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Yquem, Cheval ‘tricky’ to sell?

Chateau d’Yquem and Cheval Blanc are on the market with mixed messages from the trade as to their saleability.

Yquem was released yesterday at €330 euro ex-chateau, up about 9% on the €300 ex-chateau price for 2006.

Cheval Blanc 2007, released earlier this week at €320 ex-chateau, was down about 25% from €400 for the 2006, with no recommended resale price.

‘Yquem is the best wine of 2007. I have sold out, and if I had another 1,000 bottles of Pétrus I would sell those too,’ said negociant Jean-Luc Thunevin, adding that demand for Yquem was mainly from Europe.

Prices for Pétrus are not widely available to merchants, but Thunevin estimated it was selling for about €330 to merchants, and about €700 to clients, a probable decrease of 30% on 2006.

While Thunevin is upbeat, other professionals are not so sanguine, with some reporting Yquem was only selling below its recommended resale price of €390.

Bordeaux based negociant Jeffrey Davies, who works closely with the US market, said Yquem was a tricky sell. ‘In the US Yquem will be upwards of US$700 per bottle, for something that they won’t get for three years and shouldn’t drink for 20,’ he said.

‘Demand for Yquem started well yesterday morning but then tailed off, as it seemed other negociants were offering it at €360 or €365,’ said Philippe Larché of Vintexnégociants.

A merchant, who did not wish to be named, claimed that people were already selling Yquem at the ex-château price, so as not to get landed with stocks.

Another senior source who also did not wish to be named described Yquem and Cheval Blanc as ‘a horrible sell.’

‘This may be the first time that a first growth many not be able to allocate all its wine.’

Decanter gave Cheval Blanc 17/20, while Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate awarded it 88-91 points – relatively mediocre considering the price tag.

Decanter gave Yquem 19/20, and Wine Advocate gave it one of the highest scores of the vintage: 96-98 points.

Written by Sophie Kevany in Bordeaux

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