The following article is an edited extract of the June Cellar Watch Market Report, which was released last week.
Early optimism around Bordeaux 2014 proved pretty fickle. A straw poll of Liv-ex members suggests that while sales were up on very depressed levels of last year, they were still some 25% below 2012 levels and nearly 90% lower than the record in 2009.
Most blame this on erratic pricing. Yet as the chart below shows, ex-Chateaux prices in 2014 are on average 60% lower in Euro terms (lower still in dollars and sterling) than they were in 2010. On average, releases have come back into line with price inflation in the secondary market. The problem is that 2014 cannot be viewed in isolation: Liv-ex data shows that En Primeur buyers have lost money for the last five years in a row. Consequently, they are wary about buying again.
Price is a crucial component. Buyers of En Primeur want to be incentivised for the risks and costs of buying an unfinished wine years before it is ready to drink. The Cellar Watch May Market Report suggested that 2014s would need to be attractive against the current market price of the 2006 and 2008 vintages, which achieved similar ratings, if the campaign was to be a success. As shown in the tables below, some chateaux look appealing in this light.
Ever since Robert Parker burst onto the scene in 1978, the quality of Bordeaux wines has been forensically scrutinised with sizable rewards for the winners. It seems inevitable that today’s market transparency will bring similar scrutiny to bear on pricing. This can only be a good thing for lovers of Bordeaux - both growers and consumers alike.
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