Every year, merchants and buyers alike get excited about the prospect of En Primeur, even in lesser vintages – for merchants, an opportunity to go and try the new wines that the Chateaux have spent the past year working hard on producing, chatting to the owners about the vintage; its difficulties and challenges, and then trying to gain an understanding of it all.
After a short but very informative and useful trip, here are some of our observations regarding the new vintage and upcoming En Primeur campaign.
The Bordeaux 2011 En Primeur campaign will start shortly. Next week, the trade will go and taste the wines but this week, several wine critics have already done so. Robert Parker, who said on Twitter that he had no interest in the 2011 vintage before going out to Bordeaux, has also tasted the new vintage.
Denis Dubourdieu is a professor at the University of Bordeaux and a top oenologist. He is also a consultant, scientist, owner and wine maker of Doisy Daene and Clos Floridene. He is very well positioned to comment on the quality of the 2011 Bordeaux vintage, or at least on the prevailing climatic conditions that largely dictate what the individual winemakers at the various Chateaux can work with.
They were expected to be high, but the 2009 scores released on March 1 by Robert Parker have exceeded the highest expectations.
"Not a myth but mythical" is Parker's subtitle for his Bordeaux 2009 review. Indeed. He goes on to say "In short, 2009 is the greatest vintage I have tasted in Bordeaux since 1982". He backs this up by awarding no less than 18 Bordeaux reds, and 1 white, the perfect score of 100 points.
After 6 months of continuous falls in price, the market now seems to have turned a corner. The Liv-ex 50 has stopped its decline and is indeed edging back up.
On a longer and more important timescale, this is reflected in the Liv-ex 100 as well:
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There has been an avalanche of reports in the media lately, social media included, about falling demand for Bordeaux wine. Often suggesting that China has fallen out of love with Bordeaux, that it would now be all about Burgundy and that Bordeaux wine prices have but one way to go: South.
It seems to be fashionable these days to engage in a bit of “Bordeaux Bashing”. “Bordeaux would be out of fashion. Grossly overpriced. The bubble has burst. Nobody wants overpriced Bordeaux. Burgundy, even Rhone and Italy is what people want. Sell sell sell”.
December was a tough month for the fine wine trade. Signs were starting to point in the right direction and most economists and financial analysts became more optimistic on the Euro surviving.