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Bordeaux 2009: Calls for restraint as prices predicted to return to 2005 levels

With a glut of cheap Bordeaux on the market, trade buyers are warning against opportunistic pricing in 2009, amid growing concern that prices could return to 2005 levels.

In the US, Diageo subsidiary C&E Wines recently offloaded significant stocks of 2005 Bordeaux at reduced prices, leaving retailers predicting a hard time persuading consumers to pay more for an as yet unproven vintage.

Speaking at the en primeur tastings, Sherry Lehmann CEO Chris Adams said that in spite of the quality of the ’09 vintage, the economy was ‘still in a bad place.’

‘Yes it’s a great vintage, but how can I recommend it to my customers when the 2005s, 06s and 07s are so much cheaper?

‘If you’re going to buy en primeur, you’ve got to be convinced that you’re getting the best deal, and after what’s happened recently, that’s not certain.’

Denis Marsan, director of the SAQ monopoly in Quebec, said that the demand for the wines was likely to inflate prices further.

‘Coming here, we were planning on prices being 15% down on 2005. Looking at the top wines now, I’m not sure they will be,’ he said.

This comes as Chateau Angelus owner Hubert de Bouard admitted that while a month ago he had expected to come out around 15% lower than his 2005 price, he now predicts parity.

Corinne Mentzelopoulos from first growth Chateau Margaux, told decanter.com that she still had ‘no idea’ how the 2009’s would be priced.

‘We brought prices down by 45% last year. Compared to minus 45%, prices are going to go up. But by how far I have no idea.’

‘It’s the market that decides. We have to find the price at which everybody will be happy buying it.’

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Written by Guy Woodward and John Abbott in Bordeaux

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