Close Menu

Corney & Barrow makes the case for EP

Fine wine merchant Corney & Barrow has made the case for buying en primeur in a letter to its clients, focusing on the “superb” value in wines below £500 a case.

“Somehow it is a little less fun than it used to be,” the company’s head of fine wine, Will Hargrove, wrote, referring to the “analytical” and “opinionated” approach to the annual event that has become increasingly prevalent.

Although Hargrove and other merchants in the drinks business’ coverage of this and previous campaigns have routinely expressed frustration at pricing from many key châteaux, he and others have always retained a certain faith in the system, acknowledged the benefits of buying en primeur and championed producers that “get it right”.

As Georgina Crawley of Goedhuis told db in our round-up of the campaign, if former bread-winners were no longer working the time had come to focus on those that do: “This is where the market needs to go back to its roots,” she said. “And for merchants to promote wines they believe in. We have to be seen to be making a stand for certain wines.”

It is a view clearly held by Hargrove too who wrote in the offer: “We are wine merchants, not financial gurus or data analysts. What really matters to us when it comes to the wines of Bordeaux (or any other region for that matter) is what wines to recommend to you as great to drink.”

“‘Bordeaux bashing’ has become a bit of a hobby for some but actually many of the wines in this offer, which focusses on the £120–£450 per-case range, are superb and we feel are well worth adding to your cellar now. If you don’t do it now you won’t get around to it, you may very well regret it.”

He recalled tasting some of the 2004s recently that “gave great pleasure” and as the 2014s are generally better than the 2004s, “not tucking a few cases away strikes me as a chance missed opportunity.”

He ran through the key points of the 2014s, the fact they are “delicious”, with “wide drinking windows” and that, “in this part of the market where supply and demand does exist, we believe the wines we have selected are now at the lowest prices they will be.”

Recommended wines included: Grand Puy Ducasse, Canon, Figeac, Phelan-Ségur, Gazin, Tertre Roteboeuf, Roc de Cambes, Pique Caillou, Capbern, Reserve de la Comtesse, Gloria, Beychevelle, Kirwan, Le Carte de Haut-Brion, Coutet and Climens.

Finally, on the subject of price, he noted: “Had there not been a sharp price rise in 2009 and even more so 2010 and some readjustment afterwards I think the 2014 wines would be priced higher.

“I think they might just look like great ‘buys’ when you drink them! Nobody has to buy wine or buy these wines in particular but we think you should…”

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No