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Bordeaux 2004 ‘sluggish’

The Bordeaux 2004 en primeur campaign is sluggish despite the fact prices are 10-20% lower than the 2003 vintage.

Major châteaux that have so far announced their release price include Château Léoville-Barton (€22 – down 8.33% on 2003), Château Lynch-Bages (€22 – down 21.42%) and Château l’Evangile (€45 – down 25%, its lowest since 1995).

Château Margaux’s second wine, Pavillon Rouge, is being offered at €18, in line with the price of the 2001.

But interest in the vintage remains lukewarm. ‘The established names are selling within Bordeaux but overseas markets – like the US and to a lesser extent the UK – are flat,’ said Erik Samazeuilh of Bordeaux agent Tastet & Lawton.

Stephen Browett of London merchant Farr Vintners feels that prices still haven’t come down far enough. ‘If owners care about their wines being consumed and the en primeur system they have to be realistic about prices. It’s just too cynical to rely simply on negociants taking up their allocations.’

Browett reckons they will only sell about 10 wines from the vintage. The star so far has been Château Léoville-Barton: Farrs’ allocation of 350 cases has sold out, which represents bigger sales than all the other wines put together.

NB €1.00 = US$1.26

Written by James Lawther in Bordeaux

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