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Bordeaux 2021 en primeur set for lower demand

Merchants are expecting a smaller Bordeaux en primeur campaign overall this year, following a challenging 2021 vintage, a Liv-ex survey has found.

More than 71% of international merchants said they anticipated less demand for Bordeaux 2021 en primeur wines, in volume terms, versus the 2020 vintage released last year, said Liv-ex, a global marketplace for the trade.

Barrel sample tastings at the end of April indicated that several châteaux have still made very good wines in the 2021 vintage and that there is plenty to enjoy if you know where to look, despite myriad weather-related challenges in the growing season.

Yet more than half of Liv-ex survey respondents said they expected to see demand drop by at least 20% in volume during this year’s en primeur campaign, versus last year.

Less wine is likely to be released en primeur this year, Liv-ex added.

Bordeaux’s 2021 harvest was around 20% smaller than the 10-year average, although not all areas were affected equally.

Coming soon on Decanter Premium: Our full Bordeaux 2021 en primeur verdict with tasting notes and scores on top wines

Alongside scores, tasting notes and release volumes, all eyes will be on release prices in the coming days and weeks.

Liv-ex asked its international merchant members to predict pricing ranges on a core basket of wines.

Release prices always vary, but they were expected to drop by around 2.7% on average versus the 2020-vintage en primeur campaign, on an ex-Bordeaux basis (€ per bottle), Liv-ex said.

If the predictions prove correct, prices for 2021 wines would still be significantly above the 2019-vintage campaign in general.

Some top estates cut prices on their 2019 wines, released in the first summer of 2020 after the beginning of the pandemic, although many have risen in price on the market since en primeur.

Each estate sets its own en primeur pricing strategy and contextual factors can also have an impact, such as the availability of back-vintages and a château’s quality trajectory or momentum on the market.

Among early releases, Château Batailley and Lafite Rothschild’s second wine, Carruades de Lafite, were both praised by UK merchants after their 2021 wines emerged as the cheapest available vintage on the market.

Join Decanter Premium today to enjoy full access to in-depth tasting notes on the latest releases from the 2021 vintage, coming very soon.

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