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Welcome to the BKWine Brief nr 81, April 2010

>> Sunday, May 02, 2010

If everything goes as planned we will be sitting on the plane to Sicily (or already have arrived) when you read this. The latest reports are saying that the flights will leave as normal tomorrow. We are participating in the jury panel in the Concours Mondial that this year takes place in Palermo. The Concours Mondial is one of the world’s biggest wine competition with some 5000 wines competing for medals. (By the way, the two of us are the only jurors coming from Sweden.) Since we’re going to Sicily, we will also take the occasion to spend a few days exploring the wine regions and wine producers of the island (send us an email or an sms if you have any good suggestions for winery visits!). We seldom have the occasion to taste Sicilian wines so it will be interesting. We’ve certainly tasted a few interesting examples. So in time you will read more about it here. but perhaps we should feel a bit apprehensive. Sicily too, is well known for its volcanic activity…

This time of the year there is always a lot of buzz around Bordeaux. It’s “primeur season”, not only for the asparagus. At the beginning of April all the Big chateaux in Bordeaux present last year’s wines to buyers and to journalists – the so called “primeurs circus” – when thousands of people descend on Bordeaux to taste the new (only half-finished) wines. (There has also been some other buzz around Bordeaux recently: when last year’s sales figures were published they showed a dramatic drop in sales for most markets, only partially dampened by a huge increase in Chinese wine drinkers. Read more about that below.)

So this is the season when the merits of the Bordeaux 2009s are discussed. Actually, it’s a discussion with only a limited interest. 2009 was a very good year, or a fantastic year, so the wines will be very good, unless you have tried very hard to make bad wine. We can only confirm that (as can the small group of wine enthusiasts that we showed around Bordeaux last week) after having tasted a few of the wines from last year.

What will be more interesting is what will happen next. The next major step is when the chateaux “show their hands” and announce the release prices, i.e. how much money they want for the wines. With a back-drop of financial crisis and market demand that have fallen with 15-40% (depending on the market) it will be interesting to see where the prices land. Sharp drops in prices, due to falling demand? Or stiff price increases thanks to the very good quality? Or something else? One producer we talked to said “we have to be very reasonable and moderate; I think there will be a price increase of around 10-15%”. In most industries they would probably consider themselves very fortunate if they could say that an annual price increase of 10-15% was moderate and reasonable… It will be interesting to follow.

Britt & Per

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