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Other estates must not follow Lafite’s lead

Other estates must not think they can get away with cutting 2011 prices as little as Lafite, leading merchants have warned.

What price 2011 Bordeaux?

With the 2011 en primeur campaign poised to begin in earnest, Justerini & Brooks’ Bordeaux buyer Tom Jenkins told the drinks business that “what works for Lafite may not work for others”.

Jenkins said that for customers to buy this vintage, it was essential that the wines were “correctly priced”.

With a cut of 30% to €420 p/b, Lafite still released over 200% above its 2008 release price but Jenkins noted that Lafite was able to operate on a very different level to its neighbours.

He thought that the château’s price was “sensible” and was glad that prices had come down but warned that other growths would have to be looking at below €300 a bottle to find buyers.

He said: “I applaud Lafite for its price but it is almost unfortunate that it has come out first. Hopefully ego will not get in the way of common sense. If other châteaux release at that price it could put a stop to the campaign.

“The other classed growths shouldn’t feel that they can price against Lafite. If Mouton comes out at over €400 a bottle for example I can’t see people buying it.

“Customers will buy this vintage if it’s priced correctly. The châteaux need to slash their prices. There are lots of very good wines from 2011 but for us to recommend them to our clients they have to offer good value.”

His views echo fears that, despite the promise of falling prices, 2011 will still be priced too high.

Simon Davies, head of marketing at Fine+Rare, spoke to db from Bordeaux and agreed that “it would look expensive” if the other first growths came out as high as Lafite.

Liv-ex has calculated that based on Lafite’s release price, the other first growths should come down by as much as 60% on their 2010 prices – bearing in mind that in 2010 both Latour and Haut-Brion released higher than their fellow first growths at €780 and €660 p/b respectively.

If they did lower their prices the recommended amount, however, the four remaining firsts would be realeasing between €173 and €243 ex-château and €216 and €320 p/b ex-negociant.

However, Davies reported that there appears to be very little hurry from the top châteaux to release and he predicted that it was unlikely another first would come out before May.

Out today are Cos d’Estournel at €108 p/b, which is down 45% on 2010 but still up 66% on 2008 and also its second wine Pagodes at €30 p/b, a 25% drop on 2010 but up 52% on 2008’s €19.75 . Gazin also released at €42, down 12.5% on 2010 and again up on 2008 by 46%.


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