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Corney & Barrow predicts ‘quick’ 2014 campaign

Within a month we will know the first prices and whether the Bordeaux châteaux have been listening to dire warnings of complete disinterest from the trade if they get it wrong.

Will Hargrove: Corney & Barrow's  Head of Fine Wine
Will Hargrove: Corney & Barrow’s
Head of Fine Wine

Half-way through the first week of en primeurs, Corney & Barrow have admitted their fears for the vintage are “mostly price related.” Guy Seddon, who looks after private sales, was encouraged by Château Latour’s recent release price for its 2003 vintage, and said: let us hope this sets the pace for others. A coincidental exchange rate discount will not be enough – we need to see a clear financial incentive to buy.”

Speaking from Bordeaux, Corney & Barrow’s head of fine wine, Will Hargrove, told db it was a message they were repeating to every château-owner. “They have got to engage with the trade and customers again. If the pricing’s not right, it will have been a slightly wasted week.” He felt most were listening, but said: “many see themselves as the exception.” As for the quality: “There’s certainly a lot of good wine, and some very good. It’s fresh, there’s more fruit and it’s not skinny like the 2013s. I agree with the view – it’s the best of vintages that aren’t great.”

While unsold stocks of the previous vintage may sharpen minds in Bordeaux, it might have an undesired effect as far as the merchants are concerned. Didier Cuvelier,

Will Latour's sensible pricing 'set the pace' for the 2014s?
Will Latour’s sensible pricing ‘set the pace’ for the 2014s?

owner of Château Léoville Poyferré, is reported to be looking for an increase in price, saying: “if we set prices at 2013 levels no one would see any reason to buy 2013”. Hargrove believed château-owners need to look further down the distribution chain. “Many feel the wine’s been sold once it is out of the château.”

He felt the absence of Robert Parker this year won’t make a huge difference whose lats big influence was in 2010. “But, maybe it will make it less dramatic,” he said, adding: “one thing almost everyone agrees is that it needs to be a quick campaign. There isn’t the appetite or attention span for a long one.” He predicted the first prices will come out in the last week of April, and the last within 4-6 weeks.

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