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Delhi Wine Club
En Primeur 2012 Cheaper to attract Asian Buyers

Posted: Wednesday, 24 April 2013 13:37

En Primeur 2012 Cheaper to attract Asian Buyers

April 24: Continuing with the current trend of lower prices with a view to sell more wines in Asia, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, the darling wine of China, has announced a lower négociant price of En Primeur 2012 at €330 following another First Growth Mouton Rothschild which was released last week at €280, both still over double the release price of 2008 and the buyers still not running after them, writes Subhash Arora

The current spate of decreasing prices reminds one of India where the petrol prices were increased by around Rs. 7 (€.10) a liter several months ago, causing huge protests. The price has since then been brought down by an odd rupee here and there, making people smile again because it is cheaper!

The prices of Lafite are still over 150% higher than in 2008. But what is noteworthy is that the famous Bordeaux houses release in tranches - increasing the prices as they go along, but Lafite has taken a non-traditional step of releasing all its wine at this price, according to Decanter. The general feeling from the negociants in Bordeaux is that the price is high; €300 would have had more impact on the market. Last year it had released in two lots - first at €350 and a second at €450. The 2007 vintage is still at €460- €480 a bottle. However, the lot sizes offered are lower this year by about 20% due to lower yields for this vintage.

Berry Brothers and Rudd (BBR), the famous wine merchants of London, released it yesterday at £1950 (€2286) per 6 bottles (€381 a bottle) in bond from Singapore. Releasing on allocation, the email to delWine cautions, ‘a limited quantity has been released at this price and this is the cheapest Lafite on the market, the 2011 is approximately £2400 per 6 and all other vintages are £2700 or above. Lafite’s recent past in the market has been somewhat volatile and whilst, along with Latour it remains amongst the most expensive of the First growths, it is not possible to guarantee how the market will react in the future.’ If you want to book with them, please contact, Reportedly, their Mouton was sold the morning the sale was announced.

Chateau Latour had decided last year not to be a part of En Primeur anymore and wait to sell the wine when it is ready to sell in the bottle.

Mouton had dropped its price from €360 per bottle ex-négociant to €240 a bottle. There has been lesser drop in their second wines. Petit Mouton was reduced only by 8% from €72 to €66 a bottle. The second wine, Echo de Lynch Bages, was released at 5% lower price of €21.60.

However, the Second Growth Rauzan-Ségla came out last week with a 37% price cut down to €36.5 a bottle, taking it back down to its 2008 price. Most wine merchants have commended the bold pricing and are very happy with it.

According to a wine merchant, it’s a sensible decision to reduce the prices, making it feasible for them to sell the wine at 10% less than the currently available vintages of 2007, 2004 and 2002 in the bottle.

Pauillac fifth growth Lynch Bages dropped 13% on its €69 in 2011 to come out at €60 ex-négociant. However, it was almost twice as much as the price of 2008 at €32. Among the other chateaux to have already released their 2012 vintages is Pauillac property Duhart Milon, whose 2012 was released at €53 per bottle with a 7% fall from last year’s €57, according to the Drinks Business. The Right Bank-located Chateau Gazin was priced at €39 a bottle ex-négociant, over 7% cheaper than last year’s €42.

While there have been some positive reactions at the en primeur tastings there are some people complaining that they were perhaps still a little high, with many drinkable vintages such as 2008, 2006 and 2004 being only slightly more expensive.

Meanwhile, Chateau Raymond Lafon has joined Chateau d'Yquem and Chateau Rieussec of Sauternes and announced that it will not produce the 2012 vintage due to the poor climate for botrytis wines.

The fine-wine market has yet to recover to the 2011 highs driven in large part to a surge in demand from China and Hong Kong collectors and drinkers. Since the import duty was waived in Hong Kong in 2008, it became the world's largest fine-wine hub within two years, overtaking London and New York at auction sales in 2010 and 2011. Winemakers also don't want to repeat the mistake of last year's release. After a successful 2009 and 2010—both of which were heralded as exceptional vintages by wine critics—2011 wines carried only slight discounts, according to Wall Street Journal.

The London-based Liv-ex 100, an index that tracks the world's most-collected wines, hit its peak in June 2011 before sinking 29% by October 2012. The index has slightly recovered since then, up 8% from that low to 280 on 31 March 2013, similar to May 2008 (it was started in 2004 at 100).

Subhash Arora

Tags: Chateau Lafite Rothschild, En Primeur 2012, Mouton Rothschild, Decanter, Berry Brothers and Rudd


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