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Bordeaux 2012 hamstrung by ‘insufficient price cuts’

An official summary of Bordeaux's 2012 en primeur campaign shows the average price cut on all 344 wines released was 7.6%, compared to the 2011 vintage.

Despite early hopes that sales would be spurred by significantly lower pricing from Bordeaux’s five first growths, which were down 33% on the previous year and sold well, overall public demand was generally very poor.

The new figures, produced by Bordeaux-based wine brokerage house Tastet Lawton – which is widely respected for its hard data on primeur campaigns – also show 2012’s pricing was an average of 30% higher than the most recently affordable vintage of 2008.

‘The two big problems for the 2012 campaign were insufficient price cuts and too many wines on the market,’ Tastet Lawton’s managing director Erik Samazeuilh told Decanter.com.

Samazeuilh said the number of brands released as en primeur should be closer to the 1995 figure of 235 and that wines with little resale margin, such as the Cru Bourgeois, were crowding the market. ‘Only the Grands Crus and their like should be on the market as en primeur,’ he said.

He added that Bordeaux’s negociants were now carrying unwieldy amounts of stock, made up of about two thirds of the unsold 2012 vintage, large quantities of unsold 2011 and some unsold 2010.

On a slightly more upbeat note, Samazeuilh said next week’s Vinexpo wine trade fair might bring some demand for the 2012s, especially with 2013 vintage currently mired in bad weather, and at least three weeks behind schedule.

Some commentators believe traditional en primeur buyers in the US and UK have lost interest in buying Bordeaux’s primeurs following price inflation for the 2009 and 2010 vintages, driven by demand from new buyers in China and Hong Kong.

Written by Sophie Kevany in Bordeaux

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