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Is Bordeaux Pricing Itself Out of the Market?

For those of you who have been following the Bordeaux 2010 releases you will know that this campaign has been so slow that it has been like watching paint dry.

You will also know that the prices are between 10 – 20% up on last year, which is taking the wind out of a lot of fans sails. Beychevelle came out and upset the apple cart with a 23% price hike and now Pontet Canet has released at nearly 40% up on last year. So is Bordeaux pricing itself out of the market? It depends which market – that of the Western world or that of the East. As far as the Western world is concerned, yes, it is.

It also depends on which Bordeaux we are talking about – hopefully the mid priced wines will now have much more of a look in as those who can no longer afford the huge prices that the top chateaux are demanding will turn to lesser known wines that have a lot to offer. Once the dust has settled I will post in depth on the repercussions of this en primeur campaign – in the meantime here is an update:

Robert Parker has stepped into the mêlée and I quote from the article by the French Sud Ouest newspaper below (translated). The French AFP article which covers the interview with Parker also has reactions from wine merchants.

“The most influential wine critic is alarmed at the “very dangerous game” for Bordeaux that would be a further rise in prices of Bordeaux wines after the en primeur campaign.

The American Robert Parker . . . said “it would be a mistake” to increase prices again.
If the last vintage, that of 2010, comes to “higher prices than 2009, you can expect a financial crisis or the emergence of a bubble for the great wines of Bordeaux,” he warned in recommending a reduction from 10 to 20%.

” Bordeaux is too focused on the rich markets of Asia,” he lamented, saying it would be “a very dangerous game to increase prices because the global economy is very, very fragile.”

“A decline [in price] relative to 2009 would be a smart move,” a “very positive sign for markets and for consumers,” he recommends.”

For good coverage and opinion on the situation check out Oliver Styles at Wine-Life.co.uk – his article Bordeaux 2010: A Tale of Two Worlds is a frank piece of writing that is also thought provoking!

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2 Responses to Is Bordeaux Pricing Itself Out of the Market?

  1. goose says:

    But the lesser names are also getting pricey.

    Any tips for value at the low end of the market?

    I don't see how they can charge more than last year. it's not as if 2009 was not very expensive, and probably better

  2. Nick says:


    I agree! My tips for the low end of the market are below (all on http://www.interestinwine.co.uk – which also has a section on good clarets for under £200 a case):

    Chateau Cissac

    Neal Martins (Robert Parkers right hand man) comments were:-

    "The Cissac 2010 has an attractive well-defined bouquet with bright dark berried fruits, cassis and a slight honeyed accent. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, very clean fruits, nothing over-ambitious but very harmonious and silky smooth towards the finish. This is the best Cissac I have tasted en primeur".

    La Fleur Morange Mathilde 2010

    Parkers comments were:-

    91-93 The 2010 La Fleur Morange Mathilde is a 100% Merlot cuvee from a tiny 3+ acre parcel. The average age of the vines is over 50 years, which is somewhat surprising. An inexpensive but delicious wine, it is opaque purple, with explosive blueberry and mulberry fruit as well as hints of white chocolate and espresso. Luscious, round and generous in the mouth, this is a hedonist’s St.-Emilion to drink over the next 7-8 years.

    If you would like to treat yourself then consider La Fleur Morange 2010. A superb wine – in my opinion its one of the best the estate has produced and should have received at least 96+ points from Parker when you compare marks he has given to other wines/estates.

    Parkers comments were:-

    92-94 This is the flagship wine, with some of the vines over 100 years of age. A blend of equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc and cropped at a microscopic 17 hectoliters per hectare, this is a sensational wine. The alcohol hit 15.5%, which must be one of the highest levels ever in Bordeaux, according to the brilliant consulting oenologist Claude Gros. Dense purple, with a sweet nose of acacia flowers, crushed rocks, blueberry liqueur and creme de cassis, it is dense, full-bodied, and loaded with glycerin and intensity. The acidity is present, the tannins ripe, and the wine big, fleshy, even massive. Drink it over the next 10-15+ years.

    Cheers Nick