The 2014 Bordeaux en-primeur campaign started properly yesterday when the Sauternes Doisy-Daëne released its price. This was a fair start with this excellent estate releasing at the same price it has every year for the last 4 years. Today has seen the release of some other big-name Sauternes and the red wines Priere Lichine and Gazin.
The en-primeur trading system has nearly been broken by the combination of expensive release prices in 2009 and 2010, followed by some unrealistic price expectations from many of the chateaux in each of the three following years. This has hurt many estates, some of whom have sold very little wine in the last three years; it has hurt the negociants who distribute these wines whose trade has been substantially down through this period, it has hurt wine investors who have seen the values of some of the superb 2009s and 2010s they bought fall rather than rise; it has hurt merchants who have seen trade slump and it has undoubtedly hurt the whole reputation of the trade. So there are plenty of people who want to see a good en-primeur campaign for the 2014s
Thankfully the strength of the pound against the euro means pricing should shift in favour of UK buyers. If proprietors hold or make slight cuts to the prices they released at last year there should be plenty of interesting wines to buy. If chateaux try and increase prices Coe Vintners won’t be recommending you buy.
The 2014 vintage is certainly a good one, at least as good as 2008 or 2012, but without reaching the heights of the great 2009 or 2010 vintages. There is a danger that with so many vested interests involved 2014 could be talked up as a vintage. My personal belief is it is a good to very good vintage, probably better than 2012, especially on the Medoc that at the right price will provide some superb drinking, but this is not a “must have vintage” for collectors, rather it is a “take it or leave it vintage” – one to buy if you like the prices or leave if you don’t.
Early pricing looks vaguely promising, let’s hope producers have realised this is a vintage where the market will set the price. If they do this we should be in for an interesting time in the next couple of weeks as you will be able to buy some exciting wines at appealing prices. Without this attitude however the Bordelais might as well abandon the whole apparatus for selling en-primeur as it will have ceased providing any benefits to purchasers.
To sign up for our en-primeur offer emails contact David Allen MW our Fine Wine Manager firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 020 8418 2823