Sauternes appears best value in latest releases

The 2011 en primeur campaign came to life again yesterday with a small flurry of releases.

Could Sauternes be the best value in 2011?

Chasse Spleen, Bellevue (Saint Emilion), Suduiraut, Carillon Angélus and Doisy-Védrines were among the releases but for the most part prices remained above 2008 release prices by 7% to nearly 50%.

Chasse Spleen at €17.70p/b is only 1.6% down on 2010 but remains 31% up on 2008’s €13.5. Bellevue (Saint Emilion) at €35p/b is 21.4% down on 2010, 48.9% up on 2008, while Suduiraut was 7.2% down on 2010 at €45p/b but 34.3% up on 2008.

This follows a pattern already set by those few châteaux that have released albeit with varying degrees of success.

Lafite’s release price makes it the cheapest of the estate’s vintages and, anecdotally, it has done rather well.

Cos d’Estournel by contrast was more expensive than other physical vintages and has been panned as a result.

Chasse Spleen may have barely budged from its 2010 release price but should still be cheaper than those from the past decade, with the interesting exception of 2010.

With the 2010 currently trading on Liv-ex for £176, the 2011 price of over £195 is rather out of step when the comparative qualities of the vintages are taken into account – however, it is likely that the 2010 price will rise once the wine becomes physical.

Meanwhile, Bellevue is at a more comparable price to its current 2005 trading price of £450 and it is not impossible to see a similar reaction to that which has greeted Cos d’Estournel as buyers look again at 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008 and even 2009 which range between £295 and £395 a case.

Likewise, Suduiraut’s £465 a case is only exceeded by 2009 at £528 and 2001 at £774. Those were exceptional years for Sauternes but good years such as 2005, 2006 and 2007 are available for £275 to £378.

Doisy-Védrines at £215 is more in line with its current releases, with 2009 at £225, 2007 for £350 and 2001 at £441.

However, it has been a salient feature of the commentary from both merchant releases and Twitter that Sauternes has had an exceptional year in 2011 and the release prices offer excellent value for the quality of the wine.

Sauternes at least appears to be able to get away with high pricing.

Also out this morning are Ormes de Pez, Beau-Séjour Bécot and Doisy-Daëne and L’Extravagant de Doisy-Daëne. Initial reports show respective prices per case of £210, £390, £290 and £3,100.

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