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Bordeaux 2011: Chateau d’Yquem holds back from en primeur campaign

The director of Chateau d'Yquem, Pierre Lurton, has said he will not be releasing the 2011 vintage en primeur at this time.

Despite being named as wine of the vintage by several critics, Lurton has said in a letter to Bordeaux wine merchants that he will hold the wine back due to the ‘delicate context’ of the 2011 campaign.

He said that he would rather ‘bring it out at a more suitable moment, one that suits the excellence of the wine in this vintage’.

Bordeaux sources told Decanter.com that the sluggish nature of the 2011 campaign, which has been marked by significant price drops, means that Lurton was unwilling to bring the price down sufficiently to sell in a difficult commercial climate. No indication has been given of when the 2011 Yquem will be available to buy.

Chateau d’Yquem‘s decision also echoes that of Chateau Latour this year, where director Frederic Engerer announced that, from 2012 onwards, he would be holding both Latour and Forts de Latour until they are ready to drink; although, in that case, Engerer did not link his move to the current economic uncertainty.

‘There is no question that we are following the example of Latour, or legitimising their commercial decision,’ Lurton told Decanter.com. ‘We are not withdrawing Yquem from the en primeur system, it is simply that we feel this is not the right moment.’

‘We have tried in the past not using the en primeur system, but we believe it is very important, and fully support it as a method of selling our wines,’ he said. ‘I feel that in the context of a difficult 2011 for the reds – together with the general economic uncertainties – that it is more sensible to wait, and ensure Yquem 2011 gets the reception that its quality deserves.’

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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