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Yquem price lower but still too high for market?

Chateau Yquem today released its en primeur price for the 2006 vintage at €300 per bottle ex-chateau.

This is €100 lower than last year’s price – which was widely considered too high and caused several negociants not to buy.

‘It came out last year at €470 to the Bordeaux trade, and I refused my allocation,’ said negociant Bill Blatch. Asked if he would buy this year Blatch said he needed more time to understand what was going on with the Yquem price.

The wine itself, which will cost about £3,230 from British merchants, has been praised by critics including Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker.

But despite the praise and the drop in price, Bordeaux negociant Jean-Luc Thunevin said it was still too expensive relative to the market.

‘It got the best reviews of the 2006 vintage, but now the reds are king,’ he said.

Thunevin pointed out that Yquem, though well reviewed by Parker did not get an actual score, a fact that could limit its value as an investment. He also pointed out that from a speculative point of view Yquem, unlike reds, takes three years, not two, before delivery.

Earlier in the week Pierre Lurton, director of Château d’Yquem, had already questioned the value of selling Sauternes during the traditional en primeur campaign, as the market tends to be set by Medoc reds.

‘It can be useful to release a wine at a time when the world’s attention is focused on Bordeaux,’ he said. ‘But there is less benefit for a sweet wine than for the Bordeaux reds.’

Prices for Cheval Blanc, Petrus and Le Pin are expected later in the week.

Written by Sophie Kevany and Jane Anson, in Bordeaux

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