26th March, 2014 by Rupert Millar
Pontet-Canet has jumped the starting gun for this year’s en primeurs, releasing its 2013 vintage at €60 a bottle ex-négociant – the same price as the 2012.
With tastings just beginning though not expected to get into their stride until next week, the release of Pontet-Canet’s price is surprisingly precocious.
Last year’s en primeurs started on 15 April with the release of Château Gazin and Ponet-Canet didn’t emerge until 2 May with the likes of Haut-Brion.
Liv-ex noted on its blog that the early start could be a “positive” signal for a short and sharp campaign but also asked, “is the price right?”
The Pauillac fifth growth saw yields fall 50% during last year’s “tough” vintage.
The 2012 is currently on the market for £600 a case, while 2013 would have to be offered for around £650, the same market price as the 2006 which also has 95 points from Robert Parker – who won’t be tasting this year until early summer due to a tour of the Far East.
Other more attractive buys might include the 2004 for around £500 a case with 90-points or the 2008 at just over £600 a case but with 96-points to its credit.
Having released at the same price as 2012, with other back vintages potentially offering better value and with no one having really tasted the vintage yet, Liv-ex ponders if merchants will “have the confidence to take it on” and offer it to their clients.
“It’s a tough ask,” it concludes.
Simon Staples from Berry Bros & Rudd tweeted this morning that BBR “would not” offer Ponet-Canet until its buyers had tasted it.
Following last year’s campaign (which was broadly seen as disastrous), pricing is key to this year’s futures – especially as the wine quality is expected to be so varied.
There has already speculation that some big name château may sit out this year’s campaign and two Right Bank heavyweights, Vîeux Château Certan and Le Pin, are already confirmed absentees.
Follow the whole of the en primeur campaign from releases to merchant reactions here on the drinks business.