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Cos d’Estournel, Pichon Lalande release

As the Bordeaux 2007 campaign reaches its final stages, merchants are reporting that sensible pricing is starting to be rewarded, while those who have not dropped are still not selling.

Big names released this week include Chateau Pichon Comtesse de Lalande (down 18% to €57.50), Chateau Nenin (down 30% to €23.90), Chateau Figeac (down 7% to €49.30) and Cos d’Estournel (down 10% to €65).

Chateau Pape Clement white has followed the trend of white wines by raising its price to €117.60. It was one of the very few wines to score the elusive 96-100 points from Robert Parker.

White wines continue to be the success story of the campaign. Simon Staples at UK merchant Berry Bros & Rudd said they had already sold 600 cases of Domaine de Chevalier white.

‘To be honest, they could have charged 20-30% more, but they didn’t,’ he said.

Jeffrey Davies, a Bordeaux merchant who works very closely with the US market, told decanter.com, ‘This week should see almost all remaining prices coming out – there seems little need to prolong the agony now.’

Both UK and US merchants have been tough, even virulent, in their rejection of the campaign. In the US, many merchants were here tasting during the futures week and were happy to find wines to drink instead of collect.

‘But there has been disgust about the subsequent prices,’ Davies said.

‘There have been some happy surprises, namely Thienpoint at Pavie Maquin and of course Chateau Margaux, and a number of producers in Pomerol who have listened to the market and brought down their prices.

‘These have sparked immediate interest, but generally Americans are buying only if we can give them exceptional payment terms.’

Anthony Jackson, of Berry Bros in Ireland, said, ‘It’s been a very difficult campaign in Ireland. The release prices have affected everyone and the Bordelais can’t hide behind fluctuations in the currency.

‘The number of properties that have come down sufficiently to reflect the vintage have been few and far between. Canny customers are beginning to question to virtue of en primeur.’

In London, Staples echoed his Irish colleague, lambasting the £1,200 (€1,500) per case price of Chateau Palmer 2007.

‘It’s totally ludicrous,’ he said. ‘As a merchant, and on a commercial basis, you’ve got to have it – if customers want to buy it [from us], they can have it.’

Staples also said Berry Bros had ‘walked away’ from Chateaux Montrose, Talbot, Cos d’Estournel, Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pichon-Baron and Pichon-Lalande.

He went on to illustrate the lack of interest in this year’s futures campaign.

‘Normally we sell around 1,000 cases of Leoville-Barton within 48 hours,’ he said. ‘We’ve currently sold less than 100.’

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux, and Oliver Styles

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