The last two days have seen a few attempts to get what has been described as the ‘forgotten Bordeaux 2012 campaign’ finally moving, but customers are 'turning their backs on the vintage', merchants say.
‘Best priced’… Beychevelle
Among the chateaux showing a willingness to listen to the market have been Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse, which posted a 20% drop to €57.60 ex-Bordeaux, and Chateau Malartic Lagraviere, which also came down 20% to €21.60 for its red, and down 17% to €34.80 for its white.
Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste also posted a larger-than-average drop of 19% to €38.40 ex-Bordeaux.
Chateau Beychevelle only dropped 10.53% to €40.80 (a full 90% over its 2008 price), but this makes it one of the best priced Beychevelles on the market (including the current price of the 2008), because it has proved such a popular wine in the Chinese market over recent vintages.
Négociants in Bordeaux are reporting that Pichon Comtesse is selling out in other markets, but not in the UK.
This was confirmed by Alex Marton, director of fine wine at Bibendum. He told Decanter.com, ‘We thought Pichon was a good enough drop to get behind, because the quality was there, and it’s cheaper than Pichon Baron and Lynch Bages.
‘But as happened with the 2011 campaign, our customers have just turned their back on the vintage, and it’s difficult to convince people to buy. The First Growths came out at the right price, and there was sufficient interest, but after that, no other chateaux have matched it.’
Geoffrey Vale of Geoffrey Vale Wines reports a similar lack of interest from clients. ‘I will probably buy some wines in a few months, once I have looked over all the prices – there doesn’t seem to be any hurry.’ .
Elsewhere price drops have created even less excitement.
Both Langoa Barton and Léoville Barton proved unpopular with buyers, dropping respectively just 4% and 2% to €30 and €44 ex-Bordeaux.
Chateau d’Issan came down 13% to €32, Haut Batailley down 6% to €22.80, Chateau Grand Pontet down 10.35% to €15.60, Marquis de Terme €22.80, down 7.32%.
Other wines out today include Chateau La Pointe, down 3.03% to €19.20, Chateau Fieuzel down 5.56% to €20.40, Chateau Gloria down 5.41% to €21, and Chateau Marquis d’Alesme down 5.56% to €19.95.
There are a few significant names still left to release – with the largest number concentrated in Pomerol – but most observers feel Bordeaux is running out of time to make 2012 a successful en primeur vintage.
‘It seems almost a nail in the coffin for the en primeur system,’ said Marton. ‘If chateaux want to sell at this premium, they should keep the wines in their cellars and release it at whatever price they want at a later date. But if they want the benefit of en primeur, they need to look at their strategy.’
Several chateau owners, however, are pointing out that percentage price decreases are not a fair way to assess value, as production costs were relatively high for all estates in 2012, but classified estates have more margin for price increases and decreases’
One Médoc producer, who asked not to be named, told Decanter.com, ‘It’s unfair to assess price decreases the same way for different chateaux, since the story is all about production costs. A cru bourgeois in 2012 selling for anything below €10 will be at break-even best case, while any Grand Cru Classé at €30-plus will be doing well.’
See Decanter’s full 2012 Bordeaux scores and tasting notes here
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux