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Sunday 23 November 2014

Bordeaux 2013: Haut-Brion highs and lows

24th April, 2014 by Rupert Millar

Haut-Brion and its confederates dominate this morning’s releases but while there are cuts for the reds, the whites haven’t budged from last year.

Ch. La MissionUnsurprisingly, first growth Haut-Brion followed fellow firsts Margaux and Mouton and cut 10% to €215 per bottle ex-négociant, a prudent move as the firsts and a few others have been the only wines to see much movement this campaign on the strength of their cuts.

Second wine, Clarence, was cut 17% to € 50 p/b.

La Mission Haut-Brion meanwhile cut 20% to €120 p/b, another sensible move and the largest cut by any château so far.

On the other hand, La Mission rose to such heights in 2009 and 2010 – when it was effectively the same price as any first growth – that it is unlikely to be much cheaper than back vintages such as 2008.

Nonetheless the drop is encouraging. Liv-ex noted on its blog yesterday that the only way to succeed in this campaign is to make the 2013 the cheapest vintage on the market.

To date, only half of the big name releases – the first growths chief among them – have achieved this to any degree with Petit Mouton the leading label with a gap of just over 15% between its 2013 and the next cheapest vintage.

Whatever the divide among the trade surrounding the general quality of the reds in 2013, the whites have generally been hailed a great success.

No doubt this is why the white wines from Haut-Brion and La Mission have remained at their respective 2012 prices of €600 and €480 p/b.

Sticking by Liv-ex’s principle that a wine that succeeds en primeur is the cheapest vintage from that property, this tactic will be justified if the white 2012s have appreciated at all.

They haven’t.

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