Merchants expect release prices for Bordeaux 2022 en primeur wines to increase by 7.7% on average versus last year’s campaign for the 2021 vintage, said Liv-ex, a global marketplace for the trade.
Its figures are based on forecasts for ‘ex-[Bordeaux] négociant’ prices (€ per bottle) across 10 top estates.
Prices were also set to be nearly 5% higher than for the 2020-vintage en primeur campaign two years ago, said Liv-ex.
It surveyed its membership after en primeur tasting week and prior to this week’s early releases, which have indicated prices may be towards the higher end of predicted ranges in some cases.
Bordeaux’s 2022 vintage has generated plenty of early praise and excitement among winemakers and critics, despite intense hot and dry conditions posing challenges in the growing season.
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Liv-ex also found that 77% of respondents expected buyer demand to be higher for 2022 en primeur wines than for the difficult 2021 vintage a year ago.
‘Some [respondents] noted that demand will increase because “last year was pretty dreadful” and “very poor for en primeur sales”,’ Liv-ex said.
‘Others thought demand would increase because “it is a far better vintage” and “a lot of appetite has been expressed by customers during the [en primeur] tastings”.’
There were, however, some pre-en primeur nerves in parts of the trade about how far prices might go.
Wines from 2018, 2019 and 2020 will be ‘reference points’ – Bordeaux Index
Each château has its own strategy, and the availability and price of similarly rated back-vintages can vary, too.
Matthew O’Connell, CEO of Bordeaux Index’s LiveTrade online trading platform, said in the merchant’s en primeur report: ‘The exact market context for each wine will vary, but the obvious reference points will be the 2018/19/20 [vintage] trio plus the – usually – higher priced 2016.’
He also said: ‘We think there is potential, though not yet certainty, that some of the top wines will come to be considered “top tier” reference points in the model of 2016 and 2009/2010 before that.’
Another trend to watch is the amount of wine released, following reports in recent years that some châteaux are holding back a higher proportion of stock.
Releases so far
Château Cheval Blanc and Château Angélus effectively kick-started this year’s en primeur campaign this week, as previously reported. Their 2022 vintages were 21.5% and 37.7% more expensive than last year respectively, on an ex-Bordeaux basis.
Launched in the UK at around £5,760 per case (12x75cl in bond) and rated 98 points by Decanter, Cheval Blanc 2022 was cheaper than market prices for the highly regarded 2019, 2016 and 2015 vintages, said both Liv-ex and analyst group Wine Lister.
UK merchant Bordeaux Index said Cheval Blanc had been released on ‘allocation only’.
O’Connell said on Tuesday (9 May), ‘I think it’s a price that has met with interest from collectors who see this as a compelling vintage.’ He added that not all critics’ scores have been published yet.
Cheval Blanc 2022 was by Thursday (11 May) listed as ‘sold out’ on the Farr Vintners en primeur web page, as was Léoville Barton 2022 from the Left Bank.
‘Léoville Barton sold out to our pre-orders this year,’ said Thomas Parker MW, buyer at Farr Vintners. ‘It represents real value relative to its peers when you look at the quality in the glass and the scores from the critics.’
It emerged at €64.2 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, a 15% increase on the release price of the estate’s 2021 vintage, according to Liv-ex, which said the 2022 vintage was offered by UK merchants at £780 per case (12x75cl in bond).
Among the estate’s back-catalogue, Liv-ex said the 2019 vintage ‘also looks attractive, although it is available at a slight premium to today’s release’.
Other releases have included Langoa Barton 2022, at €34 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, up 15.6% on last year’s release, and offered internationally at £428 per case (12x75cl in bond), according to Liv-ex.
‘Last year’s release has seen its price remain the same on the secondary market,’ said Wine Lister.
However, it noted high early scores from critics. ‘In light of this, the release price might not seem unreasonable – especially considering it enters the market below the comparably-scored 2019 and 2016 vintages,’ it said.