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Bordeaux 2011: Releases rush expected after quiet start

After a temporary pause for the first of the many May bank holidays in France, the en primeur campaign is expected to recommence with a flurry of releases today.

By the end of the week, most observers believe, the 2011 campaign will have either sunk without a trace, or found its feet, all depending on whether chateaux take seriously the need to drop prices.

Significant releases at the end of last week included a number of Sauternes estates, including Chateau Climens at €69.50 ex-Bordeaux (-3.47%) and Chateau Coutet at €42 (-7.89%).

For the red wines, the estates showing their hand are still largely mid-range such as Chateau Monbusquet at €26.40 ex-Bordeaux (down 2.2%), Chateau Siran at €16.5 0 ex-Bordeaux (down 5.17%), Chevalier de Lascombes at €15 (down 11.76%) and Chateau Cantemerle at €21, the same price as 2010.

It seems clear that these price drops are nowhere near what the market is expecting. Gary Boom of Bordeaux Index – based in both Hong Kong and the UK – told decanter.com, ‘Last year we sold around 300 cases of Chateau Cantemerle, this year we have sold two. It defies logic that they kept the price the same as the

‘It really is very simple,’ said Boom, ‘it doesn’t matter what a chateau’s score was, without significant price drops consumers won’t touch these wines. The Asian market is still smarting from buying overpriced 2010s, and a desire for the 2011s is non-existent over there. The entire campaign is on a knife-edge right now – releases over the next few days will dictate the entire thing.’

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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