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Bordeaux 2013: ‘We must not be too greedy’, says Alain Raynaud

The president of Bordeaux winemaker group Grand Cercle de Bordeaux has said there will be some pleasant surprises from the 2013 vintage, but he reminded producers they need to price their wines sensibly.

Speaking to Decanter.com at the first Grand Cercle 2013 vintage tasting in London last night (19 March), Alain Raynaud (pictured) said that criticism of the wines has been premature.

Despite a hot summer in Bordeaux last year, cold weather delayed the growing season, leading to a late harvest that was hit by warm, humid conditions – leaving many winemakers treading a fine line between allowing the grapes to reach full ripeness but avoid problems with rot. Hail also damaged vineyards.

Some observers have called 2013 the most difficult vintage in Bordeaux for at least two decades, and official figures released by trade body CIVB show it is the smallest vintage since 1991.

‘I’ve made every vintage since 1964 and, frankly, I can’t compare this vintage to any one of them,’ said Raynaud, who represents a range of right and left bank chateaux selling wines at up to €35-a-bottle.

‘In the summer, we were very optimistic because we never had such good weather, not even in 2010. But, we were late,’ Raynaud said. ‘It’s not the vintage of the Century, but you will be surprised.’ He said science and technology has helped. ‘We now have different weapons against the main diseases we had to face this year, like mildew, botrytis.’

‘It’s not a speculative vintage,’ said Raynaud. ‘People will buy it to drink.’

However, he warned that chateaux will have to be careful not to price themselves out of the market. ‘If we are not too greedy and if we consider that we have to propose an attractive price, it will be a good opportunity.’

‘Either you decide to sell this wine as a future and it has to be down at least 30% to be attractive, or you decide to wait [to sell] until after the bottling.’

He said the extra selection and work needed to tend to the 2013 vintage means that it has been expensive to produce, and some estates will have to accept the hit on profits. ‘This year we will not make any money,’ he added.

Written by Chris Mercer

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