is the perfect time to snap up wines like second growth Leoville-Barton and fifth growth Lynch-Bages. ‘They are incredible value at £216 (a third of the price of the 2000). They will sell out within a month.’

Written by Adam Lechmere

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