Bordeaux 2012: Still not selling

23rd May, 2013 by Rupert Millar

With price releases from Léoville Las Cases, Vieux Château Certan and l’Eglise Clinet as the 2012 campaign begins to wind down – selling is still a struggle.

leoville las cases

The long-expected l”Eglise Clinet, the only wine of the vintage ranked in the 100-point category by critic Robert Parker, released this morning at €125 per bottle ex-négociant (all prices), a 25% increase on last year.

Liv-ex director, Justin Gibbs, told the drinks business that it soon had offers of €130 p/b on the index.

Second growth Léoville Las Cases was the last major Left Bank estate to release, out at €85 p/b, down 15% on 2011’s €100 p/b.

Its second wine, Clos du Marquis, released yesterday with a 7% drop from €31 to €29 p/b.

VCC also released today, dropping just 6% from €96 p/b to €90. Its release price has risen a full 137% since 2008.

There will be the usual cheaper back vintages for VCC although Léoville Las Cases is rather more competitively priced. At £960 a case from Justerini & Brooks, only the 2008 is cheaper when considers the market prices on Liv-ex.

Meanwhile, further to previous reports from the merchants that 2012 was proving an “uphill struggle”, merchants have reported that the situation has not improved as the campaign has progressed.

Gary Boom, founder of Bordeaux Index, told the drinks business that overall the campaign had been “not great”.

In an echo of Berry Bros’ fine wine buyer Max Lalondrelle, he said that wines he normally sold hundreds of cases of had hardly sold at all – only eight cases of Cos d’Estournel had gone.

He said that prices were still too high and there was little interest from buyers.

“There is no financial sense in buying these wines,” he continued. “Apart from a few, it seems as if none have thought this through.

“I remember all those previous vintages where there was a reason to buy. It all went wrong around the 2009 campaign when they charged what they thought they could get away with.”

He said some wines had done very well, “90% of my sales have been the first growths”, as well as Right Bank names such as Clinet, Conseillante, Figeac and Gazin.

It was an appraisal shared by Will Hargrove, associate director at Corney & Barrow, who said that some of the recent releases “just don’t make sense”, again singling out Cos d’Estournel and Cheval Blanc in particular.

Nonetheless he thought that as it had been a relatively quick campaign (it began on 15 April and don’t forget the 2009 and 2010 campaigns ran for 3 and 4 months respectively) there was still a chance to return to clients with top picks by quality and value.

However, even with that thought, Hargrove remarked: “it still feels like a missed opportunity. If more had come down by 30% then we could have sold more.”

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