Bordeaux heading for ‘collective suicide’

14th May, 2014 by Rupert Millar

One of Bordeaux’s most respected Sauternes producers, Alexandre de Lur-Saluces, has warned that Bordeaux is heading for “collective suicide” if it continues with its current pricing strategy.

FarguesIn a letter to négociants, Saluces, owner of Château de Fargues (pictured), said that Sauternes producers in particular were suffering from the criticism heaped upon the reds even if, as is the case, the white producers have made critically acclaimed wines.

He said: “I fear nevertheless that the Place de Bordeaux refuse, once again, to take this exceptional quality into account.

“Sauternes producers are being forced to drive their prices further down on the grounds that the quality of the reds is being debated.

“A quick overview of the prices reveals that classified growths from Sauternes are more or less back to the prices achieved almost 15 years ago.

“We are heading towards a collective suicide for the whole industry: for the producer condemned to bastardize its production, for the Sauternes appellation and for the négoce itself who will lose much of its credibility by giving up on a whole stretch of the 1855 classification and an exceptional appellation.”

He concluded he intended to “denounce this ‘market law’ that causes Sauternes growths to sell at a loss,” and would offer his wines at what he considered a “fair price” taking into account the limited quantities (1,000 cases) and expense of producing Sauternes.

It is true that in the talk surrounding the 2013 en primeurs the cuts made by Sauternes producers when, arguably none were needed as the quality was so good, passed largely unnoticed.

The most highly rated wine of the vintage in the Liv-ex buyers’ survey was, for the first time, a Sauternes – Yquem – which for the third year in a row has shunned the traditional time for selling en primeur (including 2012 when no wine was made) and will likely offer its 2013 vintage this autumn as it did with the 2011.

Some merchants have told the drinks business that they will be pushing the whites rather more this year as there are so few good value reds.

However, the question needs to be asked, is enough being done to promote this hugely underrated wine? Would the cause of Sauternes be better served if it were no longer offered alongside the reds and instead chose an earlier or later time at which to approach buyers?

4 Responses to “Bordeaux heading for ‘collective suicide’”

  1. Chris Metcalfe says:

    With the 2103 Ch de Fargues coming out at €120 I am not sure he is in a position to criticise others.

  2. He’s right that Bordeaux has screwed up this en primeur campaign by not releasing at the right prices. but he’s one of the worst offenders, releasing his 2013 en primeur at double the price of great mature vintages. A shame because de Fargues is one of the best wines of the vintage.

  3. The sad truth is no one really cares about Sauternes anymore.. there is so much good sweet wine from all over the world now that most people aren’t that interested. The auction market for Sauternes in flat especially in China they are just going to have to wait for the world’s palate to come back around to a sweet tooth for wine

  4. craig says:

    Perhaps different timing is the answer. Something needs to change!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Administrative Assistant

Swig Wines Ltd
Chiswick, London, UK

HR Manager

Amathus Drinks PLC
London, UK

Beer Development Specialist

Matthew Clark
London, UK

Senior Sales Manager

Haynes Hanson & Clark
Gloucestershire, GB

Customer Services Administrator

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Group
London, UK

Inventory Analyst

Bibendum PLB
London, UK

Events Executive - Atom Supplies

ATOM Supplies Limited
London, UK

Off-Trade Sales Account Executive

Domaine Direct
Nationwide, working from a combination of home & London office.

Sales Executive/Brand Ambassador

Ballindalloch, Speyside, UK

Client Manager

Noble Rot
Wandsworth, London, GB

Spirits Investment Director

London, UK

Junior Brand Manager

Enotria Winecellars
Park Royal, London, UK

Content & Digital Assistant

London, UK

Sales Manager

Cellar Trends
London, UK

Champagne Masters 2017

Deadline : 7th July 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Syrah Masters 2017

Deadline : 18th July 2017

Click to view more

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Fortified Masters 2016

Now in its third year, The Fortified Masters will reward the best fortified wines on offer.

Click to view more