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UK merchant calls for massive 2006 Bordeaux price cuts

The director of UK wine merchant BBR has called for Bordeaux chateaux to cut their prices by 70% citing ‘major concerns’ prior to this year’s En Primeur.

Simon Staples says Berry Bros and Rudd will not be buying wines that are grossly overpriced, saying that there will be ‘few chateaux worth buying’.

He called on the First Growths and Super Seconds to drastically cut their release prices no matter what the outcome of next week’s En Primeur barrel tastings in Bordeaux.

‘The First Growths need to be sold by Berrys for no more than £100 [US$196, €147] per bottle and Super Seconds to a maximum of £40 [US$79,€59],’ he said. ‘2006 has to offer exceptional value no matter if it turns out to be a great year or merely good.’

Staples also threatened the top chateaux saying he would have ‘no qualms’ about walking away from them if they did not offer good value.

Stephen Browett of Farr Vintners agreed that prices should drop but drew short of citing comprehensive figures.

‘You can’t do a blanket percentage,’ Browett told decanter.com. ‘Some producers last year increased their prices by around 40%, some by around 100%. The people who went up the most will have to come down the most.’

Browett called for a return to the ’04 release prices. He also warned the Bordelais that although parallels have been made with previous vintages like 2001, the chateaux should not expect merchants to be offering 2006 wines at the same price as the more approachable ‘01s.

‘But all this is prior to tasting the vintage,’ he said.

Written by Oliver Styles

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