Bordeaux discounting ahead of summer doldrums

Prices of Bordeaux 2010 have dipped as merchants prepare for the summer break.

Liv-ex saw prices of Lafite drop from £12,500 a case to £10,500, Latour from £12,500 to £11,000 and Margaux from £8,000 to £7,450.

Despite the decrease in trading price, Latour is still trading at a premium to Lafite, as picked up by the drinks business last week.

Other popular wines such as Lynch-Bages and Pontet-Canet also dropped a little – Lynch-Bages from £1,300 to £1,150 and Pontet-Canet from £1,350 to £1,120.

The length and high pricing of this year’s campaign, coupled with what has been described as “buyer fatigue” are all possible reasons why merchants may have some excess stock they wish to be rid of at what appears to be a comparatively early stage.

However, that is not to say that the campaign has not been successful. Armit’s Hong Kong managing director Richard Sutton and Goedhuis’ managing director Tom Stopford Sackville were both very positive about results when they talked to db.

Sutton said: “2009 was by a distance our best ever campaign but we’ve been delighted with this year too.”

He continued by admitting that some châteaux are “over-priced” but countered by saying: “We haven’t recommended those. We believe in the quality of the vintage but have been selective with our choices.

“The great wines are the likes of Pontet-Canet, Vieux Château Certan and Lynch-Bages which all produced fabulous wines at prices that people think are worth it.

“Cheval Blanc, by contrast, has produced a lovely wine but at a price people have baulked at. It has not been a big seller unsurprisingly.”

Sackville saw the price drops as a clear case of “the wholesale market doing a balancing of its own books.

“A few wholesale dealers may or may not drop a few cases on Liv-ex to cash in a bit,” he said.

“There’s always a little bit of wholesale discounting on Liv-ex before the market goes dead over the summer.”

Two other wines that have slipped of late are Lafite and Mouton-Rothschild 2008. After both courted the Chinese market with symbols and labels and benefiting as a result, wine critic Robert Parker’s downgrading of their scores has seen their fortunes change slightly.

After hitting a peak of £8,300 in May, Mouton has fallen to £6,500 and Lafite has gone from £14,000 in January to £11,250.

Sackville said he thought this was right, all things considered.

“Mouton and Lafite did their number on 2008, which caused a feeding frenzy in China but they should justifiably be trading below their 2009s and 2010s. Lafite 2010 is easily the finest of the last three vintages,” he said.

Nonetheless, he maintained that 2008 was a very attractive vintage and this fall in price could actually make it quite attractive once again.

“I think there’s absolutely still a market for them,” he said, “people are just waiting to see where they’ll settle.”

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