To buy or not to buy?
As the 2012 Bordeaux en-primeur campaign hoves into sight on the horizon once more here are a few thoughts on how the campaign might develop. 2009 and 2010 were both “must buy” vintages for claret aficionados, a fact reflected from the outset in high demand and eye-watering release prices. 2011 was a vintage comprising some very worthy wines, released into an austere market that required drastic price cuts to ignite interest from prospective buyers – alas the wines were of a quality that disinclined many estates to make the necessary cuts and saw some fight vigourously to stem a tide of price cuts, the resulting en-primeur campaign sank without trace.
The market for Bordeaux is currently almost becalmed and only a vintage offering price cuts of 25% or more seems likely to tempt people back into the water. Hopefully 2012 will be such a vintage. The handful of wines I have tasted have been pleasant, attractive wines, hardly at the level of the 2011s let alone 2009 or 2010. They were loosely knit, mid weight, showed average ripeness but with lower alcohol levels than the preceding 3 vintages, therefore attractive for earlier drinking rather than long ageing. Consensus emerging from amongst those currently tasting in Bordeaux is that there are some wonderful wines, from the top estates on the right bank (particularly Pomerol), that the quality on the right bank is very variable, but that the usual suspects Leoville las Cases, Pontet Canet, Domaine de Chevalier etc… have succeeded in making appealing wines.
We can only hope that with 2012 the Bordelais will appreciate the need to cut prices drastically, otherwise why will people invest? There are plenty of excellent 2009s and 2010s in the market, so before they build up the quality of the 2012s to a level where they cannot bring themselves to cut prices, producers must ask themselves why anybody would buy them ahead of these wines unless a significant price results from doing so?
We are very happy to take instructions to source specific 2012 wines for customers, however this year we will not take any positions on ‘must have’ wines, or send offers when each chateau releases prices.
If you would like to discuss specific wines or if you require any further information on the en primeur process.
David Allen MW
Fine Wine Manager, Coe Vintners
Direct line: 020 8418 2823
53 Redbridge Lane East, Ilford, Essex, IG4 5EY