With a flood of Bordeaux chateaux releasing their 2009 vintages, prices are reaching unprecedented levels.
Malescot Saint Exupery, a Margaux second growth that is traditionally fairly low profile but scored 95-97 with Parker this year, rose 150% on its 2008 price, coming out at €55 ex-Bordeaux.
L’Evangile in Pomerol received 96-100 from Parker, and rose in price to €180 ex-Bordeaux, again tripling its 2008 price, and doubling that of 2005.
More major chateaux are now starting to release, with recent prices including Petit Mouton (second wine of Mouton Rothschild) at €60 ex Bordeaux (up 33% on 2005), and Forts de Latour (second wine of Latour) at €89 ex-Bordeaux (up 85% on 2005.)
Also released were Chateau d’Issan (€39.60), Canon La Gaffeliere (€59), Chateau Clinet (€70), Chateau Beychevelle (€44), Chateau Rauzan Segla (€60), and Chateau Lagrange (€37.20).
Troplong Mondot – which scored highly with Robert Parker but was criticised for high alcohol by many others – stayed unchanged from its 2005 price at €90 (a rise of 118% from 2008).
Reactions to the prices from inside and outside Bordeaux are mixed.
Sylvie Cazes, director of the Union des Grand Crus and owner of Lynch Bages, told decanter.com: ‘The campaign is going very well. Most people are very happy and the majority of wines are selling through the chain very quickly.’
Many UK merchants are reporting that they are finding it tough to meet demand.
Neil Pinel, Managing Director of Dunnell’s Wines in Jersey said: ‘Orders are piling in this morning for Bordeaux 09s, and I’m struggling to get enough stock’.
In Hong Kong, Berry Bros is reporting that its entire allocation of Pontet Canet (€72 first tranche, €85 second tranche) sold out in less than two hours.
Others merchants, however, are sounding notes of alarm – though few wish to be named.
One merchant in Holland said, ‘I hate these prices, and worry that this is all leading to a crash’, while a leading UK merchant commented: ‘If the Bordelais believe correct pricing means pricing at the very lip of the precipice, they have done well.’
‘If they aim to give their customers a return on their purchase, they have failed miserably. Of my top 20 customers, 17 have bought nothing. Nor will they. Apply that nationally and Bordeaux is digging a vast hole for itself. Unless it plans to relocate to Asia that is,’ he said.
More major releases are expected over the next few days.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux