Margaux joins growing en primeur releases

Château Margaux, Palmer, Lynch Bages and Lascombes led the 2011 en primeur releases this morning.

photo credit: G de Laubier

The 2011 campaign is beginning to see more activity as the floodgates start to open, a situation the drinks business has already reported was imminent.

Margaux released at €360 p/b, a 40% drop on its 2010 price of €600, while Lynch Bages (€69) and Lascombes (€43) showed respective drops of 31% and 40%.

Palmer meanwhile, in a move redolent of Cos d’Estournel’s scornfully received entry into the campaign, dropped a mere 25% from €215 to €160 p/b.

This almost certainly places it a long way ahead of vintages such as 2001 (£1,100 a case on Liv-ex) and 2008 (£1,225) in terms of pricing.

On the other hand, at £740 a case Lynch Bages is cheaper than other vintages such as its 2001 (£795) and 2008 (£780), a tactic that appears to be the most successful in this campaign.

Pontet Canet and Lafite are two estates that have pulled off this trick (although 2011 Pontet Canet is slightly higher than some of its current physical vintages).

Value is the key word in this campaign and after Lafite’s release, Liv-ex estimated that the other first growths would have to cut prices by as much as 60% on 2010 to make them appear attractive to buyers.

Margaux’s 40% means it is trading for an average of £3,800, cheaper than 2010, 2009 and 2008 but slightly more expensive than 2006 and 2004.

Some on Twitter, although not criticising the estate for its price, have already said that it will not do well.

It should be noted though that Margaux was the leading first growth and indeed left bank estate in Robert Parker’s scores with a provisional 94-96 points.

Furthermore, there are a growing number of voices from Bordeaux defending the vintage’s quality.

Cos d’Estournel, whose own release was roundly slated, recently defended its own position and reiterated its belief that a higher release price than the likes of 2008 and 2001 was justifiable.

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