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Bordeaux 2014: A Certan success

“Wine of the vintage”, Vieux Château Certan, should sell out quickly, but the remaining big estates are now locked in a “Bordeaux standoff” straight out of Hollywood.

Who’ll release next?

VCC’s new bottle price of €102 ex-négociant, is a 13.3% rise on the prices seen in 2013 and 2012 (€90), but is justified by the praise heaped upon it by merchants and critics alike after the spring tastings.

Neal Martin awarded it 95-97 points and declared from the off that it was very possibly the “wine of the vintage” and Liv-ex’s members also declared it their pick of the crop as well.

This is despite VCC being Merlot dominant in what has largely been declared a Cabernet Sauvignon friendly vintage.

At only a little under £1,000 per case, it is not the cheapest back vintage – 2013, 2012, 2011, 2008, 2007 and 2004 all being less – but it has by far the best score, the same potential as the 2006 and maybe even better than the 2005 which trades for £1,500.

Neither Max Lalondrelle of Berry Bros and Tom Hudson of Farr Vintners doubted they wouldn’t be able to sell through their allocations, indeed Hudson commented the challenge would be not to sell it.

“With small availability and a high demand; it will sell out easily,” he told the drinks business.

But what appears to be a success for VCC still isn’t a big mark of success for the campaign as a whole.

The Pomerol estate produces very little – BBR’s allocation is only 200 cases this year – and with demand greater than supply every year, VCC like some other Right Bank estates is not a fair barometer of en primeur sentiment.

More interesting will be the eventual arrival of some of the last big Right and Left Bank estates still to release such as Montrose, Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Ducru Beaucaillou.

However, in these last days of the campaign they now find themselves locked in a standoff worthy of a Sergio Leone film; each waiting for the other to release their price before making a move.

As Lalondrelle explained: “Lafite won’t release its last tranche until Cheval Blanc releases, Cheval Blanc is waiting for Ausone but Ausone is not in a hurry. Ducru Beaucaillou is waiting from Montrose and Montrose is waiting for Ducru Beaucaillou.”

Who’ll reach for their steel first?

Also out today (prices p/b and ex-négoce):

Le Gay – €60

La Violette – Price currently unknown

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